Jaguars’ Marrone explains why he went back to Nick Foles

Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles is healthy, and on Tuesday, Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone decided that he will start in Week 11 against the Colts. Jacksonville is on a bye in Week 10.

Foles, 30, who signed a four-year, $88 million deal this offseason, has missed the last eight games due to a broken left collarbone, which he suffered in Week 1 against the Chiefs.

As a whole, rookie QB Gardner Minshew played reasonably well but struggled last week against the Texans. In that game, Minshew had four turnovers(two interceptions, two fumbles). In nine games(eight starts), Minshew has thrown for 2285 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions.

On Tuesday, Marrone explained why he decided to go back to Foles:

(Opening Statement)

Marrone: “First of all, I appreciate you guys coming here earlier. But I wanted to do this, and I think a lot of you guys know when I’ve felt this before, I want to make sure you guys hear things firsthand. I just got done with the team meeting [and] I’ve made a decision on the quarterbacks and Nick [Foles] will be our starting quarterback going forward. It was obviously my decision. I worked hard on it, came to it. I brought both players in this morning [and] spoke to both of them. After I spoke to the players and obviously I wanted to make sure I spoke to the team and then I wanted to get it to our media before they heard it anywhere else, where I can’t control. So, I appreciate that. We’re going through self-scout, all the things now to try to get ourselves better. I think you always find something out during this period of time. And then obviously the challenge is how do you correct it and go forward? We believe coming back that everyone that we have on the roster will be healthy, so that’s what we’re looking forward to. And I told the players, ‘Hey, let’s get away a little bit.’ Let’s come back and let’s get focused on Indianapolis.”

(On what changed his mind to making the decision before the Bye Week)

Marrone: “One of the things that I’ve learned in coaching is that it’s very difficult when – it’s tougher to make decisions when you give yourself a hard timeline, a short timeline. So, for me, when I looked at it, and I wasn’t going to put a lot of time into it prior to the game – the thought process of the quarterback position – I looked at the schedule and I said, ‘OK, what’s the most amount of time that I would have,’ before I had to make a decision. So, I wanted to get that out there to kind of give myself that time if I needed it. Going through, what I did, I took time, obviously I got the game [film] done on the way home from London. [I] stayed up, got a good night’s sleeps, woke up, started working on the quarterback decision right away. I came to a decision and I thought once you come to a decision, you might as well tell the people. I told the players today and I want to get it to you, and I just wanted to do the right thing.”

(On when he came to the decision)

Marrone: “This morning.”

(On how QB Gardner Minshew II took the decision)

Marrone: “I think Gardner’s a competitor. I think that what he’s done. He’s done a great job. I feel a whole lot different about him now than I did prior to him playing in a very positive way. We took some things and had some discussions on things that we’re going to work on going forward which will give him the ability to be a player in this league for a long time. We really believe that.”

(On Minshew’s reaction to the news)

Marrone: “I think you can go and ask him. I mean, obviously when I say someone’s a competitor, and they hear something like that, I think everyone can figure that out.”

(On how much the Week 9 game against Houston impacted the starting QB decision)

Marrone: “I try to take that out and put it as a body of work, and that’s what I did. I think that’s important. I think emotions can run sometimes differently, so I looked at the body of work.”

(On if Minshew’s shoulder soreness impacted his play in London)

Marrone: “I wasn’t even on that thought. He was ready to go.”

(On what factors led him to pick Foles as the starting QB)

Marrone: “I think for me, looking back at all of the work, the work that we put in and I just go back to the experience and what he’s going to be able to do. And I think that’s going to give us the ability [to have] a better chance of winning right now.”

(On how they plan to get Foles back up to speed)

Marrone: “He’s had a 21-day window, which we’ve brought him back. We’ve progressively brought him back into drills and brought him into some high speed, close quarter rushing [drills], where guys were coming at him, blitzes where people were coming free. We felt like we did the best job to make sure that he was in position to be ready once he was healthy.”

(On if Foles will be in the practice facility during the Bye Week)

Marrone: “I don’t know. If you’re asking [if] we have anything planned to do with him? No. But is he going to be gone? I don’t know that.”

(On when Minshew’s play made him question who should be the starter)

Marrone: “I don’t know if I had that thought process, because I don’t think you can do a good enough job for the person that’s there. In your mind, if I’m dancing with this person, but I know at the end of the night I’m going to be dancing with this other [person], I don’t think I’m going to be dancing that well with the first one. So, for me, I don’t really look at it that way.”

(On if the team’s red zone issues factored into the QB decision)

Marrone: “Not into the individual quarterback play decision. I think when you look at our ability in the red zone, I don’t think you can pin it on one person. I think collectively as a group, starting with us as coaches, we have to do a better job, and we have to put our players in better position, and we have to make plays down there. Obviously, we’re not doing well and that’ll be a big focus when we look at this self-scout of what better answers we can have.”

(On if he feels fortunate to have a 4-5 record after losing their QB in Week 1 of the season)

Marrone: “I think that’s another tough question. I’m disappointed in myself that I haven’t been able to do a better job for the fans and this team and having more wins because that’s what our job is. The story in the beginning was I feel a lot better because I did not know what we had as a backup quarterback going into the season, and I feel that right now we have two really good quarterbacks. And I think, I told the team today, the example of Gardner, as an example that’s been going on quite a bit on this team, but it doesn’t get as publicized, or I might not bring it up to the team as much, and I brought it up today. I think people like Najee Goode, who was brought here as a backup linebacker who’s starting now. Guys like Tre Herndon, who was thrown into a [starting] role and is playing well for us. Keelan Cole who came in as a free agent, then he had some success, then he really wasn’t playing as much these past couple of weeks, and then all of a sudden, he had back-to-back games with touchdowns. Just being ready, and I think it’s a great example for all of our players. So, that’s how I addressed it.”

(On if he would have been content with a 4-4 record after Foles was injured)

Marrone: “You know what scares me right now? It’s that everyone’s always trying to get to you and figure out what’s going on. I’m talking about my friends, very few, but my friends. And I get a lot of the same questions you ask, and I’m thinking maybe you [Florida Times-Union columnist Gene Frenette] and I are meant to be best friends. But I’m going to tell you exactly what I said to my friend. I said, ‘You know, as the head football coach, as someone that’s in charge of winning, I don’t have the ability to talk that way.’ If someone said, ‘Hey, 8-0, would you go for that?’ Yes! You know what I’m saying? So for me, I don’t have that because when you’re part of a team, and you have so many other players, and you expect people to step up, you believe you can overcome whatever injury or whatever thing you have. I think that’s a case of where the fans, and the people that write, or maybe the players, they would be better with being able to answer that question than someone like myself. Because if I don’t say 8-0, then I wouldn’t be the best of what I’m trying to do. So, when we get a question of, ‘How do you feel?’ well, I feel disappointed because I haven’t done a good enough job because of where we are right now. So, we’re going to fight our asses off and work our way back in to getting ourselves in position to play a game, because like I told the team, we had an opportunity last week to put ourselves in a really good position and we didn’t take advantage of it.”

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