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Jacksonville Jaguars

Five areas the Jaguars must focus on during their bye week

Zach Goodall



Sep 23, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone yells to an official during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars are where no one expected them to be: Two games below .500 at the midway point of their 2018 season.

On a four game losing streak. With little-to-no hope of making the playoffs, less than a year removed from being 10 minutes from a Super Bowl.

However, this team is talented. This team has the ability to win as they proved in dramatic fashion in Weeks 2 and 4 against the Patriots and Jets. And in a not-so-strong AFC South, the Jaguars do have a chance to right the ship and get things rolling after their bye week to get back in contention.

What must they do on their week off to turn this thing around?

1. Utilize the phone lines before Tuesday’s trade dealine

With the majority of the Jaguars issues stemming from their lack of offensive production and consistency, GM Dave Caldwell needs to spend the next couple days on the phone.

The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, October 30th, at 4 P.M. And it’s supposed to be crazy, with several surprising trades that have already happened in the past couple of weeks. Considering the rumored available players remaining, including several intriguing offensive players, the Jaguars need to make some moves.

The team could make calls for quarterbacks, such as Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater and Browns QB Tyrod Taylor, if they believe giving starter Blake Bortles a three year extension this past offseason was a mistake. While it certainly looks like that contract was a mistake, the Jaguars have been stubborn on their belief in Bortles, going back to him as the starter most recently as last week after benching him for Cody Kessler against the Texans. So a QB trade probably isn’t overly likely, but there are options.

A trade for a receiver, tight end, or offensive lineman seems much more likely than a QB, and there are options at those positions as well. Dolphins WR DeVante Parker is rumored to be on the block, and after an impressive six catch, 134 yard game on Thursday night, the Dolphins phone lines have to be buzzing. Jacksonville has dealt with a ton of bad drops from receivers lately, namely from Keelan Cole and running back T.J. Yeldon, and could use a big-play target who doesn’t drop the ball like the Jaguars have been doing. Parker has three drops on his past 109 targets, dating back to the start of 2017.

Other options the Jaguars could look at on offense include a pair of Oakland Raiders players. The Raiders have completely gutted their roster this year and are selling players on all fronts, and it’s hard to count them out for more moves before the deadline. TE Jared Cook and OL Kelechi Osemele should be a priority for the Jaguars if they decide to call up Jon Gruden.

Cook is an aging, yet productive, tight end who would provide veteran expereince and pass-catching ability to the Jaguars remaining healthy tight ends, a group that is relatively unproven at the NFL level. Cook has 32 receptions for 400 yards and 2 TDs this season. He’d likely be a cheap trade option, as he is in the final year of a inexpensive contract.

Osemele is a Pro Bowl offensive lineman who has starting experience at every position except center, who can upgrade the left tackle position through the end of the year and finish out his contract at right guard by letting A.J. Cann walk in free agency, who has had an up-and-down career for the Jaguars.

2. Re-iterate the run game as the Jaguars offense’s identity

The Jaguars have made it known they want to run the ball consistently going back to when Doug Marrone was named head coach before last season.

So why have running backs received only 48 carries on 252 total offensive plays (19%)? What was the point of trading for Carlos Hyde, a guy the team tried desperately to get on the field less than 48 hours after trading for him last week, to only give him six carries in his debut? With multiple down-and-short scenarios that are the literal bread-and-butter plays for a power-run offense to convert with a power running back?

The Jaguars need to return to their identity, because throwing the ball 40+ times a game isn’t cutting it. Spending a draft pick on Carlos Hyde looks ridiculous if you aren’t going to use him and return to the “run-first” identity. Even with Leonard Fournette out due to his hamstring injury, the Jaguars have the ability to be a power-run team and use T.J. Yeldon as a change-of-pace back like what seems to be the “old days”, thus taking pressure off of the passing game and maybe being able to put more points on the board.

3. Move Linder to left tackle, play Shatley at center

Despite writing about this late last week, the idea of moving Brandon Linder to left tackle needs to be a priority during the bye week if the Jaguars don’t trade for a lineman.

Linder has received a vote of confidence from Marrone as a candidate to play left tackle in a pinch, as noted in the article, and Tyler Shatley has played very well as a reserve across the interior offensive line, specifically at center.

The bye week gives the Jaguars plenty of time to work Linder in at left tackle slowly so he can gain comfort dropping back as a pass protector, which would be the biggest difference in his blocking compared to center. Considering he’s a great interior pass protector, there should be hope he can do a better job outside as in pass blocking than Josh Walker has provided through four games. That also gives Shatley time to get in a groove with the first team offensive line, and the return should equal less pressure on the quarterback going forward.

4. Emphasize linebacker discipline in zone coverage

PFF stats were not updated through Week 8 by the time this article was posted, but the Jaguars linebackers have been miserable in zone coverage so far this year.

It’s widely known the Jaguars play much better on defense when in man covergae and send additional pass rushers, but Todd Wash stubbornly runs a ton of zone. Thus, opposing QBs are eating in underneath zones with receivers running short routes and running backs making plays in the pass game.

Through Week 7, Jaguars LBs Telvin Smith and Myles Jack have allowed 41 of their 58 targets (70.1%) to be caught, for 394 yards and 210 yards after the catch. They often play either too deep or bite on play action in which the middle of the field completely opens up, and offenses are eating that space up.

