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Jaguars safety Andrew Wingard: “I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t determined”

Demetrius Harvey

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Oct 28, 2017; Laramie, WY, USA; Wyoming Cowboys safety Andrew Wingard (28) celebrates his second interception against the New Mexico Lobos during the second quarter at War Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Shortly after the draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed at least 21 undrafted free agents. Among those signed was a little known safety out of Wyoming: Andrew Wingard. Wingard, 6’0″ 209 pounds, has always had to jump through hoops to get to where he is now. Originally from Colorado, Wingard was not highly recruited coming out of high school. The only FBS offer he received was from the University of Wyoming.

Since then, Wingard turned that offer into a dream. With 454 tackles (2015-2018), Wingard put his name in the record books at Wyoming ranking second highest in total tackles. The highest being 467 tackles by Galand Thaxton (1984-1987). None of it came easy for Wingard, having to battle for everything he’s received. After his freshman year of college Wingard was asked to gain at least 15 pounds (185 to 200) before he began his sophomore season.

After practice on Saturday, I got a chance to speak to Wingard about his journey from college to the pros, and just how much it meant to him.

When asked how determined he was to get to that point in his career Wingard replied, “I wouldn’t even be here if I wasn’t determined and on a mission with a vision for myself to be great. That’s kinda been the whole story of my career, really.”

Being able to overcome adversity has always been in Wingard’s background. After posting a near record-setting number of tackles — and having the most career tackles out of any draft-eligible player in the country in 2019 –, Wingard didn’t get picked.

When asked about the process and why he chose the Jaguars, Wingard expressed just how tough it was saying, “It was a tough day honestly, every kid wants to be drafted, but you know —  I had a bunch of teams call me, but looking at the Jags I knew that Coach Wash was here and my former DC [defensive coordinator and former Jaguars linebacker coach Scottie Hazelton] at Wyoming  coached under him so I knew they’d have a similar system — and just roster eval, I think they only had about four or five safeties on the roster at the time that I decided to go with them.”

The Jaguars currently have six safeties on the roster including Wingard. He’s listed as the third-team free safety on the Jaguars first unofficial depth chart behind second-year safety Ronnie Harrison and veteran safety Cody Davis.

Even while going undrafted Wingard had a big smile on his face, seemingly embracing the role of the underrated, underappreciated, underdog.

When talking about what his mindset was after the draft he said, “After that draft it was rough, but I feel great now about being undrafted, it really helped me — it’s allowed me to — I don’t know how to say it — I’ve got nothing to lose. I can just go ball out and see what happens.”

Having that sort of  “nothing to lose” mentality is something that has propelled many undrafted free agents throughout the NFL including former Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson who had followed a similar career path.

Now with the Jaguars, Wingard says, “I just have this high ceiling for my career, I want more and more, I want to be great, and that’s kinda what has propelled me to be here.”

Wingard was able to propel his career thus far and started in his first-ever NFL game just last week against the Baltimore Ravens. Harrison was held out due to a coaches decision, Davis was due to injury. Next up was Wingard, and he made the most of his opportunities (50 snaps) logging four total tackles and positive marks from Pro Football Focus.

When asked how he thought he played Wingard told me, “I felt really good out there, I thought me and Reavis [Jaguars safety C.J. Reavis] both played pretty well — we sat in the film room and watched it today and got good feedback from the coaches, they said we played well.”

Without being asked, Wingard mentioned his mistake made on special teams — which likely cost the team a touchdown — saying, “I had that holding call on special teams — I take it 100%, that’s on me, footballs hard — gotta get better there — but after one NFL game I feel good.”

Wingard has every opportunity to make the Jaguars football team especially with the injuries and amount of safeties currently on the roster. Improving on special teams will greatly help his case, but being a hardworking, dependable defensive player will pay dividends for his future.

To check out my full interview with Andrew Wingard where I ask him who the real Wyoming wildman is, make sure to check out the Locked On Jaguars podcast this week. Subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, or nearly any other platform.

