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Jacksonville Jaguars

FILM ROOM: What will the Jaguars offense look like with QB Nick Foles?

Zach Goodall

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Dec 30, 2018; Landover, MD, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) throws a touchdown pass against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In case you live under a rock and missed it, the Jacksonville Jaguars have agreed to terms with free agent quarterback Nick Foles on a four year, $88 million contract with $50.1 million in guarantees. Jacksonville has landed their franchise quarterback.

Considering this news combined with the hiring of John DeFilippo, Foles’ old QB coach from their 2017 season with the Philadelphia Eagles, there’s been plenty of speculation in regards to what style of offense the Jaguars will run in 2019 and beyond.

Simply put: Don’t expect much change when it comes to pass-game schematics and concepts.

Philadelphia flashed a lot of different concepts with run-pass options and plenty of shotgun sets with Foles taking snaps, but when it came to scheming passing plays up, there were plenty West Coast principles being utilized to mesh with Foles’ strengths in the short-to-intermediate levels of the field. The Jaguars ran similar concepts with Blake Bortles over the past two years, but his lack of accuracy, timing, and smart decision-making made even the simple plays hard to bring to fruition.

According to Pro Football Focus, in his 12 regular season games with the Eagles over the past two seasons, Foles completed 157/192 (81.8%) of his passes to targets behind the line of scrimmage up to 10 yards past it. On those throws, Foles has collected 1140 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions.

The Jaguars mainly ran West Coast passing concepts to simplify the offense in order for Bortles to refrain from turning the ball over significantly. They frequently ran mesh route combinations to scheme a receiver open across the short middle of the field, and outside receivers rans a good mix of slants, curls, flat routes and in-routes to get the ball out of Bortles’ hands quickly.

There was some drop off, but Foles also produced decently when targeting the intermediate level of the playing field, which raises the ceiling of where the Jaguars offense can go in it’s current scheme. In the same time frame, Foles completed 33/60 (55%) of his passes between 10-20 yards removed from the line of scrimmage for 499 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. His favorite zone was the intermediate-middle, where Foles went 21/33 (63.6%) for 320 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

This comfort with going beyond the low zones and into the intermediate area of the field, specifically in between the hashes, will force defenses to drop players deeper into coverage and lessen the box, which allows Jacksonville to spread things out and trust Foles to make good decisions with the ball. That comfort level is something the team didn’t have with Blake Bortles under center, and it allows the Jaguars to expand upon the schematics that they already have built their offense around.

Where Foles seemed to struggle on paper was going 20+ yards down the field, where he completed only 8/29 passes (27.6%) of his deep balls for 311 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Now, on film, Foles has flashed solid accuracy on deep balls, but he doesn’t put it together consistently.

However, neither Philadelphia nor Jacksonville run a vertical-heavy offense, so this isn’t necessarily a huge issue. Foles’ most consistent deep ball came in the middle of the field, going 4/10 (40%) for 186 yards and a touchdown. Naturally, QBs tend to throw fewer completions the deeper they throw, and averaging 46.5 yards per deep-middle completion means there will be opportunity for big plays every now and again with Foles at the helm. There won’t be many deep throws coming from Nick Foles, but when there is, expect the majority to come on seams and posts.

All in all, Foles is an accurate passer who has found success in the same level of the field that the Jaguars had Bortles targeting, so it’s hard to expect the Jaguars to drastically change their style. While the Jaguars very well might incorporate more RPOs and shotgun sets with advances in reading the defense pre-snap, the route combinations and responsibilites of the quarterback post snap – with timing, accuracy, and smart decision making – should remain the same or very similar.

Now, the run game is currently up in the air. Running back Leonard Fournette is expected to have a bounce-back season following a largely disappointing 2018 campaign, but it’d be surprising if the Jaguars didn’t prioritize a pass-catching running back at some point, whether that be in the rest of free agency or the draft. In 2018, Philadelphia’s running backs combined for 77 receptions in a similar style of passing offense, so finding a replacement for T.J. Yeldon (55 receptions in 2018) will be crucial. However, considering the Jaguars will likely stick with a similar pass-game philosophy, odds are they’ll stick with the power-run game as well.

