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Two Minute Warning: The Jaguars have an $88 million problem and its name is Nick Foles

Dec 1, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles (7) is sacked with the help of Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Carl Nassib (94) as Jaguars offensive tackle Cam Robinson (74) tries to block during the second quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s not start by crowning anyone king of the fools since there’s so much blame to go around. In March, the Jacksonville Jaguars made the decision to sign Nick Foles as the future signal-caller in Duval county. 

Anyone who has ever seen football should have seen the risks of adding the Super Bowl 52 MVP, and even Jacksonville watched a team in their division make a similar mistake.  In 2016, the Houston Texans signed Brock Osweiler to a $72 million contract after going 6-1 as the Denver Broncos starter. He would be benched by Week 15 after throwing for 14 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. 

But hey, Foles was a Super Bowl MVP so things had to be different, no? 

The Philadelphia Eagles knew a team was going to pay top dollar for Foles and believed in the quarterback who guided them to the postseason in 2017. After the Eagles released Foles, Jacksonville never hesitated to write the veteran a four-year, $88 million deal in the offseason. 

Just as an insurance policy, the team elected to draft Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew in the sixth round. Most late-round picks struggle to make the roster, meaning the man with the mustache was expected to learn under Foles, coming in for garbage time. 

Not even a full year into his contract, Foles was benched in favor of the man who created a mania after another struggling start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On Monday, Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone announced the team would be going back to Mishew for their Week 14 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. 

“Overall we’re not being able to give him [Nick Foles] a clean pocket,” Marrone said at his press conference.

It’s hard to blame the franchise for wanting to test out their expensive toy. The team struggled for years under the direction of Blake Borltes, winning 24 games over the span of five seasons. Foles did look the part in the postseason but immediately was replaced by a healthy Carson Wentz. 

A broken collarbone suffered against Kansas City forced Minshew into action and Foles to injured reserved. For a sixth-round pick who barely made the roster, he impressed early. The team went 4-5 under the Mississippi native while throwing for over 2,000 yards and 13 touchdowns.

A three-interception game against the Houston Texans in London gave Jaguars’ vice president Tom Coughlin and excuse to play Foles over the rookie sensation. In three games back, the once Pro Bowl quarterback threw for 661 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. A fumble returned for a touchdown by Tampa’s Devin White was all it took for Marrone to pull the plug on Foles and play Minshew. 

With Marrone likely waiting for the pink slip to arrive, the Foles era should be over in Duval. Is Minshew the answer? Perhaps. Tom Brady was a sixth-round pick and look at what he’s done in the NFL. No, the man with the NFL’s top facial feature isn’t the G.O.A.T., but when fans are chanting for you to play, it’s clear who the better signal-caller is.     

Two years ago, the Jaguars were a quarter away from representing the AFC in the Super Bowl after leading late against the Patriots. Now, the franchise is looking for a quarterback, trading away their best talent and continuing to be mediocre despite a talented young corp.

Foles’ career has been one of the strangest to ever grace the NFL. A Pro Bowler who replaced Michael Vick in Philadelphia was traded away, disappeared on the bench and eventually returned to the City of Brotherly Love to bring home a title. His postseason success will be ranked among the most notable in NFL history, consistently finding ways to win despite the odds stacked against him. 

In the end, Jacksonville’s decision to play Foles cost them a season. Losing three straight, the best they can hope for is Minshew takes them to a .500 record and ends the year showing he can be the future. He finished with 147 yards, a touchdown, and an interception Sunday afternoon. 

But the problem remains that Jacksonville paid Foles $88 million to be the starter. Even if the team releases him at the end of the season, the 30-year-old will have made nearly $34 million for less than 1,000 yards and three touchdowns. 

If you do the math, it’s $11.3 million per trip to the end zone. And you still wonder why bad teams remain bad. 


Anybody else just tired? Listen guys, with it being the start of the fourth quarter for the 2019 campaign, your boy is tired. The nights are long, days never seem to end and weather in Texas is moodier than a person who didn’t get enough likes on their Instagram post — I’m sure I just called someone out here right now. 