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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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. George Santini

    August 12, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    Wingard is baller. The Jags have a keeper. He will not be the flashiest player on th efield but he has the knack of getting to where the ball ends up and is a sure tackler.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Josh Allen shines in Jaguars 22-7 loss to Miami Dolphins

Demetrius Harvey

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Aug 22, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen (41) pressures Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Allen showed out on the national stage and proved why he deserved to be the seventh-overall pick this year.

Tonight was the night of firsts for the Jaguars. It was the first time the first-team offense and defense took the field for the Jaguars this year. The first time anyone has gotten a good look at Nick Foles in a Jaguars uniform, and the first time we got an extensive look at the Jaguars rookie seventh-overall pick defensive end Josh Allen.

Allen was able to take advantage of a very poor Dolphins offensive line and downright dominant in the first half of the game. For the night, Allen was credited with four combined tackles as the Jaguars tried to get him on the field as much as possible. Despite saying otherwise earlier this season, the Jaguars actually opened up in a 3-4 look with Yannick Ngakoue and Allen on opposite sides. With defensive assistant Dom Capers in the fold, the Jaguars may be a bit more creative on defense this year.

Getting into the Dolphins’ backfield practically all night, Allen put on a show. With several tackles for loss, a couple of quarterback hits, and great pass coverage, Allen showed just why he was taken in the top-10. The Jaguars used Allen in every way possible tonight, and there is no reason to believe that will stop during the regular season.

Allen will be a pleasure to watch in 2019 especially with Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, and Marcell Dareus playing with him.

Allen wasn’t the only player being showcased tonight for the Jaguars. This was the first time tonight the Jaguars — and the nation —  got a good look at quarterback Foles since he left Philadelphia.

Foles held his own against the Dolphins after going 6/10 for 48 yards,  with one touchdown, and an interception. Foles had a couple of rough drives and began the game leading the offense to a quick three-and-out, but overall looked just fine against the Dolphins first-team defense.

After a summer of Foles to Chris Conley connections being made, it was Foles and receiver Dede Westbrook who seemed to be the most in sync. Westbrook hauled in the 10-yard touchdown throw from Foles along with 3 other receptions for a total of 29 yards on the night.

The Jaguars would go onto fall to the Dolphins 22-7 after a poor showing by the Jaguars second and third-team offense, but the talk of the night will ultimately be the great performance by defensive end Josh Allen.

Five observations:

1. The Jaguars offensive line will be fine — if healthy

Left tackle Cam Robinson made his debut tonight after recovering from a 2018 torn ACL. Although Robinson did not play very long, he had a great night against the Dolphins’ poor defensive line.

The Jaguars remaining starters included: Andrew Norwell, Brandon Linder, Will Richardson, and Jawaan Taylor. Taylor got his first action tonight as a Jaguar after recovering from a knee injury. Richardson is seemingly entrenched in the starting right guard role with A.J. Cann playing a majority of the night with the backups after Richardson was finished.

2. Leonard Fournette is a threat out of the backfield

This should be obvious, however, the Jaguars fourth-overall pick showed tonight he can be a threat in the passing game.  With two receptions for 15 yards, Fournette showed well catching passes from Foles as he has all summer. On the night Fournette added seven rushes for 27 yards. Fournette showed power and speed once he got into the open field.

3. The Jaguars potential sixth receiver spot is still wide open

Quite frankly, the Jaguars are still searching for their sixth receiver. During the first two preseason games, receiver Tre McBride seemingly was the frontrunner for the job along with Terrelle Pryor.

However, Pryor left the game with yet another hamstring injury and McBride had a couple of drops along with 33 receiving yards on three receptions. Receiver C.J. Board was the most productive receiver on the team tonight with four receptions for 56 yards and a drop. This will be a competition to keep an eye on through next week.

4. Taven Bryan is still struggling

The Jaguars have an issue with defensive tackle Taven Bryan. Thus far this preseason, Bryan has not played as expected from a former first-round pick. Tonight showed no different as Bryan accounted for one tackle and two roughing the passer penalties on the night.

