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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars 2018 Position Group Breakdown: Special Teams

Christopher Thornton

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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 vs. Patriots Week Two Inactives: Fournette Out, Campbell Starts

Demetrius Harvey

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Aug 18, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Calais Campbell (93) reacts during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars and the New England Patriots have released their inactive lists for the game today.  For the Jaguars star running back, Leonard Fournette is out today with a hamstring injury. However, Calais Campbell who was added late to the injury report with a knee injury is expected to start today.

There was speculation before the game that Campbell could be out. It is possible the Jaguars limit his snaps this week.

Jaguars running back TJ Yeldon will start ahead of Fournette. Corey Grant will also look to get in on the fun after only having one touch last week against the Giants.

JAGUARS INACTIVE REPORT

One surprise on the Jaguars inactive list is rookie linebacker, Leon Jacobs. Although he was injured this week with the ankle injury, he was thought to have been progressing. Look for linebacker Larentee McCray to take his place at SAM linebacker.

 

PATRIOTS INACTIVE REPORT

 

For the Patriots they are without their starting right tackle in Marcus Cannon. They also get back their starting running back in Rex Burkhead as well as their first-round pick, rookie running back Sony Michel.

 

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars Promote Running Back Brandon Wilds, Release WR Rashad Greene

Demetrius Harvey

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Aug 30, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back runs the ball Brandon Wilds (38) in the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

According to Mark Long of the Associated Press, the Jacksonville Jaguars today have promoted Running Back Brandon Wilds from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. As a corresponding move, the Jaguars have released veteran Wide Receiver Rashad Greene Sr.

This move should not come as too much of a surprise as starting running back Leonard Fournette has been nursing an injured hamstring all week, and TJ Yeldon was added to the injury report yesterday with an ankle injury.

The move might indicate that either Fournette will not be playing in tomorrows matchup against the New England Patriots, or Wilds will simply be insurance in case the star running back goes down again. Either way, it is something to keep an eye on as the Jaguars announce their inactive report around 90 minutes prior to kickoff tomorrow.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars vs. Patriots: Friday Injury Reports, Fournette Questionable

Demetrius Harvey

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Aug 9, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) takes a handoff from quarterback Blake Bortles (5) during the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars and the New England Patriots have officially released their Friday game status injury reports ahead of their week two matchup in Jacksonville, Florida. For the Jaguars coming into this game against the Patriots, all eyes have been on star running back Leonard Fournette as he nurses a hamstring injury. Today, the Jaguars officially listed him as questionable. Fournette has not been able to practice the entire week and will have to prove to the Jaguars training staff as well as the coaching staff he is good to go.

If Fournette is not cleared look for TJ Yeldon to take over as the Jaguars starting running back this weekend. It is also likely the Jaguars would elevate running back Brandon Wilds from the practice squad as they currently only have two running backs besides Fournette on the 53-man roster. Corey Grant would also more than likely receive his bulk of the carries in the event Fournette cannot go.

As for the rest of the Jaguars players, the only player who was a late addition to the Jaguars injury report was running back TJ Yeldon. He, however, will play this Sunday as that injury has seemingly been deemed minor.

Below are the Jaguars and Patriots official gameday statuses:

JAGUARS:

 

PATRIOTS:

QUESTIONABLE
RB Rex Burkhead – Concussion (Limited participant)
T Marcus Cannon – Calf (Limited participant)
DB Keion Crossen – Hamstring (Limited participant)
RB Sony Michel – Knee (Limited participant)

For the Patriots their most notable players on the injury report are running backs Burkhead and Michel along with tackle Marcus Cannon. Burkhead being out this week against the Jaguars for the Patriots is notable due to the lack of weapons at the running back position. If Burkhead and Michel cannot go the Patriots will likely lean on running back James White for the bulk of the carries. I would, however, anticipate at least one of the two running backs to be active this Sunday.

If Marcus Cannon is out this week, then the Patriots will turn to LaAdrian Waddle at the right tackle position. Waddle is a journeyman and more than likely would struggle against the Jaguars front four.

For the Jaguars as well as the Patriots both teams are relatively healthy. The areas to watch will continue to be the running back positions and how the Jaguars, as well as the Patriots, handle the situation. With Fournette as a true game-time decision, keep a close eye on the Jaguars inactive report 90 minutes before kickoff this Sunday.

 

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