Either way, let’s get this Two Minute Warning started by talking quarterbacks since that’s the subject of conversation this week. Two rookies made their starting debuts while two veterans handed the NFL’s most decorated player his only two losses of the season. 

Time for a lesson children. 

Lock Locked In 

For being known as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play, John Elway struggles to find a guy who’s good. Ever since Peyton Manning hoisted the Lombardi Trophy, the Broncos haven’t been able to find their franchise quarterback. From Paxton Lynch to Trevor Semien and now Joe Flacco, Denver’s season is over due to the lack of a pocket passer. 

That could all change next season should Drew Lock continue his success. The former Missouri quarterback seemed a likely piece to Elway’s draft class according to multiple rumors a season ago. Selected in the second round, Broncos coach Vic Fangio stated they would not rush to play Lock this season. In Week 13, they finally felt ready to do so. 

Known for his arm strength, Lock threw for 143 yards and two touchdowns on his way to a 23-20 win against the Chargers. In the first quarter, he delivered a 26-yard touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton that was a tad underthrown. The former Tiger would also throw his first career interception. 

“I think there’s promise there,” Fangio told reporters. “Not ready put him in Canton yet.” 

Lock played like a rookie against a team that should be better than advertised. Several throws impressed, others were rushed and the rest was average at best. An 18-for-28 line isn’t something to snark at. 

The young quarterback did enough to prove he should be the starter the remainder of the season. With Denver out of the playoff equation, it’s about seeing if Lock is the future or needs to be left in the past. Elway traded up in the second to draft a player he believes can be the future. 

He better pray Lock is the answer or the once-great quarterback could be done evaluating that position.  

The Super Brady Bash Bros. 

Brady and New England will always be considered playoff contenders. The defense is making strides as one of the league’s top units while their schedule seems to play into their favor. The Patriots currently sit at 10-2 with games remaining against the lowly Bengals and Dolphins over the next four weeks.

Who led the charge in the two losses? Houston’s Deshaun Watson and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson; both whom should be considered front-runners for the MVP award heading into the final weeks of the season. 

Watson dazzled for the Texans Sunday night against New England in the team’s 28-22 victory. The third-year quarterback would throw for 234 yards, three touchdowns and score one on a trick played designed by De’Andre Hopkins and Duke Johnson. 

Don’t let the stat line fool you; Brady struggled early, throwing for a sub-150 and interception in the first half. 

Jackson demolished New England’s defense with his dual-threat capability. The former Heisman winner rushed for 61 yards, threw for 163 and collected three touchdowns on the way to a 37-20 victory. Brady once again fell short, throwing an interception and being sacked twice. 

The NFL is changing with Watson and Jackson leading the charge. New England is proving to be vulnerable should Brady struggle early. Although the face of the NFL for nearly two decades, both young quarterbacks could take over the league and become the next great rivalry.      

In reality, Houston likely loses to New England on the road in a playoff game. The same argument can’t be made for Baltimore.

Duck for the Pittsburgh Dynasty? 

When Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin announced that Devlin Hodges would be taking over as the starter, reporters wonder why Mason Rudolph wasn’t an option. 

“He didn’t kill us,” Tomlin said. 

Following the 20-13 victory against the Cleveland Browns, Tomlin responded the same way when speaking of Hodges transition. In his second start, the rookie known as the “duck whisperer” completed 14 of 21 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown. Now, Pittsburgh is sitting at 7-5 with a legitimate chance to make a postseason push. 

And while Rudolph doesn’t look to be the long-term plan, could Hodges enter into the equation? 

It’s hard to imagine a quarterback who is better known as a duck-calling champion to also be the starter on one of football’s most legendary teams. Then again, the team has won two straight under his direction and Ben Roethlisberger isn’t getting any younger. 

The connection between Hodges and Washington continues to improve as the pair finished yesterday with 111 yards and a touchdown. Should he grow it with James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster, that’s progress in the right direction. 