Bryan will make the team, but the Jaguars will have an issue if he ever has to play significant snaps in place of starting defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. Bryan will need to quickly develop if he wants to contribute positively to this team this season.

5. Dawuane Smoot is a lot better than he used to be

A former third-round pick, Smoot excelled tonight against the Dolphins porous defensive line. Notching one sack, Smoot was able to take control of the line of scrimmage tonight and prove why he should be on this team. The Jaguars have a great competition and will ultimately be forced to make a tough decision as defensive lineman Datone Jones is performing just as well.

It is possible the Jaguars will opt to keep both — and they should.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars preseason week three inactives, Richardson to start

Demetrius Harvey

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Aug 8, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Will Richardson (76) looks onto the field during the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sportsst the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Miami Dolphins are set to kick off at 8:00 p.m. eastern time at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

For the Jaguars, they will finally get a good look at their starting offensive and defensive units — minus a couple of injuries. The only players not slated to get some reps tonight are: Marqise Lee (knee), Alfred Blue (ankle), Jake Ryan (knee), Quincy Williams (knee), Davis Tull (leg), Charles Jones (foot), Geoff Swaim (foot), Josh Oliver (hamstring), and Marcell Dareus (elbow).

All eyes will be on new Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles tonight as he gets set to play his first game since leaving the Philidelphia Eagles in free agency.

Before the list of players not participating was released, the Jaguars’ Director of Public Relations announced via twitter, left tackle Cam Robinson will be making his first appearance tonight, although on a limited basis. Robinson will be on a “strict” snap count for tonight’s game.

Expect the Jaguars starters to play only a couple of series tonight as the Jaguars look to continue keeping them safe for the regular season.

Jaguars right guard Will Richardson will be starting tonight ahead of A.J. Cann. Richardson has been in a constant battle with the veteran since camp began.

Second-round pick Jawaan Taylor will be starting at right tackle. It is the rookie’s first in-game action for the Jaguars this preseason.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Preseason Week 3: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Miami Dolphins preview

Demetrius Harvey

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Aug 15, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles (7) looks on during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

This week against the Miami Dolphins, the Jacksonville Jaguars will finally get a really good look at their $88M prized possession, Nick Foles. Foles, along with the starting offensive line, Leonard Fournette, and the majority of the teams’ starting players will get the ball rolling early against the Dolphins. How long they will play for likely depends on the success of the team, however, they won’t be playing for very long.

The game will be televised nationally on FOX, so everyone will finally get a good look at the $88M man. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be calling the game.

The only players not set to play for the Jaguars on Thursday are: Marqise Lee (knee), Alfred Blue (ankle), Jake Ryan (knee), Quincy Williams (knee), Davis Tull (leg), Charles Jones (foot), Geoff Swaim (foot), Josh Oliver (hamstring), and Marcell Dareus (elbow).

Lee was recently activated from the teams’ PUP list and should be ready to go for the regular season.

Game Time info

  • When: Thursday, August 22nd, 8:00 PM  ET
  • Where: Hard Rock Stadium Miami Gardens, FL
  • Watch: FOX (FOX30 Jacksonville)
  • Listen: Jacksonville 1010XL AM, 92.5FM

Five Keys to Success

  1. Stay Healthy. Once again this is the number one key to success. Even if the Jaguars completely bomb their dress-rehearsal game, as long as they come out of the game fully healthy there is no harm, no foul. Left tackle Cam Robinson will be seeing his first in-game action since tearing his ACL in week two of the 2018 regular season. Keeping him fresh is going to be pivotal for the Jaguars offense this season.
  2. Establish chemistry on the offensive line. The Jaguars will finally get their starting offensive line together on the field at the same time in a game. This is a great opportunity for the team to establish chemistry between each other along with Foles.
  3. Win the trench war. This goes for the offensive and defensive line. The Jaguars must get push on both sides of the football this week to establish the run and get after the quarterback. This will be the first in-game action which will showcase the Jaguars renewed “lightning package”. This includes Josh Allen, Calais Campbell, Taven Bryan, and Yannick Ngakoue. While the team will be without defensive tackle Marcell Dareus for this matchup, it will be a great way to take a look at their renewed pass rush.
  4. Showcase Nick Foles. While the Jaguars do not have to pass the football every down, and they certainly will not do so, getting the most out of Foles’ action tonight will be pivotal to the teams’ success moving forward. Being able to establish in-game camaraderie never hurts, and this is a prime opportunity to do it.
  5. Enjoy it. Jaguars fans will finally get their opportunity to see the first-team offense and defense. This game will ultimately set the tone for the regular season.