Foles offers a higher ceiling than Bortles to operate in a timing and accuracy-based offense with the ability to hit throws beyond the short field, but at the same time, the short field is his bread and butter. In which case, the Jaguars aren’t forced to totally re-design the style of passing offense they will run with Foles, because they already utilized those same concepts with Bortles under center.

Foles will just do them better.

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 to open seven training camp practices to fans in 2019

Demetrius Harvey

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Jul 26, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark (17) signs autographs during training camp at the Dream Finder Homes practice facility outside of TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced today they will be opening seven practices during training camp to the public. The first four training camp practices will be open to the public. Practice on Saturday, July 27, is open exclusively to Jags365 Season Ticket Members and is scheduled for 8:45 a.m.

The team’s first practice in full pads will also be open to fans on Sunday, July 28 at 8:45 a.m. All seven of the Jaguars’ Florida Blue open practices are scheduled to take place at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex on the northwest corner of TIAA Bank Field.

2019 JAGUARS OPEN TRAINING CAMP PRACTICES

Thursday, July 25 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Friday, July 26 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Saturday, July 27 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m. Open exclusively to Jags 365 Season Ticket Members
Sunday, July 28 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Tuesday, July 30 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Wednesday, July 31 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Thursday, August 1 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.

Fans are required to register here for each training camp session and tickets will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis. Gates will open to fans at 8:15 a.m., 30 minutes prior to the start of practice.

Parking is available in Lots M and N, and concessions and merchandise will be available for purchase on-site Limited player autograph availability will occur following each practice.

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53 Man Roster

Jaguars 2019 position group breakdown: Running Backs

Brandon Carroll

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Dec 23, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) runs down the field during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Similar to their quarterback situation, the Jacksonville Jaguars have attempted to answer some questions in terms of the run game in this year’s offseason. Jacksonville went through a full remodel in an attempt to add veteran presence that can sustain the ground attack if injury strikes the team yet again in 2019. 

Two years ago, the Jaguars were a team that led the NFL in rushing at 527 attempts throughout the regular season. Nearly 50 carries ahead of any other team in the league. On those 527 attempted the Jaguars saw heights in production not seen since the Maurice Jones-Drew. 

That production staggered in yardage and overall sustainability of the offense with their lackluster quarterback play last season. This was all due to the injuries of star running back Leonard Fournette and the majority of the offensive line. Without Fournette, the Jaguars only accumulated half the yardage in 2018 Fournette produced in 2017 with T.J. Yeldon and Carlos Hyde leading the affair. 

Being a strong part of the offensive system, the Jaguars win total saw a sharp decrease and the team swagger that carried them to the 2017 AFC playoffs had vanished.

Jacksonville looked to replenish their running back room and get back to the strong, effective run game they saw in 2017 that made them so successful. 

Adding Alfred Blue, Benny Cunningham, Thomas Rawls and more through free agency, as well as, drafting former Temple running back, Ryquell Armstead the Jaguars made a good move in adding reliable to back up Fournette in the backfield. 

Projected Running Back Depth Chart:
*italicized indicates starter, underline indicates picked up via draft/free agency
Leonard Fournette, Alfred Blue, Benny Cunningham, Ryquell Armstead.

Leading the pack coming into 2019 is Leonard Fournette. Fournette is a player that has all the major attributes to be a star player in the NFL if he could just stay healthy. Fournette missed eight games last season and seven due to injury which caused the Jaguars offense to stall in his absence. 

He is a player that combines strong downhill running with game-breaking speed. Abilities not many can combine nevertheless replace. He is a generational talent who looks to return to his rookie form in 2019. 

Fournette looks to be getting back on track this season and “refocused on football.” Him being able to stay on the field will be a huge plus for a Jaguars team that has struggled offensively for many years. 

