JACKSONVILLE – Nick Foles isn’t worried.
Foles, the Jaguars’ starting quarterback, didn’t play in the preseason opener last Thursday. That was part of Head Coach Doug Marrone’s training-camp/preseason plan to keep starters and front-line players as healthy as possible entering the regular season.
The plan is a departure from past NFL norms, but Foles said he’s fine with the approach.
“There’s a method behind the madness, so we trust that,” Foles said Monday following Day 14 practice of Jaguars 2019 Training Camp at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex adjacent to TIAA Bank Field.
Foles’ thoughts on the Jaguars’ preseason approach was one Day 14 highlight. Others included Marrone’s thoughts on rookie tight end Josh Oliver and Foles’ thoughts on acclimating to offensive coordinator John DeFilippo’s scheme. We’ll cover those later in these takeaways.
The Jaguars held out 30 players during a 29-0 loss at Baltimore in Preseason Week 1. Though many were starters and front-line players – including many skill position players and offensive lineman – Foles on Monday said the Jaguars’ offense is getting ample work in training camp practices.
“Every day we come out here and we’re going to do what coach says,” Foles said. “You’ve all seen practice; we’re competing every single play. We’re pushing through, we’re grinding through, we’re playing at game speed, we’re talking through it and we’re working to get better. So, we’re getting those game reps out here.
“Obviously, it’s not in a stadium, it’s not under the lights and that is a different animal in itself, but we’re getting a lot of work and when we do take the field, when coach decides that, we’ll be ready to roll. There’s always some butterflies when you get back out there and play, doesn’t matter what game you’re playing in, but I know our guys are working hard right now.”
Marrone has yet to say how much the starters or front-line players will play against the Philadelphia Eagles in Preseason Week 2 at TIAA Bank Field Thursday.
“I’m going to leave all of those things up to coach,” said Foles, the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl LII for the Eagles following the 2017 season. “All I’m going to do is handle what I can control and that’s coming out here and competing with my teammates, working hard, studying the film, working in meetings and walkthroughs and whatever he decides I’ll go with.”
Other takeaways from Day 14 of Jaguars 2019 Training Camp:
*One notable camp development has been the ability of the first-team offense to hit the deep pass. Foles connected with wide receiver Chris Conley and DJ Chark Jr. multiple times in joint practices at Baltimore last Monday and Tuesday, and he found Conley wide open for a deep touchdown pass midway through Monday’s practice. “We’ve been able to hit some deep balls,” Foles said. “We’ve missed a few as well. But we’re getting there, we’re improving, we’re working on things. We’re seeing a lot of different coverages from our defense that dictates a lot of different things, but our guys are making some really good plays and we’ll keep improving on it.”
*Among the more high-profile of a slew of Jaguars training camp injuries was the hamstring injury sustained by Oliver. He has been out since August 1, and Marrone said Monday the hope is the third-round selection from San Jose State can return by the September 8 regular-season opener against Kansas City at TIAA Bank Field. “Every day we evaluate him,” Marrone said. “Every day it’s like, ‘Where is he? Where he’s at and what going on?’ We’re trying to get him back for the first game. That’s our goal. He’s doing everything he can, though.”
*Much was made during the offseason about Foles’ familiarity with DeFilippo, with the two having worked together in 2017 when DeFilippo was the quarterbacks coach of the Eagles during Foles’ first season with the team. “There’s probably like 50 percent of it I was familiar with and the other 50 I’ve acclimated to and feel really comfortable with,” Foles said. “I feel really comfortable running it right now. We’re still in training-camp mode where you’re installing everything and now as we get going, we’ll fine-tune it to get ready for the season. And obviously we have three preseason games to go, so we still have some time to acclimate and get ready, but we’ll figure out our identity as a team and ultimately that sometimes starts during the season as you go.”