The Jacksonville Jaguars will be participating in a glorified practice/scrimmage tonight at 6 PM, inside of TIAA Bank Field in front of the fanbase.
So far during training camp, the Jaguars have looked solid all-around. There have been very few “down” practices and they seemingly have gotten better even from last season. Winning the Super Bowl has always been the goal for this squad and that much is evident. So, for now, we will look at the three things to watch for during tonight’s scrimmage in preparation for the 2018 season.
1. Blake Bortles’s progression this season: Blake Bortles will always be in the spotlight for the Jaguars as well as their fans. After signing his three year, $54 million contract extension this offseason, fans hope for improved, consistent play, and I believe so far this training camp they have been rewarded with just that. He has only thrown three interceptions in team drills through seven days of camp.
If the Jaguars QB can continue to impress during the preseason/training camp it could mean a lot for their 2018 projection. If Bortles can continue to make the leaps he should, the Jaguars will be in a great position to compete in the playoffs once again. Look for who Bortles favorties as targets during the “scrimmage” portion of the event, such as rookie receiver D.J. Chark and new tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
2. Rookie impact: Much has been made about the Jaguars’ rookie impact this offseason as well as in training camp. So far, we have seen impressive play from 2nd round draft pick D.J. Chark, 1st round pick Taven Bryan, and a surprise, 7th round pick Leon Jacobs. Look for where Chark lines up, and how much playing time he gets with the starters. So far this training camp he has been able to make impressive grabs, including over All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey. If he continues to play well, we could see him impact the game in more of simply a “field stretcher”.
Leon Jacobs is another rookie to keep a close eye on. For right now he has received most of the starting reps at the SAM linebacker position, filling the void left by Myles Jack as he makes his move to MLB following Posulzney’s retirement. If he is healthy, he is one of the rookies I would watch very closely. The SAM position battle is likely to be determined during the preseason. Another rookie to keep an eye on besides those three would be punter Logan Cooke. Cooke has taken over the starting punting position from Brad Nortman who the Jaguars cut directly after the draft.
3. Key position battles: Two positions to keep a close eye on during the event besides the SAM linebacker position are depth cornerback and the sixth wide receiver spot. Currently, there are several players competing including Tyler Patmon, who has impressed lately in training camp, 2nd-year player Jalen Myrick and rookies Quenton Meeks and Tre Herndon. Meeks and Herndon has been turning heads, making several impressive interceptions and pass breakups during camp.
The other battle is for the sixth receiver spot. This battle is between Shane Wynn, Jaydon Mickens, Rashad Greene, and undrafted rookie Allen Lazard. Depending on whether or not the Jaguars wish to hold six wide receivers on the active roster, this player could also be the punt returner. Both Mickens and Greene have proven in the past to be very impressive punt returners, however, neither has been consistent enough to ensure a spot on the roster. If Dede Westbrook shows to be a more than competent punt returner the Jaguars could end up keeping only five receivers in Chark, Marqise Lee, Donte Moncrief, Keelan Cole, and Westbrook. Wynn is my dark-horse favorite to win the battle.
In conclusion, the Jaguars will wrap up most of the training camp activities this week heading into preseason with a showing in front of thousands of fans at TIAA Bank Field. There are plenty of storylines to follow, but none more important than Blake Bortles’s progression. Without this, the team could regress from their 10-6 record last year. However, if this offseason is any indication, I wouldn’t worry about that..
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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