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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars receiver Tre McBride takes pride in his versatility

Demetrius Harvey

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Aug 1, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Tre McBride (88) enters the field for training camp at Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Since the end of last season, the Jacksonville Jaguars have been determined to restore depth at the wide receiver position. Last season, Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole, and D.J. Chark combined for a total of 118 receptions, 1,382 yards, and six touchdowns.

Along with signing receiver Chris Conley in free agency, the Jaguars sought out fifth-year wide receiver Tre McBride. McBride was signed during the teams’ mandatory minicamp after a short tryout.

McBride has taken advantage of the opportunity and is currently the Jaguars preseason leading receiver with seven receptions for 89 yards. He also had a 36-yard touchdown last week, however, it was called back due to multiple flags on the play.


Catching up with McBride shortly after practice on Monday, he described Jaguars training camp as “the hottest training camp I’ve been a part of for sure — I’ve spent two years in Tennessee — this humidity is — bar none.” These sentiments can almost assuredly be echoed amongst almost all new Jaguars players.

That hasn’t slowed down McBride who spent all of last year out of the league after being waived by the New York Jets just prior to the start of the 2018 regular season. When asked how it impacted his state of mind or his motivation McBride paused for a moment before saying, “It was a tough time for me. First time I had sat out since I been in the league and I didn’t really know what to do with myself — I didn’t know — it didn’t seem like the chances of me to get another shot were coming and so with that thinking it was hard for me to stay motivated.”

For most professional football athletes it is easy to stay in general shape. The issue arises when a football player is not in “football shape”. McBride says that was one of the tougher parts of being out of the league. Even while being demotivated for a time during his year out of the league, McBride continued to train and even worked out for a couple of teams, however, ultimately, nothing came of those workouts.

“At a certain point you gotta know — with conviction what you want, and then when you figure that out, you know — put your head down and work towards it until it comes and it finally came and I was prepared for it.”

The opportunity that came was with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Shortly after the 2018 regular season ended, McBride was signed with the Washington Redskins as part of a futures deal — deals which do not become official until the start of the new league year –, however he was released by Washington after just two weeks of that deal coming into effect, just before phase two of OTAs.

After phase two, the Jaguars called McBride to schedule him for a workout, however, due to an ankle injury McBride was simply not ready. He says, “my thought process was that if the Jags really wanted to see me and see how I look, then they’ll call me back — in a few weeks once my ankle was ready — and they did call me back and I was ready to go.”

The Jaguars did eventually call McBride back and during veteran minicamp, he made the team as a tryout for the 90-man roster. McBride describes the road he has taken to get to this point in his career as “unorthodox” but says “it’s been humbling, and when I look back on it, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

As the preseason began to move along, McBride and Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew developed quite the connection on the field. Shortly after the game last Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles, Minshew was asked about his connection to McBride describing him as a “super savvy” guy, saying “he does a lot of savvy things and makes it easy on us quarterbacks. He’s fun to throw to for sure.”

McBride has worked with several rookies throughout his career. With the Tennessee Titans he caught passes from then-rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, with the Chicago Bears it was quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (2017), and most recently, with New York Jets’ quarterback Sam Darnold.

Being around all of these rookies has given McBride a unique perspective, saying “my thinking is to just make it as easy as possible on them — and then obviously Gardner actually is really really smart, plays with a swagger that I really like — its infectious and gives me confidence — he’s got a great ball and I feel like we just put it together.”

With the Jaguars, McBride is seemingly all over the field in terms of playing receiver, kickoff returner, punt returner, as well as being part of both of those unit’s coverage team. McBride says, “I take pride in being as versatile as possible — jack of all trades, master of few. And on the offensive side of the ball I can play all three wideout positions, and to be able to go on special teams being a return man — and to cover kicks as well — I think that that’s extremely important in the trajectory of my career, specifically.”

Having the ability to go out and perform well at a variety of positions is something NFL coaches love to see. As a player trying to make the team for the Jaguars, doing all of this in games is very important — at least to Jaguars offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

Just before practice on Monday DeFilippo was asked about how much stock he takes into a player such as McBride who continues to perform well in games, stating, “To me, if you have two guys that are pretty close, you go with the guy that does it in games. We’re here to win, and I don’t care if it’s preseason [Week] 1 or preseason [Week] 4, or the playoffs or whatever, you’re there to win the football game and perform when your number’s called to do the job. So, it’s big for these young guys and I told them that right before we played Baltimore. I said, ‘Guys, this is important for a lot of men in this room.’ Tre’s one of those guys that’s taken that to heart for sure.”

If McBride is going to make this football team, he will have to simply continue doing what he has been doing — performing on the field. Even with the talent the Jaguars have at receiver currently, cutting a guy like McBride will be difficult — especially if he continues to showcase being the savvy, versatile, humbled football player that he is.

To listen to my full interview with Tre McBride where he tells me about his “other” career in the making, make sure to tune into the Locked On Jaguars podcast. Subscribe on Spotify, iTunes, or practically anywhere else. Make sure you follow me @Demetrius82 on twitter along with @LockedOnJaguars for news updates and more.

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 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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