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Jaguars DL Calais Campbell expresses good feelings about 2019

Demetrius Harvey

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Dec 2, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell (93) smiles for the camera after winning the game against the Indianapolis Colts at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Jacksonville Jaguars DL Calais Campbell spoke to Jaguars media shortly after Monday’s practice expressing good feelings and “vibe” about the future of the 2019 Jaguars.

Campbell has been the Jaguars’ rock on defense ever since joining the team in 2017 and has continued to be everything and more the Jags could have hoped for entering the 2019 campaign. Accumulating 25 sacks in the past two years alone, it is safe to say he is the Jaguars most productive pass rusher.

Campbell has a similar feeling as he did when joining the team in 2017. Before the 2017 campaign, Campbell spoke with SI’s Rober Klemko shortly after signing with the team stating, “I feel like the rest of the world doesn’t see Jacksonville the way I do. I think Jacksonville’s close.”

It turns out, he was right and the Jaguars went onto participate in the AFC Title game before being beaten by the New England Patriots. This year, Campbell has similar feelings. Talking with Jaguars media after practice Campbell said, “I have a real good vibe about it again. It is just the way we are working. We are working to get better. It is a lot of learning going on and guys are getting better each and every day.”

If Campbell is right, the Jaguars may have a shot at redemption this season with new QB Nick Foles.

Although former Jaguars QB Blake Bortles feels he has never received coaching in the way he does now with the Rams, the Jaguars coaches have always been one of the major reasons why Campbell enjoys Jacksonville.

While many players opt to skip voluntary workout sessions Calais Campbell looks at it a different way. The only way he has approached an NFL offseason. Speaking to reporters after practice Campbell stated on why he is here, “This is what got me here to Year 12 – I’ve always shown up. The biggest thing for me is I like being around the guys. I like being in the locker room. I like talking to the coaches. This is where, for me, I really try and get to know my teammates. By the time the season starts and everything is flying different ways, you can only get so much better. ”

For players such as Jalen Ramsey, and Yannick Ngakoue it does not mean that Calais Campbell’s philosophy on voluntary workouts should be their own, however, Campbell exudes leadership with the way he approaches things. Even going so far as to workout with fellow defensive linemen Taven Bryan and Eli Ankou before practice starts. Campbell typically works out on his own before practice to do a little individual work, but with Bryan and Ankou’s lockers right next to him, he took the opportunity to invite the two young linemen.

Jun 3, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell (93) defensive tackle Eli Ankou (54) and defensive tackle Taven Bryan (90) enter the field during organized team activities at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

On his reasoning for inviting them, Campbell stated, “Their lockers are next to mine, so it’s a little easier to get them to come out and work on some stuff. The whole practice I was talking to guys and working on different stuff. At the end of the day, we are professionals. We just work on different things and different mindsets, understanding why I’m doing something a little better.”

Campbell has always been a leader in the locker room. Although he is not the most vocal of leaders around the NFL, he absolutely leads by example on and off the field. Today after practice Campbell was thrilled with the prospect of having the children from PedsCare breakdown practice Monday. Campbell said, “This is an experience that is rare. To be able to come in and be a part of a team and break it down … These kids are going through a lot in their lives and that little bit of joy, it is incredible seeing that smile on their faces and just how excited they were. That was real cool.”

While Campbell did not set up this particular event, he has done plenty for Jacksonville in the past, including his yearly charity bowling event.

Calais Campbell is a world-class athlete and human, and folks in Jacksonville should absolutely cherish the moments they have left with him in Jacksonville.

Demetrius Harvey is the lead editor for the Locked on Jaguars website covering breaking news, breakdowns, and more. You can follow him at @Demetrius82 on twitter.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee officially taken off PUP list

Demetrius Harvey

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Aug 25, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville wide receiver Marqise Lee (11) is carted off the field after an apparent injury during the first half against the Atlanta Falcons at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have officially taken wide receiver Marqise Lee off of the physically unable to perform (PUP) list today. Head coach Doug Marrone announced the development at his pre-practice press conference today. Marrone says Lee will be practicing today.

Lee has not practiced or played since his preseason knee injury almost a year ago today. With this progression, the Jaguars will go into the season — at least for now — with their top receivers active and relatively healthy. If Lee is able to make any sort of contribution during the start of the season it will be a major success for the Jaguars.

Currently, the Jaguars have relied on newcomer Chris Conley along with veterans Dede Westbrook, and D.J. Chark along with other newcomers to make up for Lee’s absence. It is not yet known how this will affect the Jaguars roster come the cut-down day.

The Jaguars have not announced a corresponding move as of right now. The roster stands at 91 until they do so.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

REPORT: Jaguars sign RB Elijah Hood, release QB Tanner Lee

Demetrius Harvey

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Aug 17, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Elijah Hood (30) runs away from Miami Dolphins defensive end Claudy Mathieu (60) towards the goal line during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today the Jacksonville Jaguars announced the signing of running back Elijah Hood.  As a corresponding move, the Jaguars have released quarterback Tanner Lee.

Hood, 5’11” 230 pounds, was originally drafted in the seventh round by the Oakland Raiders. After bouncing around on the Raiders practice squad for the year, he was eventually waived following the 2017 season.

Hood most recently played the Carolina Panthers, however, his time with the Panthers was cut short in 2018 due to a torn ACL. He will get an opportunity to prove himself with the Jaguars and potentially live up to his collegiate career where he accumulated 2,580 yards and 29 touchdowns while at UNC.

