Jaguars’ head coach Doug Marrone made a difficult decision earlier this week when he named Nick Foles the team’s starting quarterback over Gardner Minshew II, the decision offered typical push back among fans, and skepticism among the rest. Within the Jaguars’ locker room, however, there does not seem to be any skepticism, at least not with Jaguars’ defensive lineman Calais Campbell.
In a recent interview on ESPN’s First Take, Campbell offered high praise for the team’s new signal-caller.
“Love him. Love him,” Campbell told the First Take crew when asked about the team’s new starting quarterback. “Ultimate leader, such a great guy. I truly believe this too -- if he didn’t get hurt, he’d be competing for MVP of the league right now. I know that’s a big statement, but he is an incredible talent.”
This isn’t an uncommon thought when it comes to Foles and his teammates. Throughout his years in the league, players have offered similar praise for the former Superbowl MVP. His teammates love him, and he brings a different type of leadership within the locker room to get players such as Campbell to put all their chips on the table, and buy in.
Over the last few weeks, Foles has been working with the team’s scout team in order to prepare his teammates for their upcoming match up. Not uncommon from other backup quarterbacks, however, in Foles’ case he was still recovering from a broken left clavicle suffered in week one of the regular season. Campbell says Foles is “selfless” and was always there to pick his teammates up.
“He just wants whats best for everybody else. He’s just the ultimate -- he wants to know who you are, what drives you.”
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith offered push back for Campbell telling the crew — and those at home watching — that Foles could have competed for the MVP of the league, but in Campbell’s mind, it is not an overstatement.
“I see him in practice, when we were going through training camp, and then just the look in his eyes -- our offense is pretty special now,” said Campbell.
Foles is an upgrade from the team’s past quarterback situation. Last year, there was a quarterback controversy between Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler. Two quarterbacks who have had success in the league, but were viewed as a lose-lose situation for the eventual 5-11 2018 Jaguars.
Campbell says that while he had a great relationship with Bortles, Foles is his quarterback now, and he feels Foles will be great for the team’s offense.
The Jaguars sit at 4-5 right now with the potential for the playoffs nearly out of their grasp, but the former All-Pro defensive lineman is confident in this team’s ability, and particularly his new quarterback’s ability to drive them to the playoffs.
“Oh yeah, I’m very confident [in] where we’re at as a team,” Campbell said when asked if he believes Foles can take the team to the playoffs. “I think we have a lot of work to do, but I think we’re going places -- we got one week at a time, but we’re going places.”