The Jaguars had their last training camp practice before the annual team scrimmage at the Dream Finders Home Practice Complex today, with the preseason on the team’s doorstep.
Quarterback Blake Bortles had an improved day compared to his Day 6 outing, making several impressive tosses as well as several less accurate throws. Like the past several practices, rookie receiver D.J. Chark continued to make his name known all over the field. Linebacker Leon Jacobs and tight end Niles Paul returned to the field after missing yesterday’s workout, with receiver Donte Moncrief on the side of the field for the fifth straight day.
How did the rest of the team perform? Let’s get to the observations.
Bortles bouncs back, despite stat line
All in all, quarterback Blake Bortles had a solid bounce-back performance after his two-interception showing on Wednesday. While his 10-of-23 stat line is far from great, Bortles started to let the ball loose down the field a little more today.
His best throw came in team drills on an outside go-route to receiver Keelan Cole, with Jalen Ramsey in coverage. Bortles let it fly off of his back foot, placing the ball perfectly on the outside for Cole to go up and grab with Ramsey in tight coverage. According to Mike Kaye of First Coast News, Bortles also had a beautiful deep connection on a pass to Dede Westbrook, with Ramsey and safety Barry Church in coverage.
Cody Kessler went 8-12 on the reps I watched. With Tanner Lee throwing another interception, which is almost becoming a day-to-day tradition, Kessler seems locked in as this team’s backip QB.
Chark Week continues
Another day, another impressive showing by rookie receiver D.J. Chark.
After his strong Day 6 practice where he beat Ramsey twice in on-on-one drills on top of two receptions in team, Chark followed up with two more catches in 11 v. 11’s. In the redzone, Kessler targeted Chark on a sharp corner route shy of the goal line, where Chark had to adjust his body and dive to make the reception in coverage. Chark’s ability to adjust to poorly placed passes was a strong suit of his at LSU, and he put that on full display during the rep.
Based on my tracking, I have Chark at 16 receptions through seven days of camp. His strongest routes to date have been the slant (4), post (3), and go (3).
Injury bug is going away
After small injuries took a toll on the team over the past week, most of the team was fully padded and participating on the field today. After the return of defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and receiver Marqise Lee yesterday, tight end Niles Paul (hamstring) and linebacker Leon Jacobs (undisclosed) were full participants in practice today.
WR Donte Moncrief (ankle) worked on the side of the field for the fifth day in a row, and DE Dante Fowler Jr. remains on the PUP list. Otherwise, the 90-man roster appears to be fully healthy as they head into the scrimmage and preseason.
-Running back Leonard Fournette is pleased with the growth of the offense from year one to year two in Nate Hackett’s system. He praised their communication thus far in camp during his press conference:
— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) August 2, 2018
-Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue noted the growth of left tackle Cam Robinson in comparison to the lineman’s rookie camp last year in his press conference. The pass rusher mentioned that Robinson is giving him multiple pass sets rather than the one he repeated through camp in 2017. Ngakoue stated that he is going to “Make [Robinson] the best left tackle in the league”, and that he doesn’t hold back against the second year lineman.
-CB Tyler Patmon got WR Shane Wynn back in team drills today after Wynn beat him twice in a row during one-on-ones yesterday. Patmon made an athletic, leaping pass breeakup on an endzone corner route to the 5-6 receiver in Wynn, on what was a perfectly placed ball. Unlike yesterday however, the winner of the drill didn’t give the loser an ear-full:
Some fire from Jaguars WR Shane Wynn. Beat CB Tyler Patmon in 1-on-1 drills twice for TDs. Wynn spun the ball at Patmon’s feet after the first catch and spiked at Patmon after the second catch.
— Michael DiRocco (@ESPNdirocco) August 1, 2018
-On top of Chark’s impressive camp to date, second year receivers Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook have strung together productive camps. Cole stands at 13 catches, with four on slants, two go’s, two curls, two digs, two screens, and one comeback. For Westbrook, I have him tallied at eight receptions, with four digs, two go’s, and two slants.
