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League Meetings: Marrone on Foles, DeFilippo

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

PHOENIX, Ariz. – This feels right to Doug Marrone.

Marrone, the Jaguars' head coach, made his media rounds Monday at the 2019 NFL Annual Meeting at the Arizona Biltmore. One topic carried the day:

How the relationship between newly-signed quarterback Nick Foles and new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo will help the Jaguars' offense. Bottom line:

Marrone likes the potential of the dynamic and thinks their history together will help.

"I believe that in our situation we'll be able to go forward at a much quicker pace," Marrone told late in the day. "I look at that as a little check in the plus categories."

Foles, who spent the past two seasons as a backup with the Philadelphia Eagles, signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent earlier this month and will take over the starting role held by Blake Bortles much of the past four seasons. DeFilippo, the quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia in 2016-17, was hired as the Jaguars' offensive coordinator in January.

Marrone said the offense won't be precisely what Foles ran in Philadelphia, but he said Foles unquestionably will be very familiar with it. And he said that's a good thing.

"Philosophically, the most success I've had offensively is when the quarterback walks into the building and everybody in the building is trying to catch up with him and his knowledge," Marrone said. "That seems to have given me the best results as a coach and I believe in that."

Marrone said the Jaguars' offense in a very real sense will be Foles' offense immediately – a relatively unusual situation for a free-agent quarterback joining a new team.

"We have changed some things," he said. "There are going to be some challenges for Nick and some changes. I can't speak for what would be subtle and what would be major for him. I'm a coach, so they don't look like major changes, but when our players report April 15 [for the offseason program] if we handed the playbook out to each player, the player who is going to know the most in that playbook is going to be Nick Foles.

"He's going to know more because there are things in there that he's done, and it has been called that way and he's very comfortable; everyone else is going to have to be learning and catching up to where he is. That's a unique situation. It's one that I think helps you."

Marrone said the situation could help eliminate what is sometimes a trial-and-error period for a quarterback adjusting to a new offense – and a coaching staff adjusting to a quarterback.

He also said DeFilippo having worked with Foles has helped as the coaches have continued to install the offense in recent weeks, a process that will continue in the coming weeks. Players can't communicate with coaches until the mid-April beginning of the offseason program, and Marrone said DeFilippo's familiarity with Foles allows the coaching staff to gear the offense toward his preferences earlier than might otherwise be the case.

Marrone compared the situation to when he worked on the staff of the New Orleans Saints in 2006 when the team signed quarterback Drew Brees as a free agent.

"I'm not relating this player to that player; I'm relating the situation," Marrone said. "Then-Saints quarterbacks coach Pete Carmichael [Jr.] was [Brees'] quarterbacks coach in San Diego, and all of a sudden we're talking to Pete about, 'What does Drew like, what doesn't he like?' You have to remember with the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement), you can sign players, but you're not allowed to talk to them or see them until April 15 – and that's voluntary.

"You can watch tape, but you want to know someone on the inside who has worked with him on a daily basis and who can say, 'He really likes this and he really likes this in this situation.' You can roll the instillation out to where you feel comfortable this quarterback is going to be building to it."

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