As ESPN.com's Mike DiRocco suggested, three years ago, few saw Nick Foles
as a potential franchise quarterback.
He was a former starter on his third team, trying to decide whether he even wanted to continue playing.
This season, Foles is embracing a rare opportunity: A second chance to be the unquestioned team leader.
After filling in for an injured Carson Wentz
over the past two seasons -- winning MVP while leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl victory over New England to cap the 2017 season -- Foles' job now is to take a Jacksonville Jaguars franchise that has floundered for much of the past decade and make it an annual playoff contender. Owner Shad Khan, executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin, general manager Dave Caldwell and coach Doug Marrone made signing Foles their top priority in free agency.
“For a franchise to give you a chance. ... You just realize this game is not about one person,” Foles said. "I’ve been blessed to play with so many great people in my life, and an example the other day, seeing my ex-teammates in Philly and getting to embrace them -- that’s what the game is about. Coming here, that’s what I’m working to build -- the relationships to where you know it’s more than X’s and O’s, it’s more than football.
“Obviously we have to go out there and win games, but the tighter you are in the locker room, the greater the opportunity is to win those games because adversity can’t break you apart. That’s really what I’m instilling right now with this opportunity.”
The Jaguars are trying to give him as much help as they can. They added receiver Chris Conley
in free agency and drafted tight end Josh Oliver
in the third round. The offensive coordinator is John DeFilippo, who was Foles’ quarterback coach in Philadelphia the season the Eagles won the Super Bowl.
They’re building around Foles, which is what every quarterback wants. And now he'll hit the field against one of his former teams, the Chiefs.
In fact, ESPN's Mike Clay believes Conley and D.J. Chark
make for intriguing deep sleepers
as Jacksonville's top two perimeter receivers this season, and both have an opportunity to get off to a fast start against Kansas City's shaky perimeter cornerback situation.
Bashaud Breeland, who has struggled to hold down a job in recent seasons, is filling in for suspended Morris Claiborne. Charvarius Ward went undrafted in 2018 before being heavily targeted in limited action in 2018. The Chiefs allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to perimeter receivers last season.
Clay added: "Keep Conley and Chark in mind in DFS tournaments this week."
Worth noting here: Left Cam Robinson (knee) is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s opener against the Chiefs, and coach Doug Marrone said that Will Richardson would start at left tackle this week.
Robinson’s status is obviously a significant concern for the Jaguars. He missed most of last year with a torn ACL in the left knee, and the other one being an issue is not good.
Richardson, last year’s fourth-rounder, didn’t play in a game last year, and was placed on injured reserve after six weeks of the season.
The Jaguars will also be without backup tackle Cedric Ogbuehi (hamstring) and tight end Josh Oliver
. Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is questionable with an elbow issue.
Given the desire to keep the Chiefs from teeing off on Foles -- and to keep the ball away from Kansas City's potent offense, expect a heavy does of Leonard Fournette