According to NFL.com's Kevin Patra, even as the outside world views the Jaguars pressing pause on Minshew Mania with raised eyebrows, inside the Jags' locker room there is pervasive faith in Nick Foles
"What are you asking me? He is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback," wide receiver Keelan Cole
said. "Of course, we feel confident. His throws are on time. He knows the offense. He's seen everything. You can't make up defensive coverages against him."
After suffering a broken left collarbone just 10 plays into the season, Foles has been practicing the past two weeks, and by most accounts has looked like his normal self, able to rip the ball downfield.
"It's like riding a bicycle," wide receiver D.J. Chark
said. "As long as you are doing your job, you can bet Nick is going to do his job. As long as you are getting open, the ball is going to be in the spot to just catch it. That's pretty much it."
entered and helped keep the Jags in the hunt, guiding them to a 4-5 record. The rookie performed admirably in relief and collected a hive following along the way. His four-turnover dud in London in Week 9, however, allowed Doug Marrone to hand the reins back to Foles for the stretch run.
The Jags remain in the playoff hunt but need to stack wins. Luckily those types of streaks have been Foles' specialty lately. The QB helped guide
the Eagles to a 9-2 record the past two years in starts later in December and January, including playoffs.
"I think people should be excited because he's prepared to go out there and leave it all on the line," said wide receiver Chris Conley
. "He's a gunslinger, a good leader of men."
Minshew's pocket mobility, ability to elongate plays, and throw with accuracy aided the Jags' offense during his stint under center, especially behind a less-than-stellar offensive line. However, the Jags struggled to find the end zone consistently behind the rookie. The Jaguars are the only team in the NFL averaging 350-plus total yards per game, but fewer than 20 points per game this season.
Starting with Sunday's pivotal tilt versus AFC South rival Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville hopes Foles can help change those issues.
It's not just offensive players who have confidence the veteran quarterback can lead them through the season's second half.
"I have nothing but faith in Nick," defensive end Calais Campbell said. "His work ethic, the way he prepares, I have nothing but respect for him."
Jags players have said all the right things about Foles' return to the lineup.
Now, as Patra summed up, "they need the QB to reward that faith with Ws down the stretch, or the call for the return of Minshew Mania will undoubtedly return. ..."
So what should fantasy owners expect?
As ESPN.com's Jim McCormick reminded readers, since the start of 2016 and including playoffs, Foles is 11-4 as a starter.
The only quarterbacks with a better win percentage as a starter in that span are Jimmy Garoppolo
(16-3), Tom Brady
(51-11) and Lamar Jackson
(12-4). With some real vertical weapons in place in the passing game and enough of a rushing threat to sell play-action looks, McCormick believes Foles should exceed the 15.5 fantasy points per game surrendered by the Colts.
Beyond that. ... As ESPN's Mike Clay noted, it'd be hard to be more unlucky when it comes to touchdown scoring than Leonard Fournette
has been this season.
He has been held to one touchdown.
Still, Fournette entered the Week 10 bye No. 1 among backs in snaps, routes and touches, and ranked third in carries and scrimmage yards. And despite the touchdown troubles, Fournette hasn't posted a week with fewer than 11 fantasy points and has five top-11 weekly finishes to his name.
"Fournette's touchdown deficiencies are going to disappear in a hurry assuming his role doesn't change following the bye," Clay added. "He's a strong weekly RB1 play."