Calais Campbell: Jaguars' Season 'Really Comes Down to Nick Foles'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 5, 2019

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles throws a pass during an NFL football practice, Thursday, May 30, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell said his team's season rides on the right shoulder of new quarterback Nick Foles.

Campbell discussed the importance of Foles, who signed a four-year, $88 million contract as a free agent in March, during an appearance on the RapSheet and Friends podcast Tuesday (via Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com):

"The thing I love about this year is it really comes down to Nick Foles. He's a guy who's over 30, has a lot of experience, won a Super Bowl MVP, but really what he brings is that confidence. He's a natural leader. When he breaks the team huddle at the end of practice, you can see guys really hear him, and that's so important. Obviously what he can do throwing the ball is great, but what he does for the actual overall team, giving us more confidence and belief."

Campbell later followed up on his comments in a post on his Twitter account:

Calais Campbell @CalaisCampbell

Its gonna take all of us to get to where we want to go. Foles will lead us and we all will have his back. That’s football #TeamIsWhatItTakes https://t.co/XOHeuavyUv

Jacksonville went 10-6 in 2017 and reached the AFC Championship Game before losing 24-20 to the New England Patriots.

The Jaguars suffered a dramatic drop off en route to a 5-11 record in 2018. Although their defense remained strong, ranking fifth in yards allowed per game, they fell from sixth to 27th in total offense—in large part because of quarterback Blake Bortles' struggles.

Campbell told Ian Rapoport he's confident Foles can turn things around for the Jags.

"Our defense is incredible, and I feel like we're going to play so much better trying to get him the ball, because we know what he'll do with it," he said. "You hear him speak, and it's contagious."

Foles shined with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013, registering 27 touchdown passes and two interceptions across 13 games. He didn't showcase that type of form again until the 2017 playoffs, where he helped lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl LII title against the Patriots and won Super Bowl MVP honors. 

His overall numbers remain mediocre, though. He's completed 61.6 percent of his throws with 68 touchdowns and 33 picks in 54 career regular-season appearances. His 88.5 passer rating since entering the league in 2012 ranks 14th among active quarterbacks, per Pro Football Reference.

If Foles is going to succeed, the Jags are likely going to need breakout seasons from at least a few of their wide receivers. It's a group led by Marqise Lee, Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook.