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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars key player of the week: Jalen Ramsey

Brandon Carroll

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Oct 7, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) yells at Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

As we here at Locked on Jaguars gear up for the start of the 2019 season, it is time that we unveil the newest series: Key player of the week! Every week, Locked on Jaguars will highlight one key Jaguars player who will need to bring the heat in order to secure a victory for the good guys.

Week one kicks off with the Jaguars at home against the perennial offensive powerhouse known as the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are head coach Andy Reid who is an offensive guru and has been putting up tons of points on the scoreboard throughout his coaching career. 

The Chiefs have some of the most explosive playmakers on the offensive side of the ball in the NFL. Under center is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL right now in Patrick Mahomes. With a multitude of weapons at his disposal and coach Andy Reid calling the plays, the Jaguars defense faces a tall task to begin the season. 

With playmakers such as Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Mecole Hardman catching the football along with Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy sharing carries out of the backfield, it is imperative the Jaguars focus on limiting the “home run” play. 

Key Player of the Week: Cornerback, Jalen Ramsey

Oct 7, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) reacts with the crowd in the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Before last season’s matchup against the Chiefs in Arrowhead, Ramsey made a few comments about the Kansas City Chiefs’ self-proclaimed “Cheetah”, Tyreek Hill. Ramsey referred to Hill as a “Return Specialist” rather than a wide receiver when asked about his matchup with the pro-bowler in the week leading up to the game. 

Hill went on to catch a mere four balls for 68 yards in a 30-14 Chiefs win that began the unraveling of the Jaguars season. While Ramsey was able to keep Hill from getting into the end zone, Hill was able to beat Ramsey down the sideline to make a 36-yard grab. A grab that occurred when Ramsey was too aggressive in press coverage. Hill took advantage of that by using his speed to burn the Pro Bowl defensive back. 

But, this season, the matchup is set to take place yet again. Only time around, defensive coordinator Todd Wash has said Ramsey will shadow Hill the entire game. 

Ramsey is possibly the best cornerback in the league right now. His 6-1 208lb., frame makes him a physically dominant corner that not many wide receivers are accustomed to. 

Ramsey prides himself on being a strong, physical corner that mixes in finesse to jump routes and break up passes along with mirroring the footwork of opposing wide receivers. After last season, Ramsey has decided to allow his play on the field to do the talking, a sign of maturity in the fourth-year player out of Florida State. In a contract year, Ramsey is looking to prove that he deserves to be one of, if not the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. 

Since his debut, Ramsey has recorded 193 tackles, 44 passes defended, nine interceptions, and a touchdown. Ramsey picked off Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger twice last season in a game the Jaguars let slip away.

Ramsey was a huge addition to the Jaguars defense in 2016 as it limited opposing teams to using just one side of the field in the passing game. His best year came in 2017 when the Jaguars defense ranked second in the NFL and led the Jaguars to the AFC championship game. 

Last season, while Ramsey still played well, it was a step back from 2017. Ramsey has become a household name even for those out of Jacksonville due to his outgoing personality and dominant on-field ability. 

Week one will be a major indication if Ramsey can take that next step into being a not just one of the best corners in the NFL, but the best corner in the NFL.

Hill is an unorthodox matchup for Ramsey considering Hill’s stature. Hill is a smaller, quicker receiver that can give Ramsey matchup problems if they get into a foot race down the sideline. 

One way Ramsey could be successful against Hill would be to jam him at the line. Ramsey is a much more powerful player than Hill. In last seasons matchup, when Ramsey was able to tactically jam Hill at the line of scrimmage, Hill was a non-factor. Where Ramsey failed against Hill last season was when he got a bit too aggressive at the line of scrimmage, allowing Hill to have essentially a free release on the play.

Ramsey looks to continue his already impressive career and attempt to lead a defense that last year was the only team that Mahomes did not throw a touchdown against. His play in the secondary will be the X-factor in stopping an offense that can take the top off of any defense. 

While the Jaguars have to play well in all aspects of the game to hang with high-powered Kansas City Chiefs, no other player is more important than Ramsey. Not allowing the home run play and limiting the Chiefs offensive attack will result in the Jaguars having the opportunity to win the game late. 

Brandon Carroll is an 18-year-old college student aspiring to be a sports journalist. Has written articles over the past few years for fun and had two published within In The Game magazine. Locked On Jags is his first real opportunity to showcase his writing and love for football.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars vs. Texans preview: Keys to success, matchups to watch

Demetrius Harvey

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Aug 29, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) works out during warmups before a game against the Atlanta Falcons at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars look to rebound in a major way this Sunday against the Houston Texans. It all starts with rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, II who will start in place of the injured Nick Foles.

Nick Foles is out, and Gardner Minshew is in. The outcome for Sunday’s game against the Texans will likely be determined by the ability of the rookie quarterback. In order to be successful, the team must play better on defense and around Minshew.

Game Time info

  • When: Sunday, September, 15th 1:00 PM  ET
  • Where: NRG Stadium, Houston Texas
  • Watch: CBS47 (click)
  • Listen: Jacksonville 1010XL AM, 92.5FM

Five Keys to Success

  1. Stay healthy
    We put this every week, but I suppose the Jaguars are not listening. The Jaguars will be without at least six players due to various injuries on Sunday including offensive linemen Cam Robinson and Cedric Ogbuehi, cornerback A.J. Bouye, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, tight end Josh Oliver, and wide receiver Marqise Lee. No matter how hard the Jaguars tried to escape it, the injury bug has most definitely caught up.
  2. Stop (limit?) DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller
    Last week, the Jaguars faced probably the best offense in the NFL in the Kansas City Chiefs. This week, they face another daunting challenge with Texans receivers DeAndre Hopkins, and Will Fuller. Fuller is one of five players in the NFL to record 10 receiving touchdowns on 100-or-less targets since 2017.
  3. Protect Minshew at all costs
    The Jaguars absolutely cannot afford another injury at the quarterback position. Last week, the team sent a 2020 fifth-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for quarterback Josh Dobbs. There is no reason for anyone to want Dobbs to take the field on Sunday. While the Texans got rid of defensive end Jadevon Clowney, they are still a force to be reckoned with along the front seven with J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus.
  4. Get after the quarterback
    Last week, the Jaguars were unable to bring down Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. This week, they will be tasked with bringing down Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson. The good news for the Jaguars defensive line is Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson holds onto the ball (2.73 seconds per pass) much longer than Mahomes (2.42 seconds). The advantage should go to Jacksonville against Houston’s offensive line even without Ngakoue.
  5. Keep it simple
    Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash admitted he might have gotten a little “too cute” when playing the Chiefs explosive offense last week. This week, the defensive play-callers needs to keep it simple and allow his defense to just play their game. The Jaguars gave up seven straight scoring drives to the Chiefs last week.

Key Matchups 

  • Jalen Ramsey vs. DeAndre Hopkins
    This is fun. Every time these two players meet, something happens. Both players will get the best of each other, and Ramsey is likely to follow Hopkins around the field as he did with Hill last week. Hopkins spoke to the media last week and complimented the cornerback, and unsurprisingly, Ramsey did the same.
  • Josh Allen vs. Laremy Tunsil
    With Ngakoue out, Allen will be the Jaguars number one pass rusher going up against Houston Texans’ offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. Allen was highly complimentary of Tunsil last week and is looking forward to playing much better this week than he did in week one.
  • Jaguars receivers vs. Texans defensive backs
    Lee being out for Sunday’s matchup is inconsequential. The Jaguars top three receivers, Chris Conley, D.J. Chark, and Dede Westbrook are good to go. Chark put on a show last week against the Chiefs after hauling in four passes for 147 yards and a touchdown. The Texans secondary is suspect at best and should be a terrific matchup to watch on Sunday.
  • Jaguars secondary vs. Texans’ receivers
    The Jaguar secondary last week was, for lack of a better word, awful. Giving up 378 passing yards will not get it done. The Jaguars ranked second in pass defense last year, and currently rank 29th after their week one loss. Something’s gotta give this week against the Texans and the Jaguars will see — even without Bouye — how they will move forward on defense.

Players to watch

Gardner Minshew — Minshew Mania ran rampant in Jacksonville this week, off of a loss. If the mustache wearing, jorts sporting, rockstar from Mississippi can lead the Jaguars to victory there may be a parade. Absolutely the key player of the week, and the number one player to watch against the Texans on Sunday. Minshew will need to stay within himself and lead the Jaguars offense to scoring drives early and often. His old ball coach believes in him, do you?

