Foles talks leadership style, playing Eagles in preseason, basketball skills, & more

In life, all you can ask for is hope, and the Jaguars have just that with their new QB Nick Foles. Last season was a massive disappointment for Jacksonville after the team finished  5-11. They struggled on both sides of the ball, especially at the quarterback position. With the addition Foles, who signed a four-year, $88 million contract with Jacksonville after spending the last two seasons in Philadelphia, there is optimism again in Duval County.

The 30-year-old Foles was magical for the Eagles, which included a victory in Super Bowl 52. Can Foles work his magic in Jacksonville? That is the hope, and all starts this week as the Jaguars begin voluntary offseason workouts.

Today, Foles addressed the media as he discussed his leadership style, the importance of the tight end position, his new house in Jacksonville,  playing the Eagles in the preseason, his basketball skills, and more:

(On building chemistry with his new teammates)

“It’s great getting back to work. The offseason is a great time to spend time with your family, get a break from everything, but I know all of us were excited to get back in the building yesterday and get back to work. For me it’s an opportunity to get to know everyone. I haven’t really had the opportunity to get to know the guys in this building. When I signed a lot of the players aren’t here during that time of the year. There are a few guys on the team that I’ve played with before, but it’s fun these last couple days putting faces to names and understanding everything. It’s been great.”

 (On his leadership style)

“I think the big thing is being genuine, being who I am, and a lot of that is getting to know the guys. Obviously, leading by example. I don’t know how everything works here. There are a lot of guys that have been here before, so I’m also observing and watching and the different things I’ve learned throughout my career is there will be a time and a place about implanting it or discuss. We’re all here to make things better, to ultimately give us the opportunity to succeed. To do that you have to build a foundation and that is trust and getting to know each other. That’s why this part of the year is great because we come to work four days a week. You get an opportunity to get to know the guys and then you can build that trust and go from there.”

 (On how the move went for his family down to Jacksonville)

“It’s been great. We really enjoyed it. We’re still moving. Moving takes a long time. We’ve really enjoyed it. I’m blessed to have an amazing wife who we have gone through this whole journey together, my daughter, and we have one on the way too due in November. There’s a lot going on in our life. I’m not going to forget our dog, Henry, he would be mad at me. It has been a wild ride, but we’re excited to be here. My mother-in-law has been with us the last couple of days helping us move in and getting acquainted. It’s a really special time for us for sure.”

(On how involved he was in choosing their new home)

“I was extremely involved. I knew right away when we had signed here we looked online. We were trying to figure it out quickly because it happens fast and we eyed one that we loved, but you also have to go see homes. Right after we signed we went the next couple of days and found a place to live and it ultimately ended up being the place that I had a gut instinct on, and my wife agreed. We’re very blessed to be there.” 

(On his top must-have in his new house)

“For me, growing up since I was a kid I wanted a basketball goal and a little bit of a sport court. That’s what I got. I have always wanted that since I was a kid, so I’m going to be very safe on it. Shooting baskets is therapeutic for me. It’ll be the first time in my career that I have that since college.” 

(On why he likes to shoot hoops)

“In college my roommate and I, my roommate David Douglas, who was a receiver, we lived together all four years. We would go to the rec center one or two days a week and play horse, shoot around and maybe play a little bit of one-on-one during the season just to get away from everything, class, football and just take our minds off of it. When I was in Kansas City there was a basketball goal in the locker room, so we had fun playing horse and stuff like that. It’ll be fun to go home, put on some music, shoot for ten minutes and do what I have to do.”

 (On if he had college basketball scholarship offers)

“I was alright (laughs). I’m 30 now; I can still shoot. My jumping legs aren’t as good as they used to be, but I’m sure with this strength training and everything they will come back pretty quickly.”

 (On if he can still dunk)

“Yes.”

(On the importance of the tight end)

“Tight end in this league right now is so important. The big reason is you want a guy that can go out and catch the ball. I have played with two of the best in the game; Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz and a young, up-and-comer Dallas Goedert, and I have also played with Brent Celek. I’m trying to get those guys’ names out just in case because I will get messages and they will get mad at me. It’s really important. You have to be able to run the ball with the tight end in the game, but they also have to be able to go out and catch the ball. It’s very hard to find guys that are good at both, but a key to a great offense is you really do need a good tight end.”

 (On if he is comfortable enough now to talk to the personnel staff about his feelings about tight ends)

“They’re going to make the best decision for this team and what this team needs. The guys we have here I’m getting to know them. I haven’t had an opportunity to throw with them yet. I was with [James] O’Shaughnessy in Kansas City, so there are a couple familiar faces. I’m going to let them make their decision and I’m going to do what I have to do in the locker room.”

 (On how patient he has to be building trust with his teammates)

“Trust is something you can’t just rush. That’s why you come in here each day. I don’t try to be anything other than myself. I think guys respect that. When they step in the huddle with me they’re not going to say, ‘This is the guy on game day, but then this is the guy that is different in the locker room and different outside of the facility.’ My goal is right here to be who I am all the time. That takes time. It was a lot of fun going out there and working today. Doing our conditioning test, going in the weight room and working, being in the meeting room, getting back to football and getting to see all the different personalities in this locker room. I have played for a couple coaches and one of their lines was, ‘Let your personality show.’ That’s what makes football such a special sport, is all the different guys from all the different backgrounds who come together in the locker room and go out there to achieve great things. This is the start of all that.” 

