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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars vs. Saints: Three Players To Keep An Eye On

Zach Goodall

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May 22, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Corey Grant (30) runs the ball during organized team activities at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars are set to take the field against the New Orleans Saints in preseason action tonight at TIAA Bank Field, kicking off at 7 P.M.

You can watch the game on CBS47/FOX30 Jacksonville, as well as on the team’s new live stream on the Jaguars mobile app and at www.jaguars.com/live.

Expect the starters for both teams to play sparingly, most likely only the first drive or two of the game. This is typical in week one of the preseason, as teams begin to play their starters more in weeks two and three. Rather than being entertained by the Jaguars’ elite starting defense and intriguing, run-heavy offense, fans will be getting a glimpse at the depth that the team has built this offseason.

With that being said, who are three players for Jaguars fans to keep their eyes on tonight against the Saints?

WR D.J. Chark Jr.

Jul 26, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark (17) walks on the field during training camp at the Dream Finder Homes practice facility outside of TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

 

The Jaguars’ promising rookie receiver and star of training camp will be working with the second team during the team’s first preseason game of 2018. While he may receive snaps here and there with Blake Bortles and the first team, Chark is listed as Marqise Lee’s backup on the Jaguars’ first unofficial depth chart.

Chark was labeled as a project receiver out of LSU, with one full season of starting experience and a limited route tree, but full of potential with intriguing size and athletic measurables. However, he was lights-out in Jaguars training camp: During the eight days Locked On Jaguars was present at camp, Chark recorded 16 catches on seven types of routes all over the field. Those routes being go-routes (4), slants (4), posts (3), corners (2), flats (2), curls (1), and screens (1).

While mainly working with the second team in camp, Chark developed solid chemistry with backup quarterback Cody Kessler, who will be the team’s second team QB going forward. Considering Chark was a favorite target of Kessler’s, expect the two to connect on a couple passes against the Saints tonight.

Safety Ronnie Harrison

May 22, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars safety Ronnie Harrison (36) runs on the field during organized team activities at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Another rookie to keep an eye on is Jaguars third round pick Ronnie Harrison out of Alabama. The heir-apparent to Barry Church at strong safety has received raving reviews from veteran teammates in camp to date.

Harrison has made several flashy plays with the Jaguars’ second and third team defense, notably pass breakups in redzone drills and making sound run stops coming down from the deep level of the field. He has also had a role with the special teams.

Despite the Jaguars signing to veteran safeties in free agency in Don Carey and Cody Davis this year, Harrison has has put himself in the drivers’ seat to be the team’s third safety out the gate, on top of a major special teams role. He has the flexibility to cover deep as well as be a playmaker in the tackle box, and will likely be matching up against Saints receivers Cameron Meredith and rookie Tre’Quan Smith in the middle of the field as the game goes on.

RB Corey Grant

May 22, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Corey Grant (30) runs the ball during organized team activities at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Grant will most likely receive the majority of the Jaguars second team reps at running back, with T.J. Yeldon being incorporated into the first team as a pass-down back. That isn’t to say Yeldon won’t get carries with the second team, but this should be Grant’s time to shine.

Grant has been with the team for three years, with a minimal role in the offense and holding down the kick-return job. He has tallied 68 carries, 414 yards and three touchdowns in his career as one of the Jaguars change of pace backs, and is expected to take on a bigger role in the offense after receiving a second round tender worth $2.9 million in March.

The Jaguars released veteran running back Chris Ivory after a disappointing two year stint, and although Leonard Fournette looks to grow in his second season as the Jaguars’ bell-cow RB, there are carries to be had for Yeldon and Grant to take with Ivory off the team. Grant offers special speed at the position and the ability to make defenders miss with an arsenal of rushing moves that Fournette and Yeldon don’t necessarily offer.

With Grant’s role expected to grow in the Jaguars offense, look for him to receive a bulk of carries throughout the preseaon as the team begins to carve out his role, starting tonight against New Orleans.