Tre Herndon — Jaguars cornerback Tre Herndon needs to be ready against the Texans on Sunday. Going up against DeAndre Hopkins and/or Will Fuller is no easy task. Herndon said after practice on Friday that his preparation for Sunday’s game has not changed and he has leaned on Bouye for how he should cover Fuller and Hopkins. Both receivers present different, but equally effective difficulties.

Leonard Fournette — Fournette was off to a rather stellar game against the Chiefs last week before the Jaguars defense put them in a hole forcing the team to turn to the passing game. If the Jaguars can remain balanced on Sunday, Fournette should be in for another solid game, adding onto his 5.3 yards-per-carry average for the season.

Marcell Dareus — Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus missed last week’s matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs due to an elbow injury. Now that he’s back, the 331-pound defensive tackle should provide a force in the middle of the field, eating up blockers and allowing the linebackers to move more freely to the ball carrier. It will be important to keep a close eye on him as the game moves forward to see how healthy he truly is.

Official game prediction: Jaguars 10, Texans 24

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars officially rule out Bouye, Lee against Texans

Demetrius Harvey

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Sep 8, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye (21) warms up prior to the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Kansas City Chiefs at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars have officially ruled out cornerback A.J. Bouye and receiver Marqise Lee for Sunday’s matchup against the Houston Texans.

After being listed as questionable following Friday’s practice both A.J. Bouye (hip) and Marqise Lee (knee) have been ruled out for the Jaguars match against the Houston Texans tomorrow.

Lee came into the week after playing in his first regular-season game since December 2017 with progress on his surgically repaired knee. After being limited in practice on Thursday for “precautionary reasons”, Lee did not participate on Friday.

Coming into this season there were legitimate questions whether or not Lee would be ready for week one. There are not legitimate concerns on whether the receiver has suffered a setback on his knee or if this was in the plans all along. The latter seems unlikely.

Receivers Keelan Cole and C.J. Board will step up in place of Lee on Sunday.

Bouye battled through a hip injury all week and was limited in both Thursday and Friday’s practices for the team. Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone all but ruled him out after being asked about the chances of the cornerback playing on Sunday during his post-practice press conference yesterday stating, “I’d probably think, probably doubtful. We’ll be ready to go. We’re planning on him probably not playing. I’m sure he’s going to give it everything he has to be healthy.”

With Bouye out, second-year cornerback Tre Herndon will likely start in his place with D.J. Hayden remaining in the slot. Herndon spoke about the prospect of him playing a bigger role on Sunday shortly after practice concluded on Friday.

“In the position that I’m in, being that fourth corner, that’s kinda my card. Anyone get down, get tired, [I] gotta be able to step in and cut no slack. That’s my mindset, treating it like another game. Blessed with the opportunity and try to make the most out of it.”

Herndon will need to be on his A-game during Sunday’s matchup as he is likely to be covering Will Fuller or DeAndre Hopkins. Both players pose a significant threat to the Jaguars secondary.

The Jaguars have now ruled out six players for Sunday’s matchup including Bouye, Lee, tight end Josh Oliver (hamstring), offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi (hamstring), defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (hamstring), and left tackle Cam Robinson (coaches decision).

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Interview

Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen is just getting started

Demetrius Harvey

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Sep 8, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen (41) looks on during the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Selecting defensive end Josh Allen at seventh overall was — by many observers — a complete steal by the Jaguars. Now, the young pass rusher is honing his craft to become one of the best in the league.

Throughout the offseason, preseason, and now shortly into the regular season, Jaguars fans and the Jaguars coaching staff have seen the type of versatility, pass rush, and skill set  Josh Allen can provide to the team.

Whether it’s playing linebacker, defensive end, or defensive tackle, Allen can do it all. Coming into the 2019 NFL Draft, Allen was thought of as more of a 3-4 outside linebacker. However, in just a few months the now-275-pound athlete is proving otherwise.

“The most I can do man is the better I can be,” Allen told Locked on Jaguars shortly after practice this week when asked about his versatility. “It means I can be out there on the field more, doing more things. I love being a versatile player, I love being able to do a lot of different things so I can stay on that field as much as I can and make plays for my team.”

The Jaguars rookie played 75% of the team’s defensive snaps last week (51/68 plays) while seeing action at three separate positions — defensive end, defensive tackle, and outside linebacker. Allen has also shown he can defend the pass, especially in the flats as seen during the team’s third preseason game against the Miami Dolphins.