Key Matchups 

Jaguars receivers vs. Dolphins defensive backs

The Miami Dolphins have two premier defensive backs in their secondary in Xavien Howard and Minkah Fitzpatrick. Playing against either one will be a great test for the Jaguars receivers. This will be the first in-game action for UFA signee Chris Conley. Seeing him, Dede Westbrook and D.J. Chark compete against the Dolphins secondary will be an exciting matchup to watch. It will allow the Jaguars to get a great look at what they truly have at the position.

Jaguars offensive line vs. Dolphins defensive line

The Jaguars have not yet established what their offensive line will look like moving forward into the regular season. This will be a great test for them moving forward against the Dolphins’ defensive line which includes former first-round pick, Charles Harris.

Will Richardson vs. A.J. Cann

Although this is not a matchup between two opposing players, it will be a competition to watch during Thursday’s game. Offensive tackle/guard Will Richardson and A.J. Cann have been battling for the teams’ starting right guard position throughout training camp.

Five Players to watch

1. Nick Foles

Foles will be the focus for Thursday’s game against the Dolphins. Nationally. It will be the first in-game action anyone has seen Foles play since his playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints in February as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. For Jaguars fans they will finally get to see what kind of player the $88M man is. Foles will likely be playing only a couple of series depending on how the game goes, but he is absolutely the number one player to watch.

Nick Foles spoke to the Jaguars media shortly after practice on Sunday and was asked just how important getting the offensive line together was, he stated, “Really the most important piece of the offense is the offensive line. The way they work together, the way they communicate, the way we recognize fronts, our run game, our pass protection. The way that those guys communicate is a work of art, so to have them all out there working, developing, communicating is huge for us right now. So, it’s happening at the right time, so we have to really take advantage of every single day.”

If the Jaguars can establish their offensive line, it will lead to great success for Foles and the rest of the Jaguars offense.

2. Cam Robinson

Robinson has not played a down for the Jaguars since week-two of the 2018 regular season, and before last week there were questions regarding his availability for the start of the season. Instead, Robinson will play on Thursday night. The question remains, however, how much will the left tackle play?

Keep a close eye on Robinson and how he handles pass-rush snaps. His health is of the utmost importance to the Jaguars offensive line, which ultimately determines the success of the offense as a whole.

3. Leonard Fournette

Fournette has had a sort of revitalization of his career arc throughout this offseason. Not only has he shown up to nearly every offseason activity, but he has also shown up healthy and in shape. Keeping Fournette healthy will be majorly important for the Jaguars offense this season. Seeing him get some in-game action will be interesting.

4. Terrelle Pryor

After earning praise during the early portions of training camp, the fire lit by Pryor has become rather dim. Dealing with injuries for the past couple of weeks the former quarterback-turned-wideout has not had an opportunity to showcase his talents in games. This will be a great opportunity for Pryor to earn his spot on the 53-man roster which has seemingly been handed to him due to his size (6’4″ 228 pounds) and speed (4.30 40-yard dash).

The Jaguars will very likely be retaining six receivers at the final cutdowns, and Pryor is squarely in the mix.

5. Jawaan Taylor

Heading into week three of the preseason, it is unclear if Jaguars rookie offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor will receive the first-team snaps at right tackle. Coming off of a knee injury in which head coach Doug Marrone described as “not serious at all”, Taylor will be one of the key players to watch.

If he is able to establish himself as the starting right tackle opposite of Robinson, it will pay dividends to the Jaguars protection and run game moving forward. The Jaguars can ill-afford to head into the season with either Cedric Ogbuehi or Leonard Wester starting.

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