Jaguars Release Jamaal Charles, Promote Linebacker DeLuca
The Jacksonville Jaguars have released running back Jamaal Charles after trading for Carlos Hyde and have promoted Linebacker Nick DeLuca. Charles was brought in to be a change of pace back for the Jaguars after placing Corey Grant on season-ending injured reserve.
The Jaguars traded for Carlos Hyde last week making Charles expendable. Charles accounted for 7 yards on 6 caries for the Jaguars. He also added two catches for seven yards. Running back Leonard Fournette has not been ruled out to play this week either and will travel with the team to London according to Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone.
Nick DeLuca is a rookie linebacker from NDSU. He was signed to the practice squad earlier in the season and has now been promoted due to the injury to linebacker Donald Payne. Payne will be out at least a couple of weeks with a knee injury.
We have promoted rookie LB @N_DeLuca49 to the 53-man active roster from the practice squad.
To make room on the roster, we released 11th-year RB Jamaal Charles. pic.twitter.com/OmiHd2wtvZ
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) October 22, 2018
Editorial: The Jacksonville Jaguars have nailed their own coffin
In electing to stick with Blake Bortles as their starting quarterback, despite benching him for a poor performance against the Texans and watching his backup Cody Kessler vastly outperform him in the same game, the Jacksonville Jaguars have nailed their own coffin.
Now sitting at a 3-4 record, on a three game losing streak, and in third place in the AFC South (the Titans own the tiebreaker for second place), it was clearly time for change to get this ship steered in the correct direction. Just seven weeks aggo, this Jaguars team was viewed as a potential Super Bowl contender. Right now, this team is projected to pick in the first half of the 2019 NFL Draft.
And they can’t blame anyone but themselves at this point.
“We can’t do s**t until we stop turning the ball over. Period. That’s just how it is,” head coach Doug Marrone said following the loss to the Texans. “…the first thing we’ve got to do is stop turning the damn ball over.”
In three consecutive games, the latest of which he barely played past halftime, Bortles has eight turnovers of his own: Five interceptions and three fumbles.
“I spoke to both quarterbacks this afternoon and told them that Blake will be our team’s quarterback. I believe this gives us the best opportunity to win,” Marrone stated in a release from the team after Bortles was named the team’s starter going forward.
In a 24 hour period, Marrone has stated that, while turnovers are the Jaguars biggest issue, the player who is responsible for countless amounts of turnovers gives the team the best chance to win football games. That is the message that is being sent to this team, and the Jaguars fan base.
And the team isn’t happy. Star cornerback Jalen Ramsey was quoted saying “It is no secret what’s going on here right now. Ain’t nobody going to say it because we can’t, but it ain’t no secret what’s going on and it ain’t right right now,” after the loss to the Texans. Given the circumstances, it’s hard to assume this was shade thrown at the quarterback situation.
Ramsey deleted a post of him and Bortles shaking hands on the field from his Instagram this morning.
Defensive tackle Abry Jones put the responsibility of the offenses deficiencies on the defense, quoted saying “We can’t let them [opposing offenses] score at all.”
The Jaguars have chosen to be complacent, and in doing so, this season will continue to plummet. The confidence is low heading into London this week, and the Eagles pass rush should have an easy job forcing Bortles into more poor decisions as this Jaguars team appears to be on track to a 3-5 record at their bye week.
This team was supposed go contend this year. At one point in September, the Jaguars had single digit odds to win the Super Bowl. But that is all in the rearview mirror, as the Jaguars have nailed their own coffin in naming Blake Bortles the starting quarterback of a team that is already beginning to implode.
Jaguars announce Blake Bortles will remain the starting QB
24 hours removed from his first career benching, where he was clearly outplayed by his own backup in a 20-7 loss to the Houston Texans, Blake Bortles has been named the starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars for Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles in London, per the team.
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone announced in a statement: “I spoke to both quarterbacks this afternoon and told them that Blake will be our team’s quarterback. I believe this gives us the best opportunity to win.”
This comes under two hours removed from Marrone saying he had made his decision already but planned on addressing the team before releasing that information to the public. Bortles was benched after committing two turnovers against the Texans on Sunday, and Kessler completed 21/30 passes for 156 yards, a touchdown and an interception in his place.
Bortles has committed eight turnovers in the past three weeks.
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