The topic of who should start at quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars between rookie sensation Gardner Minshew II and veteran Nick Foles is something that has been highly debated over the past couple of weeks, but lo and behold, following a return from a clavicle injury, Foles is the starter moving forward this season.
I’m not here to discuss whether or not starting Foles/taking Minshew out of the lineup is the right move or not. It is what it is at this point, and of course, we all expected Foles to be the starter for the entire season going into this year, anyway.
But what I do want to discuss is expectations and whether or not said expectations change for Jacksonville with Foles under center.
I will say that the Jaguars are right about where I expected them after nine games. While looking at the schedule in the preseason — and not knowing Foles would get injured 10 pays into the campaign — I would have guessed 4-5 or 5-4 at this point. Minshew did a great job of keeping the Jaguars afloat with Foles sidelined. The thing is, each of Jacksonville’s wins came against teams that currently have a losing record. The five losses are all against teams with a winning record. So, unsurprisingly, the Jags are a middle of the pack the team — can roll over the bottom feeders, but can’t quite hang with the top teams (though the team was competitive).
I’m not sure if Foles moves the needle from that 7-9 or 8-8 mid-tier kind of team and gets the Jags to the playoffs. I do think he more than likely gives this team the best chance to “win now,” but this team has flaws that go far beyond the quarterback position — offensive line, linebackers, tight end, etc. Foles is also significantly less mobile than Minshew, so when the pocket breaks down, he’s not going to be able to escape and make many plays on the run. And the pocket will break down, as Jacksonville has one of the lowest graded offensive lines in football.
On the other hand, though, Foles is an experienced player, and he’s a good leader. His play is streaky, but he has routinely set his teams up to win in the past, at least during his time in Philadelphia. He’s a better pocket passer than Minshew and he also has the size that is coveted in NFL quarterbacks. Foles will also protect the ball better than the rookie. But is he a player who can single-handily will the Jaguars to a win? I guess that remains to be seen. What we can draw from his past experiences is that Foles is a high-variance player who has looked incredible at times (including in a Super Bowl), and who has also looked lost or no better than average on many other occasions.
Basically, what I am saying here is that I expect the Jaguars to be a fringe playoff team, but probably just missing out come season’s end. This is on par with how I would feel if Minshew remained the starter. So, to answer my own question, I think the appropriate response to whether or not expectations change this season with Foles is “not much.” But I will obviously be rooting for him to lead a second half surge following the bye week and help the Jags make a run.
Now I want to open this thread to the commenters. Let us know in the comments section if you feel better, worse or the same with Foles leading the offense for the remainder of the Jags’ season, and why. And vote in the poll below!
How do your expectations change for the Jaguars with Nick Foles as the starting quarterback?
This poll is closed
Significantly. The Jaguars will make the playoffs with Foles
My expectations remain the same as they were without Foles
Slightly, but the Jaguars will still miss the playoffs
I think the Jaguars are worse off with Foles