JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone listed a lot of positives.
That was to be expected considering the Jaguars’ head coach was discussing why the team this week pursued and acquired Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.
Marrone said that Foles was “the best available player out there for us” during 2019 unrestricted free agency. In a discussion with jaguars.com, Marrone also noted Foles’ accomplishments in recent seasons, his experience and his continued improvement throughout seven NFL seasons.
“We really think his best days are ahead of him,” Marrone said. “He’s really played well of late and we’re excited to have him part of our team.”
Foles, who agreed to terms with the Jaguars this week and who is expected to officially sign Thursday morning, served as the backup to Carson Wentz in Philadelphia the past two seasons. He started 13 games in place of Wentz, earning a reputation as a clutch and poised quarterback.
“That’s the one thing that kept coming up when we did our research on Nick,” Marrone said. “A lot of the people I know who had been around him talked about how cool he was under pressure and how nothing seems to rattle him.”
Foles in Jacksonville again will work with John DeFilippo, the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach in 2017 who Marrone hired as offensive coordinator in January.
“The concepts and the base of the offense are going to be very comfortable for Nick,” Marrone said. “That’s going to help. We’re going to have an offense here that’s going to be trying to learn a new system, but our quarterback already has been in this system and he’s going to be able to help everyone around him.”
Foles went 10-3 as a starter with the Eagles in 2017-2018, including 4-1 in the postseason. He was the Most Valuable Player in the Eagles’ 41-33 victory over New England in Super Bowl LII following the 2017 regular season.
“When you make moves like that at the quarterback position, it gives the team a chance,” Marrone said. “You have someone that has the experience, someone that has leadership, someone that really has proven to some extent that he has done it on the big stage and can handle all that.
“With all our research … that’s one thing that he always had done well – to be able to handle pressure and a full plate. That’s one I think Nick will be challenged with and a challenge that he’ll easily accept.”
Marrone said he is confident that Foles’ ability to lead an entire team can translate to his new teammates.
“It wasn’t just on offense,” Marrone said. “He did a great job with the defensive players and special teams players and truly showed leadership from a team perspective,” Marrone said. “That’s something that will help us. Obviously, we need everyone to lead but to bring someone in here who had a lot of experience and who had a lot of people who were pulling for him, who wanted to play for him …. I think those things will help. Now, it’s just a matter of him acclimating himself to our football team and our players getting a feel for him and getting comfortable.”