If you’re going to continue to run zone, your linebackers need to get a clue as to where to be in coverage and not bite so easily on play action. Teams know they need to get the ball out quickly against the Jaguars’ high-pressure pass rush, and the LBs are giving offenses the opportunity to do that in the muddle of the field. This has been a signifcant issue for the Jaguars defense when playing zone and has to be corrected going forward.

5. Get a grip on this Jaguars locker room

A week ago, players were reportedly involved in shouting matches in the locker room that resulted in defensive end Yannick Ngakoue getting restrained by fellow DE Calais Campbell.

On Friday night, four Jaguars were arrested in London for reportedly walking out on a $65,000 bar tab at a night club.

And a four game losing streak will never result in a happy attitude in the locker room.

The Jaguars could turn this thing around, despite the future looking dark. This team is obviously talented and the season is only halfway over. There is plenty of time to get things flowing the right way, and one of the most important things that needs to happen in order to do so is to correct the attitude and become more responsible. Whether it be discipline, a benching to “create a spark” a la Blake Bortles getting benched against the Texans, or anything to send a message in the locker room that this team can turn things around if they remain united and disciplined.

The Jaguars culture shifted for the better with the presence of Tom Coughlin, as well as Marrone as head coach inside 1 TIAA Bank Field Drive last season. That culture appears to be slacking at this point, and may be the most important thing to re-enforce this week.

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 finalize coaching staff after landing offensive coordinator

Demetrius Harvey



Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have finalized their 2019 coaching staff. They’ve officially hired their offensive coordinator as well as other staff members. John DeFilippo was the headliner for today as the replacement for Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator.

The Jaguars also announced the remainder of their staff. As we covered in the past couple of weeks they have hired several position coaches, including Terry Robiskie as running backs coach, George Warhop as the offensive line coach, and Tim Walton as the secondary coach.

The rest of the staff was a mystery until today. The Jaguars announced they will be promoting assistant defensive line coach Jason Rebrovich to defensive line coach, and they have hired David Merritt as their assistant defensive line coach. Merritt spent the past season as the Arizona Cardinals defensive backs coach. Joe Danna will be promoted as well and will be coaching the safeties. Danna has been on the Jaguars staff as an assistant secondary coach since 2017. John Donovan, another assistant coach for the Jaguars, will be promoted to assistant running backs coach.

It is worth noting in today’s presser Marrone stated Tim Walton will coach the cornerbacks, and Joe Danna will coach the safeties. “I thought we could get more out of our coaches and players if we split the secondary,” Marrone said. This is worth noting as Walton actually held a similar role with the Giants for the past couple of seasons.

Scott Milanovich will remain on staff as the quarterbacks coach. Milanovich was the play-caller for the final five weeks of the season. Milanovich has been with the Jaguars as a QB coach since 2017.

There were no other major coaching changes on the Jaguars roster as the rest of the staff will stay intact.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars will retain quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich

Zach Goodall



Nov 26, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars will retain Scott Milanovich as their quarterbacks coach, according to head coach Doug Marrone.

Milanovich filled in as interim offensive coordinator after Nate Hackett was fired midseason, but the offense saw no improvement with the QB coach calling plays. However, the team appears confident that the former Grey Cup-winning CFL head coach can handle the responsibilities of quarterbacks coach, a position Milanovich has held since Doug Marrone was named head coach in 2017.

The team hired John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator earlier today. You can read why he was a fantastic hire here. Marrone mentioned during his press conference today that Milanovich and DeFilippo have a previous relationship in Maryland.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars to hire John DeFilippo as offensive coordinator, per report

Zach Goodall




The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to hire John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator, per report.

DeFilippo was the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator during the 2018 season, but was fired during Week 15, apparently due to a conflict of play-calling interests with head coach Mike Zimmer, who wanted to focus more on the run game than DeFilippo’s strengths with the pass game.

However, despite a lack of calling the run, Vikings quarterback had a historic season as a passer when it came to efficiency, being the first QB in NFL history to throw for 4000+ yards, 30+ touchdowns, 10 or fewer interceptions, and complete at least 70% of his passes. Much of this can be credited to DeFilippo’s influence in the passing game.

Previous to Minnesota, DeFilippo was the Philadelphia Eagles QBs coach during their 2017-18 Super Bowl run, where he was key to the development of Carson Wentz and rejuvenation of Nick Foles’ career after Wentz tore his ACL. He also served as offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2015, where then-36 year old Josh McCown posted the second most touchdown passes of his 13 year career with 12 in eight games, along with 2109 passing yards, a 63.7 completion percentage, and only four interceptions.

DeFilippo’s first NFL coaching job came in 2005 as an offensive quality control coach under then New York Giants head coach and current EVP of Football Operations for the Jaguars, Tom Coughlin. So there’s a definite connection to the team in ths hire.

At the end of the day, the Jaguars number one priority this offseason has to be, and will be, fixing their passing game woes. Quarterback Blake Bortles needs to be replaced, and the team’s next signal caller must be groomed into a successful QB. DeFilippo has proven with Cousins, Foles/Wentz, as well as Josh McCown in Cleveland during the 2015 season, that he’s capable of doing just that.

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