Hodges has put the Steelers in position to win. Well, Hodges and Tomlin, who should be in the running for Coach of the Year after Sunday’s victory. The Steelers were left out to try following Roethlisberger’s injury. Instead of trading for a veteran guy, they went to a quarterback they trusted already on their roster. 

Imagine if they would have gone to Hodges from the start. It’s too soon to call him the future, but he’s the guy moving forward. 

Russ and the Race for MVP

Even when down, you can’t count out Russell Wilson. With momentum against the Seattle Seahawks heading into halftime, it was time for potentially the front-runner for the MVP race to strut his stuff. Jackson and Watson both delivered over the weekend.

If Jackson still has the lead, Wilson is should be right at 1A or 1B following his second-half success. 

Wilson dominated against Minnesota late to give Seattle the victory over the Vikings on Monday night. Finishing with 276 and two touchdowns, the veteran quarterback carried his team to the top of the NFC West standings and a potential first-round playoff bye. As for perfect throws, his 60-yard touchdown pass to David Moore in the third quarter sums up the leap he took back into the first place of voters. 

Many have considered Wilson among the league’s elite quarterbacks. 2019 solidified the statement for all to follow. Now, with over 3,000 passing yards and 26 touchdowns on the year, Wilson leads the league in scores. He has carried Seattle back into the top spot of the division and likely will be the X-factor come playoff time. 

Jackson defeated Seattle earlier this season. That was partially due to the success of Baltimore’s defense pressuring Wilson. Since their Week 7 loss, Seattle has been undefeated and thrived on offense.

Great quarterbacks define a team and Wilson is that. For a player who has never received an MVP vote, expect him to be the reason Seattle is considered perhaps the top team in the NFC. 

Also, shoutout to Seahawks Twitter for the tweet of the season because, yes, just everything about this is perfect. Please get this to 33K people. 

Parting Shots

10.) For the Derrius Guice believers out there, thank you for remaining on the bandwagon. The former LSU standout rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns in Washington’s victory over Carolina. After being marred by injuries, the Redskins could have their lead back of the future. 

Now just remain healthy, dude. 

9.) I’m done believing that DeVante Parker is ever going to change things around in his career permanently. That said, he had a solid game against the Philadelphia Eagles, making seven catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns. 

Seriously though, let’s not fall for it again.

8.) And the greatest touchdown of the season goes to…really, the Dolphins? You know what, yeah, that actually makes a ton of sense given the way this year has gone. 

7.) Oh Ryan Tannehill doubters, time to show your faces! On Sunday the “washed up” Dolphins quarterback led the Titans to a 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Tannehill finished with 182 yards and two touchdowns. 

Since he’s taken over for Marcus Mariota, the Titans are now 5-1 and looking like a postseason competitor. 

6.) Someone reported earlier this week that Cowboys WR Amari Cooper wants to leave Dallas. He ended those rumors Monday. 

In all seriousness, Jerry Jones is about to lose his mind so Cooper walking might be a better course of action for the wide receiver. 

5.) Remember when Odell Beckham Jr. was supposed to be the game-changing acquisition of the offseason by the Cleveland Browns. This season, the former Giants standout has recorded only two 100-yard games and is under the triple-digit mark for the sixth straight week. That’s the longest of his career. 

4.) Let’s continue to pile it on for the Detroit Lions as they lose another piece to their offense. The team announced that tight end TJ Hockenson would go to the injured reserve, officially ending his season. Hockenson battled multiple injuries this season, which isn’t his fault but man, please don’t run another tight end Detroit. 


3.) Sometimes it’s nice to see special moments. On Sunday, Adrian Peterson, one of the game’s greatest running backs, left a special message for Chrisitan McCaffrey, one of the rising backs in the league. 

2.) Jon Gruden says a ton of weird things, and Sunday was no different. 

Let’s be real; he needed a ton of courage to speak from the heart about the fact he doesn’t have a brain with this analogy. 

1.) Justin Tucker might be the biggest dork in the NFL and I’m all for it. 

Cole Thompson is the Lead NFL writer for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter at @MrColeThompson.

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