(On if he only was able to choose one would he want an elite tight end or an elite right tackle)

“To be honest, the foundation of an offense is always through the [offensive] line. It really is through the O-line. The guys I have played with – it’s really hard to run a successful offense without those guys up front. Not only from a skill perspective up front, but also the mindset. The thing I noticed the last couple years in Philly with those guys and the O-line was they are a special group of dudes. You step in the huddle and they have a great relationship. They know all their calls, but great personalities. A lot of fun to play with. I have gotten to know a little bit of the O-line these past couple of days and I see the same thing. Great personalities and it’s going to be a lot of fun stepping into the huddle with them, getting to know them, trusting them with calls, talking to them with the calls, but a foundation – defense – let’s flip it over. You have to have a great [defensive] line. It all starts up front. That’s football and then you build all around that.”

 (Eagles RT Lane Johnson over Eagles TE Zach Ertz)

“No, no I didn’t say that (laughs). Once again those are guys that I love right there and I know I will hear from them if I make a statement. Both of those guys are great players.”

 (On if he likes the fact Philadelphia will be here for the first home preseason game)

“It’ll be crazy. I’ll be excited to go out there and compete against them with these guys. This is my home now. I couldn’t be more excited. Philadelphia knows how much I will always love them. I don’t have to lie about that. My wife and I are grateful to be here and excited to be here for a long time, but it takes a lot of work and ultimately going out there and winning games. It will be fun to compete against Philadelphia.”

 (On if he will jokingly trash talk during the game)

“That’s not really my style. They know that as well. I’m sure they’re going to have a little bit of trash talk just to have fun with me. You build relationships through the years. I have great relationships in that organization, but it will be fun to compete against them. It’ll be fun in warm ups to be across from them. Ultimately that’s what this game is about.”

 (On how deep into the playbook can the team get during the time of year)

“The goal is to get everything down this time of year. It’s a ten-week program and then you get that break so you can fine-tune it and review it, but the goal is to get everything down this time of the year. Then you will probably do a similar install during training camp and then once the season starts that’s where the game planning changes a little bit.”

 (On how far into the playbook is he now)

“We just started today.”

 (On Coach Marrone wanting the quarterback to know more about the offense than anyone)

“I would say if you are running the offense you should know it pretty well. Ultimately, the quarterback, you’re the one that is going to change plays if need be. If it’s built in, we’re going to have plays where there are multiple plays within one or if we need to change a route. Flip and I have been together before so we understand each other’s mentality. That’s the big thing. A play caller and a quarterback, you have to build that relationship and know how each other work. There’s a foundation set for Flip and me. We just have to build on that. It’s going to be a little bit different. There’s some verbiage that is different, but this time of year – teaching the guy the verbiage, me learning the stuff that is a little different for me and then teaching all the guys what I expect, what I see, what I feel, so we can be on the same page. That’s where this time of year is so valuable.”

 (On building on his familiarity with DeFilippo and learning the new nuances of the offense)

“This is Flip’s first year, so it’s basically Flip’s offense and what they want to do here with the guys here. That’s how it is everywhere you go. You get all these coaches from all these different backgrounds, so when they get together they build the best offense that they deem possible for this team. That’s what they have done and now they’re teaching us. That’s how every team works.”

 (On how much time he will need to completely learn the playbook and how much is it reduced because of his previous stops with DeFilippo)

“I don’t know if I can give you a time, but I can say it really helps. It really helps when you have a background in offense where there are similarities. It really gives you a head start as opposed to if you go to an offense that is totally different schematically and verbiage-wise. It’ll take a little bit longer. Because there are similarities, we’ll be able to go a lot faster. I’ll be able to ultimately teach the guys and talk to them at a high level to where they can understand what I see and then if they don’t understand then I can help them with that.”

 (On how helpful it is to have DeFilippo here to ease the transition to a new team)

“It’s wonderful. Anytime you know someone and you get along with that person and you’re on the same page and you get to go forward on a new journey, it’s huge.”

 (On if there has been one person in the locker room he has leaned on to begin to understand the culture of the team)

“Calais and I talked several weeks ago on the phone for a little while because I wanted to hear about his time here and what the locker room is like here. I didn’t know. This is all new to me. We had a great conversation. Ultimately, it’s important for me to understand the people here and what has been going on, what they see, what is the rhythm of the week, how they practice, how they prepare and stuff like that is good for to know, so I can acclimate quicker. You chose a great one. [Campbell] is a guy I have admired since I have been in the NFL. He’s a guy that is one of the best in the league, but you can tell by the way he handles himself that he is a pro’s pro and he is more than a football player. That’s really special.”

 (On if he will watch the Jaguars 2018 offense to get acclimated with the returning players’ playing style)

“There might be some clips of that. A lot of it will be getting a feel throwing with them. Honestly, we saw a lot of Jacksonville offense last year when we were studying film of defensive opponents who we were playing because Jacksonville had played similar opponents. We saw the offense and the different personnel a lot last year. I sort of have an idea coming in. A lot of it will be getting that feel and timing throwing with them. That’s how I work.”

 (On who else on the team has he played with)

“Chris Conley and I played together in Kansas City. Benny Cunningham, Cody Davis, Parker Ehinger. There might be one I’m missing, but there are some guys I have played with before, which is really cool because this is a different part of all of our journeys and we can come together again and do something special.”

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