JACKSONVILLE – John DeFilippo addressed the media Thursday.
That made news on Day 2 of Jaguars 2019 organized team activities, because it marked the first time the Jaguars’ new offensive coordinator has spoken publicly since joining the team in January.
His transition so far?
“It’s been awesome,” DeFilippo said shortly before the Jaguars’ second practice of ‘19 OTAs at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex outside TIAA Bank Field.
DeFilippo, the quarterbacks coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016-2017, covered multiple subjects in a pre-practice availability with reporters – including running back Leonard Fournette and quarterback Nick Foles. He also addressed being fired from his position as the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive coordinator in December after less than a season in the role.
“Here’s how I want to approach that: I’m not going to make a lot of comments about that – about some of the things that happened up there, and the way things were handled,” DeFilippo said. “I’m kind of a where-my-feet-are-at-the-present-time [guy].
“That’s how I’ve handled life and that’s how I’ve handled my journey through the NFL – both in my ups and downs. And there have been a lot of both. That’s the nature of the NFL in today’s world.
“I’m not going to sit here and go through some of the things that were handled the way they were up there. That’s not the way I operate.”
DeFilippo was asked about the theory that Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer dismissed him because of a lack of commitment to the running game, and he was asked now that approach would mesh with the sometimes run-oriented philosophy of Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone.
“Every play I’ve called in my tenure as an offensive coordinator has been what I think gives our team the best chance for success,” DeFilippo said. “It has nothing to do with stats. It has nothing to do with quarterback rating, what our quarterbacks are doing, what our running backs are doing, what our receivers are doing.
“Every play that I’ve called in my past [has been with that in mind], and every play I call in my future will be what I think gives the Jacksonville Jaguars the best chance to win a football game.”
DeFilippo emphasized that the Jaguars’ 2019 offense will not necessarily mimic offenses with which he previously has worked.
“This is not like the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense,” DeFilippo said. “This is not the Minnesota Vikings’ offense. This is the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offense. We’re going to do what our players do best. If I was to say that I know right now [what that will be] when we kick off against the Kansas City Chiefs, I’d be lying to you. We’re in the process of finding that out every day.”
DeFilippo while with the Eagles worked closely in 2017 with Foles, the season Foles was named the Super Bowl LII Most Valuable Player. The Jaguars signed Foles as an unrestricted free agent in March, a little more than two months after DeFilippo’s hiring.
“I was part of the process,” DeFilippo said of Foles’ signing. “The process was from ownership down to me, to [quarterbacks coach] Scott Milanovich on seeing who the best fit was for our football team. Obviously, I had a little bit of insider information having coached Nick and gone through a lot of things with Nick. But I was part of the process. It wasn’t one of those deals where I was standing on the table, or yelling, or anything like that. I was definitely involved in the process.”
Still, DeFilippo absolutely said the bond between coach and quarterback is strong – and likely will be lasting.
“It’s hard to say it’s not,” DeFilippo said. “We see the game very similarly. We see life very similar. We both love our families. We both love golf. We have a lot of the same things in common. It was such a special, unique deal the way the whole thing went down in Philadelphia that I think it’s hard not to.
“Whether we won a Super Bowl or not, I think our friendship will be strong no matter what.”
DeFilippo also addressed Fournette, who missed eight games last season with injuries and a one-game suspension. He rushed for 439 yards and five touchdowns after rushing for 1,040 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie.
“We’re really looking forward to Leonard having a big year,” DeFilippo said. “I’m going to call it what it is: He’s going to be a major reason where our offense goes. I’m not going to sugarcoat that. Leonard Fournette needs to be a big part of this offense.
“The harder he works – which he is right now – that’s going to be not only good for our offense, but good for our team.”