The Jacksonville Jaguars were in the dumps last season. They started out capturing two wins versus the New York Giants and the world champion New England Patriots. But after that, the season was a downward spiral.
Now come this season, the Jags have a new quarterback who has been there and done that in Nick Foles.
The big picture: Foles will bring his championship pedigree to a team that is in desperate need of that ingredient. And of course you can not forget about the Jaguars defense. That defense took the organization to its first AFC title game. And with Foles controlling the offense, expect this team to take flight.
The key to getting back: Foles will be the ultimate key to unlocking an offense that only scored 15 points per game last season (27th overall). He will help in that area by giving offensive coordinator John DeFilippo the option to throw it deep, which will open up the field significantly.
- Proven champ: Nick Foles has proven himself in the NFL by bringing a Lombardi trophy to the City of Brotherly Love. He now finds himself in a situation to propel the Jags back to the playoffs.
- Clutch gene: Foles has notched 8 comebacks and 10 game-winning drives. He is clutch in the biggest moments, and he slings the rock without fear in the toughest situations. That is what was missing for the Jaguars last season.
- The O-line: Nothing is possible without the play of the offensive line. And last year, according to Fantasypros.com, they ranked just inside the top 20. With a serviceable line, Foles will be able to operate inside a clean pocket.
Put all three of these components together and you have a big improvement compared to last year. Jacksonville knew what type of player they were getting and paid a pretty penny for Foles (4 years/$88 million). But it will all be worth it in the long run for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The skill position players for Foles: From running backs to wide outs to tight ends, Foles will have plenty of weapons to use.
Here are the projected starters for the Jaguars offense for 2019.
- Running back: Leonard Fournette will be the starter come September 8th. Last season he hit a sophomore slump, due to lack of creativeness on offense. But that will change with Foles being under center.
- Wide outs: Chris Conley, Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole, and Marquise Lee will be the starters. Foles is now equipped with a big target in Conley, who was catching lasers from Pat Mahomes last season. Westbrook will now have more of an opportunity in the offense by stretching the field with his elite quickness. And Lee and Cole will be set up in the slot positions.
- Tight end: Geoff Swaim will be the tight end for Jacksonville in 2019. He will benefit the most from having Foles as the leader of the offense. Reason being, Foles utilizes the tight end position very well.
Foles has a chance to make these players look better than they really are. But the chemistry should build in due time. And when and if that happens, the Jags have an opportunity to be lethal in 2019.
Foles will help the defense: The Jaguars defense will go hand in hand with Foles taking over as the quarterback. Last year, the defense was on the field more than it would of liked. It was due to the fact that the offense could not convert first downs. But come this year with Foles, the defense should be rejuvenated.
- Defense will take more risk: The Jags defense is loaded with talent all over the field. With that being the case, the takeaways will go up this season.
- The edge rushers: Calais Campbell and rookie Josh Allen will create more possessions for the offense. Since 2017, Campbell has racked up over 25 sacks on a 12.7% pressure rate.
- Ball hawks: A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey will both bounce back next season. Knowing that they have a serviceable quarterback leading the way will give the duo more confidence to go out and take chances to break up passes in the secondary.
All in all, Foles is bringing that trust factor to the defense. The offense and defense both work together in many ways. And one of them is limiting the time the defense spends on the field. With Foles orchestrating the offense, he will convert more first downs than what Bortles did last year. And that means the defense will have more rest and ultimately more longevity for the tough 16 game season.
The final word: The Jacksonville Jaguars put all their eggs in one basket going after Nick Foles. But in the end, Doug Marrone and staff will have a squad that is capable of making it back to the playoffs.