What equips Nick Foles to be a successful deep passer? John DeFilippo explains

John Shipley

When fans think of Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles and the plays that have defined his career up to this point, they likely think of one specific thing: throwing it deep. 

Even in only 11 snaps as the Jaguars' starting quarterback this season, Foles has dazzled with his deep ball accuracy and ability to stretch the field. For instance, the last pass he has thrown in a regular season game was a 35-yard bomb to DJ Chark in the corner of the end zone in Week 1, a perfectly placed pass to get Jacksonville within a field goal of the Kansas City Chiefs.

On Wednesday, Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich completely raved about Foles' ability to sling the ball down the field, noting that he thinks Foles is one of the true elite deep passers in the NFL. 

From an ability to change his arm angles to staying tough in the pocket under pressure, Reich said Foles has the traits needed to excel at a high level when attacking a defense vertically. 

Jaguars' offensive coordinator John DeFilippo shared many of those same sentiments when JaguarMaven asked him about Foles' ability to throw deep during his Thursday press conference. And the main reason why DeFilippo thinks Foles is so money on some deep passes? His cannon of an arm.

“Number one I think his arm talent obviously. [His] God-given arm talent is fantastic," DeFilippo said. "And guys have a knack for judging angles and speeds of receivers, and I think Nick has a great, great judgment of that. I mean, that’s not easy to do."

Foles' physical stature likely also plays a role in his ability to test defenses down the field, DeFilippo said, and a lot of it comes down to what he is seeing on the field. 

"A lot of times on deep balls the receiver or the tight end’s getting banged around a little bit, so you have to see the second level release on the defender," DeFilippo said. "And obviously I think being 6’5” and a half, or 6’6” helps a little bit, too, to be able to see that. But he does a great job of judging angles and judging speeds of his targets.”

But one thing many people don't think about when it comes to throwing the ball deep is trust. The quarterback has to trust in his receiver to make a play. He has to trust that testing a defense vertically won't come back to bite the team. As DeFilippo said Thursday, trust is a huge factor regardless of who is throwing it.

“It’s big, it’s big. As coaches we always talk about knowing your personnel, right? Well, that’s part of playing the quarterback position as well," DeFilippo said. "And knowing who’s going to go up and make a play for you. Knowing who’s, hey, if I underthrow this thing, the worst thing that’s going to happen is this target is going to go up and break the ball up for me and help me correct my – you know, maybe not the ball where I wanted it to be."

"So, I think him knowing his personnel goes back to relationships and getting to know people and knowing them on and off the field, DeFilippo continued. "I think that helps him have trust in his guys."