The fiery pass-rusher dons the number 41, a number in which he himself admits is unconventional, and while at first, he did not care for it, it eventually grew on him.

“My freshman year I thought it was my locker number,” Allen said while laughing. “I wasn’t happy when I got it. I was trying to change it, to be real. You know they told me I couldn’t and it just stuck with me and I just kept wearing it.”

Typically a player’s number has some sort of significance to it, but that is not the case for Allen. What is significant to him, however, is his son. The absolute reason why he suits up and plays with the intensity that he does on the gridiron. While Allen wants to be the best player, his son has always, and will always come first.

“You know I got in this game to give my family a better opportunity at life, and now that I’m here man, it’s just my main focus is to provide for my family and provide for myself.”

While at Kentucky, Allen nearly entered the draft as a junior, but once his son was born he had a different perspective on life, and on football. As a junior, Allen posted seven sacks and 10.5 tackles-for-loss. Respectable numbers which likely would slot him in the first to the third-round range. Allen took it as a challenge and flourished.

During his senior year, Allen posted record-setting numbers with 17 sacks and 21.5 tackles-for-loss which — for a Kentucky defensive player — is unheard of. To that end, Allen quickly climbed draft boards, many slotting him in as a top-three pick.

Now in the NFL, Allen is striving for even more. “Of course I want to be the best,” Allen said. “I got a little bit on my shoulders, but I’m willing to go a long mile with that.”

The defensive end will have a lot on his shoulders this Sunday. With his partner-in-crime Yannick Ngakoue out with a hamstring issue, many assume Allen will need to pick up the slack left by the pro bowler’s absence, but that is not his mentality at all. Instead, Allen looks at it in a rather selfless, team-oriented perspective.

“It is what it is,” Allen said when asked about Ngakoue being out on Sunday and him playing a little more. “I pray he gets better. That’s main priority number one, is for him to get healthy. It’s not about me playing more or him not being here. It’s about him being healthy and us playing 100% on the defense.”

Allen has been about the team more than himself since college, illustrating that with his desire to suit up in a bowl game he didn’t necessarily have to play in. Now in Jacksonville, that perspective has not changed. Similar to his role on Sunday.

“My role hasn’t changed any,” Allen said. “I played when he was in the game, played when he (Ngakoue) wasn’t in the game. It’s not gonna be a big change for me, but I just pray he gets better so we can be a complete unit.”

While Allen’s role may not change for Sunday, not having Ngakoue will most definitely affect the Jaguars chances of winning. Ngakoue has yet to miss a game during his four-year career, and has been the most productive edge rusher on the team during that span, along with defensive end Calais Campbell.

Allen didn’t grow up a football player, and instead played basketball the majority of his life. Once he put the football pads on, however, Allen says he started studying all kinds of pass rushers. Allen would go on to list them off. (Bears defensive end) Khalil Mack, (Broncos outside linebacker) Von Miller, (Former Broncos outside linebacker) DeMarcus Ware, (Colts defensive end) Justin Houston. Some of the best defensive ends, and football players of the past decade. “I feel like I can do the stuff they do,” Allen quipped.

Allen has drawn comparisons to Mack and Miller throughout the draft process and even now shortly into his professional career. If Allen can “do the stuff they do”, he will have been an absolute steal as many pundits predicted.

For now, Allen will continue to hone his craft and stay under the wings of Campbell and Ngakoue. He has leaned on both players for guidance throughout the offseason, and into the regular season. “Calais has been in the league for a long time, Yan for a little bit of time — he’s one of those primetime players,” Allen said. “Having them in my corner has been a blessing, a big help. Not only is it gonna help me, but they’re gonna help the whole team as well.”

Now, going into his second career game, his next test will be against one of the best offensive tackle’s in the game in Texans offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil. “He’s a big guy, he’s real physical on the point of attack,” Allen said when asked what he’s seen out of Tunsil on tape. “It makes a lot of big plays. He’s [a] real athletic tackle — that doesn’t discredit anything — so we’re still gonna have to put the pressure on him and get to the quarterback.”

It’s clear former Wildcat thinks highly of himself. Last week, Allen was credited with having three pressures and one quarterback hit according to Pro Football Focus — the most amount of overall pressures on the team. Yet, the defensive end described his play as just “alright”, when asked about it.

“I know I can work on some things to get better and plan to do those this week.”

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