With the injury to running back Alfred Blue (ankle) this past Thursday along with other running backs on the roster, the Jaguars needed to add depth at the position. Hood will get every opportunity to make the team, but his chances are rather slim.

Lee, a 2018 6th-round pick by the Jaguars was finally released as a corresponding move to signing Hood. Releasing Lee will not come to much of a shock for Jaguars fans. Lee has struggled throughout the offseason and in the preseason during both of his seasons with the Jaguars. This leaves backup quarterbacks Gardner Minshew and Alex McGough to battle it out in the Jaguars last two preseason games — although it looks like Minshew has the upper hand as of right now.

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Jaguars defensive end Datone Jones has inside track on backup job

Demetrius Harvey

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Jul 25, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Datone Jones (96) works on the pads during training camp at Dream Finders Home Practice Complex. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this offseason, the Jacksonville Jaguars opted to sign seven-year veteran Datone Jones as a means to create more competition and depth behind defensive end Calais Campbell. At the time, this was seen as more of a roster-filler type move, essentially to make sure the Jaguars have enough bodies during training camp. However, the situation has completely changed due to the way Jones has played during the offseason and into training camp.

Jones, 6’4″ 285 pounds, was originally drafted 26th overall in the 2013 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers. Coming out of UCLA he was expected to make a major impact along the defensive line after accumulating a respectable 62 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks during his senior season. Since being drafted, Jones has bounced around the NFL playing for the Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers and, most recently, the Dallas Cowboys.

Jones was not able to make as much of an impact on the Packers’ 3-4 defensive front after bouncing around from the defensive line to — surprisingly — linebacker.

For a short time, Jones signed with the Minnesota Vikings shortly after his contract with the Packers ended and expressed the concern of a position switch during an interview with the Vikings update stating, “They didn’t tell me. I found out on NFL Network that they had moved me to outside linebacker, I kind of knew that I would have to make the adjustment or I wasn’t going to be there anymore. I wanted to come into a place where I felt most natural, where I could really showcase my ability, what I could really do.”

Having to make such a drastic change in his career path after being mildly successful — 73 tackles and nine sacks with the Packers — at another position impacted Jones. While Jones did accumulate the most pressures for the Packers during the 2016 season while playing outside linebacker, it still was not the appropriate position for him to play given his natural ability.

Now with the Jaguars, Jones is back along the defensive line and is thriving. With the backup strong-side defensive end position for the Jaguars being completely wide open, Jones has taken the opportunity afforded to him and could be apart of the first group of players coming onto the field for the normal starters.

The Jaguars have tried for a couple of years now to find a good backup behind Campbell. They drafted defensive tackle/end Taven Bryan in the first round just a year ago, however, he has switched to more of a fulltime role on the interior of the defense. Mostly a disappointment his first two seasons, defensive end Dawuane Smoot has also taken a backseat with the arrival of Jones, giving Jones the inside track to win the primary backup job.

Jones has taken that opportunity and has thrived. Able to come off the ball with speed and power, he has the ability to adequately stop the run along with getting to the quarterback. During the game on Thursday, Jones completely took over the Eagles offensive line. One play in particular from Thursday’s game stands out.

Jones lines up on the defensive edge and is unblocked, getting to the quarterback and knocking him (Cody Kessler) out of the game. These are the type of plays which illustrate why he has earned a spot on the Jaguars 53-man roster.

A rotation from normal starters Yannick Ngakoue, Marcell Dareus, Abry Jones, and Campbell to Josh Allen, Bryan, Eli Ankou, and Jones illustrates just how deep the Jaguars are along the defensive line.

This past week head coach Jaguars Doug Marrone was asked about the importance of the defensive end spot behind Campbell.

“I feel good about where we are with our D-Line, I do. In other words, I feel like we have good starters, and I feel like we have good depth. I think we have a lot of players there, guys that will probably be, if you look at the roster, I think that can potentially be the toughest. Who is nine, who is 10 if we keep 10, wherever that goes,” Marrone stated.

“Yan obviously looks great out there, but then all of a sudden [Dontavius] Russell, [Michael] Hughes, Datone Jones, I mean you have guys now, big V [Kalani Vakameilalo] is a big body in there. We have guys now that are in there that are pretty good that it’s going to be a tough call.”

A “tough call” that might have gotten tougher — or easier depending on how you look at it — with the performance Jones put on Thursday and throughout the offseason. Against the Eagles, Jones was credited with three tackles and a quarterback hit, however, it was his persistent pressure and pocket collapsing plays that set him apart from everyone else.

Shortly after the game, reporters spoke to Jones about his strong play against the Eagles. “I just wanted to go out there and execute and compete. I felt like I started off really slow the first preseason game and I felt like I owed it to my teammates to go out there today, execute and put my abilities on film,” Jones said.

“[I wanted to] let guys like Calais [Campbell], Marcell [Dareus] and Yannick [Ngakoue] know that I’m here to compete and I want to be in the lineup with those guys. I want to be here in Sacksonville, sacking quarterbacks. Preseason is all about coming out here and displaying and competing and just having fun with your brothers. Executing, you know.”

It is clear playing behind the Jaguars starting defensive line, and seeing the culture within that group has lit a fire under Jones for the better. If he can provide the same production he has done in the past, the Jaguars may have one of the deepest defensive line groups in the entire league.

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