Zach Goodall covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for the Locked On Jaguars podcast and website. Follow him on Twitter @zach_goodall.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars finalize coaching staff after landing offensive coordinator

Demetrius Harvey

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Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have finalized their 2019 coaching staff. They’ve officially hired their offensive coordinator as well as other staff members. John DeFilippo was the headliner for today as the replacement for Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator.

The Jaguars also announced the remainder of their staff. As we covered in the past couple of weeks they have hired several position coaches, including Terry Robiskie as running backs coach, George Warhop as the offensive line coach, and Tim Walton as the secondary coach.

The rest of the staff was a mystery until today. The Jaguars announced they will be promoting assistant defensive line coach Jason Rebrovich to defensive line coach, and they have hired David Merritt as their assistant defensive line coach. Merritt spent the past season as the Arizona Cardinals defensive backs coach. Joe Danna will be promoted as well and will be coaching the safeties. Danna has been on the Jaguars staff as an assistant secondary coach since 2017. John Donovan, another assistant coach for the Jaguars, will be promoted to assistant running backs coach.

It is worth noting in today’s presser Marrone stated Tim Walton will coach the cornerbacks, and Joe Danna will coach the safeties. “I thought we could get more out of our coaches and players if we split the secondary,” Marrone said. This is worth noting as Walton actually held a similar role with the Giants for the past couple of seasons.

Scott Milanovich will remain on staff as the quarterbacks coach. Milanovich was the play-caller for the final five weeks of the season. Milanovich has been with the Jaguars as a QB coach since 2017.

There were no other major coaching changes on the Jaguars roster as the rest of the staff will stay intact.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars will retain quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich

Zach Goodall

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Nov 26, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars will retain Scott Milanovich as their quarterbacks coach, according to head coach Doug Marrone.

Milanovich filled in as interim offensive coordinator after Nate Hackett was fired midseason, but the offense saw no improvement with the QB coach calling plays. However, the team appears confident that the former Grey Cup-winning CFL head coach can handle the responsibilities of quarterbacks coach, a position Milanovich has held since Doug Marrone was named head coach in 2017.

The team hired John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator earlier today. You can read why he was a fantastic hire here. Marrone mentioned during his press conference today that Milanovich and DeFilippo have a previous relationship in Maryland.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars to hire John DeFilippo as offensive coordinator, per report

Zach Goodall

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Credit: 247Sports.com

The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to hire John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator, per report.

DeFilippo was the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator during the 2018 season, but was fired during Week 15, apparently due to a conflict of play-calling interests with head coach Mike Zimmer, who wanted to focus more on the run game than DeFilippo’s strengths with the pass game.

However, despite a lack of calling the run, Vikings quarterback had a historic season as a passer when it came to efficiency, being the first QB in NFL history to throw for 4000+ yards, 30+ touchdowns, 10 or fewer interceptions, and complete at least 70% of his passes. Much of this can be credited to DeFilippo’s influence in the passing game.

Previous to Minnesota, DeFilippo was the Philadelphia Eagles QBs coach during their 2017-18 Super Bowl run, where he was key to the development of Carson Wentz and rejuvenation of Nick Foles’ career after Wentz tore his ACL. He also served as offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2015, where then-36 year old Josh McCown posted the second most touchdown passes of his 13 year career with 12 in eight games, along with 2109 passing yards, a 63.7 completion percentage, and only four interceptions.

DeFilippo’s first NFL coaching job came in 2005 as an offensive quality control coach under then New York Giants head coach and current EVP of Football Operations for the Jaguars, Tom Coughlin. So there’s a definite connection to the team in ths hire.

At the end of the day, the Jaguars number one priority this offseason has to be, and will be, fixing their passing game woes. Quarterback Blake Bortles needs to be replaced, and the team’s next signal caller must be groomed into a successful QB. DeFilippo has proven with Cousins, Foles/Wentz, as well as Josh McCown in Cleveland during the 2015 season, that he’s capable of doing just that.

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