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Jaguars 2018 Position Group Breakdown: Special Teams

Christopher Thornton



Nov 5, 2017; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Jaydon Mickens (85) returns a punt 63 yards for a touchdown during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

During the 2017-18 season, the Jaguars’ special teams unit experienced some great highs and some abysmal lows. To start the season, the Jaguars trotted out failed experiment, kicker Jason Myers, which to be honest, seems to be years ago at this point. However, after another rough start to the season for Myers (11/15 on field goals and 15/17 on extra points), The Jaguars made a kicker change and brought in kicker, Josh Lambo.

Lambo was an immediate upgrade for the Jaguars (19/20 on field goals and 22/24 on extra points) and finally gave them a kicker you didn’t have to hold your breath for every kick. Lambo, by seasons end, was statistically a top five kicker in the league, converting on 95% of his field goals. Lambo hit some crucial field goals down the stretch including some in a hostile Cleveland weather environment as well as an overtime game-winning field goal against his former team, the Los Angeles Chargers.

However, like any unit in football, it had its strengths, and it also had its weaknesses. The Jaguars punting unit was horrid at times and single handily lost them games in 2017 (The Los Angeles Rams game immediately comes to mind). In free agency, the Jaguars addressed the special teams unit by overhauling its core players and adding the likes of guys like Cody Davis, Don Carey, and Niles Paul. General Manager Dave Caldwell deemed Cody Davis as quote, the “top special-teams player in the league.” On top of upgrading the core special teams players, the Jaguars drafted punter, Logan Cooke out of Mississippi State, who immediately took over punter Brad Nortman’s job. Nortman would then be cut just days after the draft, a slightly shocking move to have happened so quickly.

Projected special teams depth chart

*Note: Italics = projected starter, Underline = acquired 2018 free agency/draft*

Punter: Logan Cooke

Long Snapper: Carson Tinker, Andrew East (In case Tinker still isn’t fully recovered from last years ACL tear)

Place Kicker: Josh Lambo

Kick Returner: Corey Grant

Punt Returner: Jaydon Mickens

Jaydon Mickens is a huge wild card to make this roster. He showed great potential both as a depth wide receiver as well as a punt returner. The question will be if Jaguars special teams coordinator, Joe DeCamilis, as well as the rest of the coaching staff, values Mickens enough to keep him solely as a punt returner.

Between this time last year and now, the Jaguars special teams unit has changed drastically, the biggest and notable changes being Kicker (Jason Myers to Josh Lambo), Long Snapper (Carson Tinker to Matt Overton to Colin Holba and now Andrew East) to Punter (Brad Nortman to Logan Cooke). According to Pro Football Focus, the Jaguars ranked 20th in the NFL last season for special teams play, which to Joe DeCamilis and everyone else, is too low. Bad special teams can plague a team and cost you wins, as we saw in the LAR game.

By building upon the corps of special teamers you had last year as well as upgrading several vital positions, the Jaguars have the firepower to be a top 10 special teams unit in all facets of play. For the first time as a football fan, I am saying, “I can’t wait to see how the special teams unit looks this year!”. Is it training camp yet?

Christopher Thornton Is the Co-host for Locked On Jaguars. Christopher lives in Jacksonville and is currently a season ticket holder for the Jacksonville Jaguars. You can find me on Twitter (@Mistochristopho) and contact me at [email protected]

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars agree to terms with 2018 first round pick Taven Bryan

Ruairi Songer



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

The Jaguars have come to terms on a contract with first round pick defensive tackle Taven Bryan, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Bryan’s rookie deal is worth $10.2 million over 4 years, and includes a $5.5 million signing bonus.

The contract, relatively low compared to the NFL’s most expensive defensive line, could help relieve the Jaguars cap space within the next few years when Bryan inevitably takes on a bigger role.



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Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles Must Take Control, Limit Mistakes in Training Camp

Zach Goodall



Jan 21, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) reacts against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles signed a three year, $54 million extension with the team in February after leading Jacksonville to their first AFC Championship since 1999.

Now, the signal-caller must prove he was worth the deal.

Bortles has had an up-and-down career so far in Jacksonville, but showed significant improvement during the 2017 season compared to the year before. The QB completed 60.2% of his passes — a career high — for 3687 yards, 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions — a career low — and led the Jaguars to a 10-6, AFC South Champion season.

However, when training camp came around prior to the 2017 season, the wheels were falling off the wagon. Bortles’ had a disappointing camp, throwing five interceptions during the annual season-ticket owner exclusive practice, and during the preseason was benched in favor of Chad Henne to add some fuel to a quarterback competition between the two.

Bortles did win the job back before the regular season kicked off, and all was forgotten about as the team started winning. But, with a shiny new contract in his hands and a team to lead back to the playoffs this year, Bortles can not repeat his 2017 training camp performance this time around.

This will be Bortles’ second full offseason in offensive coordinator Nate Hackett’s system, and he needs to play like a poised veteran of the system. Hackett wasn’t a perfect playcaller in 2017, but he seemed to find a way to mesh the team’s run-first philosophy with Bortles’ strength’s and limit his faults with controlling the football.

All eyes are on running back Leonard Fournette’s growth as a bell-cow back entering his second professional season, and that should continue to take pressure off of Bortles. He doesn’t need to force passes or rush into decisions, as the run game will be the focal point of the offense.

In the passing game, things might start off a little shaky. The receiving corps was shaken up during the offseason, and it will naturally take time for Bortles’ to form chemistry with his new weapons.

This is the perfect opportunity for Bortles to take charge of the passing game, though. Taking the new guys under his wing and showing them the ropes will establish a sense of leadership that Bortles’ hasn’t been been able to establish in years’ past when his job security was in question.

On the field during camp, Bortles must display consistency. Despite his lows during last year’s camp, there were also moments where one was left thinking “Wow, now THAT was a good pass. Why can’t Bortles do that on every throw?”

It’s hard to ask the quarterback to be perfect on every throw, but with pressure being lifted by the presence of a true run game, Bortles’ has the ability to be a little more relaxed when dropping back. Opposing defenses must respect Jacksonville’s rushing attack, and with that, there will be more options to utilize in the passing game that Bortles must trust.

Bortles doesn’t need to “wow” anyone during camp. That isn’t what the team is going to ask of him during the season. As a quarterback, Bortles must display growth in terms of his consistency as a passer, limiting mistakes and learning to take what the defense gives him. As a Jaguar, Bortles must take the reigns and lead the team en route to an AFC South-winning season for the second year in a row.

After getting paid like the man, Blake Bortles needs to be the man.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus accused of sexual assault

Zach Goodall



Jan 21, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (99) against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has been accused of sexual assault and exposing a sexually transmitted disease to an anonymous Texas woman, per News4Jax.

The report states that Dareus had unconsensual sex with the woman when she was unconcious in a hotel in Houston this past April, also failing to disclose he was carrying herpes. The woman plans to sue Dareus for at least $15,000, per the report.

This isn’t the first sexual assault accusation against Dareus. A Las Vegas woman recently accused Dareus of a similar act from back in January, according to Dareus reportedly brought the woman back to a party at his rental mansion in Lutz, near Tampa, where she claims he groped, drugged, and assaulted her after she blacked out.

Dareus was acquired by the Jaguars in the middle of the 2017 season via trade with the Buffalo Bills. The Jaguars sent Buffalo their fifth round pick in the 2018 Draft and hoped Daerus would shore up their run defense, which he did: The team went from ranking last in the NFL to 21st by season’s end after Dareus’ acquisition (9 games).

We will update this story as more details emerge.

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