The next two players on the depth chart are veteran backs Alfred Blue and Benny Cunningham. 

Blue being a signee from the Houston Texans roster and an experienced back who knows how to get yardage necessary to sustain drives. While receiving very little touches in the Houston offense he played the backup role well and was a reliable source of receiving out of the backfield.

Blue will be used more as a third-down back in the Jaguars offense. 

The same goes for Cunningham. Coming over from the Bears, which last season saw two top-caliber running backs in Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen sharing carries, Cunningham got lost in the shuffle. Cunningham is a great receiving threat out of the backfield and can play solid minutes in his role on his new team. 

Having two players that can play roles, and play them well is vital for any team in the NFL. Taking fatigue and potential injury into account getting Cunningham and Blue was one of the more important moves the Jaguars made this offseason. The Jaguars acquired two reliable backs for new quarterback Nick Foles to work with on downs where Fournette is not in the game. 

Next on the team’s depth chart is the Jaguars 2019 fifth-round pick out of Temple, Ryquell Armstead. In his senior year, Armstead scored 13 touchdowns and averaged nearly 6.5 yards per carry. Armstead’s progression through his college career was a sight to see. After starting his career as a bulkier strong runner, Armstead slimmed down to become a more complete back and utilized his opportunity at Temple to make it to the NFL. 

Posting 2,987 yards and 34 touchdowns over his career, Armstead looks to carry on those impressive numbers at the next level. Armstead is a runner with great field vision and patience behind the line of scrimmage. He bursts through the open hole and is willing to lower the shoulder to gain extra yardage. Armstead says that he models his game after former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs. 

He describes himself as an angry runner. “I run angry, I run violent. I look for contact— that’s something that makes me unique.” Armstead stated in an interview with CBS sports. 

The type of physical running Armstead brings to the table is something the Jaguars have had success within recent memory. That willingness to create contact and run hard for his team to succeed is an attribute any team would love to have with their running back. 

A player that very strongly resembles Leonard Fournette in terms of running style was a guy the Jaguars looked at as a potential steal in the fifth round. An aggressive, one-cut runner who can run over opponents or bounce it to the outside and take off down the sideline. 

Armstead had the second-fastest time in the 40-yard dash among eligible running backs at the 2019 NFL combine at 4.49 seconds. Being a player with blazing speed mixed with a downhill running style, Armstead could see minutes directly behind Fournette later in the season. Armstead is an intriguing prospect but his development as a pass-catcher out of the backfield will need to improve for him to solidify the playing time this season. 

While the Jaguars have many running backs on the roster, all of them cannot stay. Unless there is a huge jump of progression when training camp starts later in the month, Thomas Rawls and Taj McGowan have very little shot of making the team. 

After last season, the Jaguars have done whatever it takes to assure they have depth at this position. Being able to provide multiple sources of production is important for any team. By providing this depth, the Jaguars hope it can get the job done and they can return to the success seen in the running game just two seasons ago. 

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Jacksonville Jaguars

REPORT: Jaguars to sign former WVU WR Marcus Simms

Demetrius Harvey

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Oct 13, 2018; Ames, IA, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Marcus Simms (8) runs the football against the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have made a roster move signing former West Virginia WR Marcus Simms according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Simms was slated to participate in the supplemental draft after filing the paperwork on June 20th.

Simms will make for interesting competition for the Jaguars as we inch closer to training camp. Simms accumulated 87 receptions for 1457 yards and eight touchdowns in his three-year career at West Virginia. Simms has also made his name known in the return game totaling 992 yards as a kick returner. According to reports, Simms ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4-4.49 seconds, with a vertical jump of 36″, a broad jump of 10-2 and three-cone time of 6.91 seconds. After his physical tomorrow, the Jaguars will have to make a corresponding move.

Simms will look to compete for a bottom-of-the-roster position with players such as Terrelle Pryor and Keelan Cole. If the Jaguars intend on retaining six receivers Simms will have a good shot at making the roster. By all accounts, Simms was a draftable player.

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