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Jacksonville Jaguars

Dante Fowler Jr. suspension gives Taven Bryan an early chance to flash

Zach Goodall

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Jun 14, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Taven Bryan (90) walks to the field during mini camp at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars’ backup defensive end and former third overall pick Dante Fowler Jr. was slapped with a one-game suspension on Friday afternoon for a battery incident in the summer of 2017, per Mike Kaye of First Coast News.

This isn’t news that Fowler Jr. could possibly have wanted to hear, as the team declined his fifth-year option earlier this year. He is facing a prove-it season in 2018, with a second contract in Jacksonville on the line — missing time, even one game, due to a suspension doesn’t help his case.

It does, however, give another former Florida Gator-turned- Jacksonville Jaguar an early chance to shine.

Taven Bryan, the Jaguars’ first round selection in this year’s draft, undoubtebly has a big role in the team’s defense ahead of him, but with such a star-studded group of defensive linemen already on the roster, his career could start a little slow. Before the Fowler Jr. suspension, it was easy to assume Bryan would start the year with minimal game-time reps and work his way up as the season goes on and/or injuries begin to affect the team.

Now, Bryan has a chance to make an impact early, and demand more playing time out the gate.

While Fowler Jr. isn’t a starter, he plays a significant role in the Jaguars’ pass rush. He was on the field for 44.83% of the Jaguars’ defensive snaps in 2017, where he accumulated eight sacks, per ProFootballReference.com.

Fowler Jr. saw a lot of his snaps on third down in obvious passing situations. He would often play opposite of weakside-defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, the team’s primary pass rushing-end. This speed-rush subpackage pushed Calais Campbell inside to defensive tackle opposite of Malik Jackson, with Marcell Dareus and Abry Jones receiving inside reps as well.

With the interior having solid depth in the team’s, for lack of a better term, “lightning package” (a Gus Bradley expression”, someone will need to fill in Fowler Jr.’s role in week one against the New York Giants.

Enter Bryan.

Now, being this is only one game and it will be Bryan’s first professional regular season game, he certainly may not look polished. However, he will almost certainly see an increase in snaps in the defensive line rotation, and since he has reportedly been receiving time at defensive end during the team’s offseason, it would only make sense to see Bryan acquire what would be Fowler Jr.’s lightning-package role at defensive end.

Bryan would be getting a big chance to flash the skillset that got him drafted in the first round. Despite a low sack count of 5.5 at the University of Florida, Bryan had a killer first-step off the line as a pass rusher. He would bully offensive lineman with a mix of speed and power out of his stance, and find ways to disrupt passing plays more than the stat-sheet ever exemplified.

Dante Fowler Jr.’s suspension isn’t an huge blow to the defense for their game against the Giants. However, this may be a small blessing in disguise for Bryan. If he can take advantage of Fowler Jr.’s absence in a pure pass-rushing role, Bryan could force the team to feed him more snaps early on, and cement a big role in the Jaguars’ fearsome pass-rushing attack.

If Bryan receives Fowler Jr.’s snaps and flashes the skillset that the team drafted him for, he could be a major factor in the “lightning package” going forward.

Zach Goodall covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for the Locked On Jaguars podcast and website. Follow him on Twitter @zach_goodall.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars Activate Tackle Josh Wells, Release Niles Paul from IR

Demetrius Harvey

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Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have made a couple more roster moves this Friday after releasing Strong Safety Barry Church. The Jaguars have finally activated Tackle Josh Wells. Wells was placed on short-term injured reserve after week five with a groin injury.

This move comes at an opportune time as the Jaguars will be without Right Tackle Jermey Parnell. Wells will more than likely start at Right Tackle this week against the Redskins.

The Jaguars have also released Niles Paul from injured reserve, signed Lyndon Johnson from the teams practice squad, and placed OL Josh Walker on injured reserve.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars vs. Redskins: Friday Injury Report, Parnell Out, Lambo in Doubt

Demetrius Harvey

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Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Washington Redskins have released their Friday final status/injury report of the week ahead of their week fifteen matchup at TIAA Bank Field. For the Jaguars, they will be without Jermey Parnell, D.J. Chark, and Josh Walker.

All three players are listed as out with various injuries. The Jaguars have a move they could potentially make in activating Tackle Josh Wells who has been practicing the past couple of weeks. D.J. Chark will miss his fourth consecutive game making his rookie season disappointing in the end, unfortunately.

The other major area of concern is kicker Josh Lambo being listed as Questionable. A little later in the day, the Jaguars signed Kicker Kai Forbath which suggests he will probably be out this Sunday against the Redkins. We will revisit this on Sunday when the inactive players are released.

Below are both teams status reports:

JAGUARS:

WR D.J. Chark Jr. (Quadricep): Out

RT Jermey Parnell (Knee): Out

OL Josh Walker (Ankle): Out

LB Lerentee McCray (Illness): Questionable

K Josh Lambo (Right Groin): Questionable

REDSKINS:

LB Ryan Anderson (Hamstring): Out

TE Jordan Reed (Ankle/Foot): Out

WR Josh Doctson (Concussion): Questionable

DE Matt Ioannidis (Shin): Questionable

OT Ty Neskhe (Knee): Questionable

OT Mogan Moses (Ankle): Questionable

LS Nick Sundberg (Back): Questionable

S Monte Nicholson (Illness): Questionable

RB Chris Thompson (Illness): Questionable

The Redskins have a much more lengthy status report than the Jaguars which is remarkable given how the Jaguars injuries have gone this season. Washington will be without at least a couple of starters including their starting Linebacker and Tight End. They also more than likely will be without a starting wide receiver in Josh Doctson.

Their Long Snapper Nick Sundberg has a high possibility of missing the game this Sunday as well because of a back injury. They have brought in a few long snappers to work out in the event he is not able to go.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars sign Kicker Kai Forbath in Wake of Josh Lambo Injury

Demetrius Harvey

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Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have made a roster move in wake of the Josh Lambo right-groin injury. They have signed former Redskins and Vikings Kicker Kai Forbath. Forbath has a career FG% of 85.9% which is at the very least respectable in a league where kickers seem to be missing routine kicks daily now.

With Lambo potentially out the Jaguars were forced into a move. This could always be more of a cautionary move in the case Lambo does not play, but generally speaking, if a team signs a kicker near the end of the week it is not a good sign. We will see what happens when the last injury report comes out.

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