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Previewing the Jaguars 2018 Season: Week 1 @ New York Giants

Ruairi Songer



Dec 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning passes against the Washington Redskins during first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 season should be an interesting year for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Coming off their first playoff campaign since 2007, they will finally have their chance to prove that they are not just a “one-year wonder.” However, the 2018 schedule will bring lots of challenges and unfamiliar opponents.

In this article, we will be breaking down the first enemy of the 2018 season, the New York Giants.

Series History: 

Series tied 3-3

Last meeting: 11/30/2014 @ Everbank Field (Jaguars 25 – Giants 24)


Although the Giants and Jaguars don’t meet enough to form an interesting rivalry, there are still plenty of reasons to be excited about this game. Tom Coughlin has spent considerable amounts of time with both teams, and will faceoff against the Giants for the first time since being fired by the organization in 2016. Fans will get to witness the long-awaited match-up of cornerback Jalen Ramsey vs. wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., as well as running back Saquon Barkley’s first regular season NFL game.

Game Information:

9/9/18, 1:00pm @ Metlife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ


(* indicates projected starter)

Eli Manning*, Davis Webb, Kyle Lauletta

Dec 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning passes against the Washington Redskins during first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

After a mediocre 2017 performance by Eli Manning, many Giants fans called for a replacement such as Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold. However, Giants GM Dave Gettleman made it clear early-on that the Giants were committed to Manning and believed in his abilities.

While Manning has shown signs of decline, he is still a seasoned veteran who could test the Jaguars secondary. He has posted a completion percentage above 60% over the past four seasons, and posted passer ratings of 90+ in two of the last four years. Interestingly, Manning excels while playing in September. Over the last two years, Manning’s completion percentage is 12.2% higher in September than in other months. He also recorded an average of 13.5 points higher passer rating while playing in September. This is unfortunate for the Jaguars, as they will be facing a fresh Eli.

Kyle Lauletta is an interesting project quarterback. Coming out of Richmond college, Lauletta was one of the most accurate QBs in college football and had an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl. It is unlikely that the Jags will face Lauletta, but he could be a name to remember for the future.

Running Backs

Saquon Barkley*, Jonathan Stewart, Wayne Gallman, Paul Perkins

Sep 17, 2016; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Temple Owls at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Temple 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Saquon Barkley will create a unique challenge for the Jaguars defense. The former Penn State RB, and #2 overall pick, has a remarkable combination of athleticism and instinct that makes him a big-play threat on every down. He is just as much of a threat as a pass-catcher as he is a runner. Telvin Smith and Myles Jack will be tasked with containing the explosive rookie RB.

Jonathan Stewart could possibly see playtime as a 3rd down back. However, the veteran RB’s play has been declining since 2015, and shouldn’t create much of a prevalent threat excluding at the goal line.

It is very possible that the Giants offense attempts to make this a “statement game,” by attempting to establish the running game early. New York hasn’t been able to effectively run the ball since Ahmad Bradshaw’s breakout year in 2012. Finding success with the running game could take pressure off Eli Manning, both against the Jaguars and future opponents.

Wide Receivers

Odell Beckham Jr*, Sterling Shepherd*, Cody Latimer, Roger Lewis, Amba Etta-Tawo

Sep 24, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) makes a one handed touchdown catch past Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills (31) during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The superstar match-up between ‏Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Jalen Ramsey will undoubtedly be the biggest headline of the game. Ramsey will be coming off his first Pro-bowl, and Beckham will play his first regular season game since he suffered a season-ending ankle injury in October of 2017. The two ultra-competitive players should produce a handful of highlight-worthy plays.

Sterling Shepherd has been a productive slot receiver over his first two NFL seasons, and could find success against the soft-spot in the Jags defense: Slot Corner. This will be an important game for Jalen Myrick, DJ Hayden and Quenton Meeks who will be competing for a the third cornerback spot.

After Beckham and Shepherd, the Giants receiving talent takes a huge dip. Roger Lewis was formidable in a pinch last year after injuries took out Beckham and Shepherd. Amba-Etta Tawo, former Jaguar, will get a chance to face off against his old team. Cody Latimer, former 2nd rounder for the Broncos, showed small flashes of production in 2017.

Tight Ends

Evan Engram*, Rhett Ellison, Kyle Carter, Shane Smith

Second-year tight end Evan Engram is one of the better receiving tight-ends in the league. Despite being part of an anemic Giants offense, he managed to post 700 yards receiving and 6 touchdowns in his rookie season. While Engram is a talented pass-catcher, the Jaguars may be able to exploit his poor blocking in run situations. Engram garnered one of the lowest grades run-blocking grades among tight ends in 2017, according to Pro Football Focus.

Aside from Engram, the Giants tight end depth is devoid of talent. Rhett Ellison has played in the NFL for six years and has yet to post over 250 receiving yards in a season. Carter and Smith aren’t locks to make the final roster.

Offensive Line

Nate Solder* LT, Will Hernandez* LG, Brett Jones* C, Patrick Omameh* RG, Ereck Flowers* RT,  Chad Wheeler, John Greco

Dave Gettleman reconstructed the Giants offensive line in the offseason by adding LT Nate Solder and rookie LG Will Hernandez. While these players are certainly talented, the line isn’t completely fixed. Justin Pugh, the Giants most essential and versatile offensive lineman, signed with the Cardinals in the offseason. Solder has never fared exceptionally well in pass protection and Hernandez, while promising, is still a rookie. Ereck Flowers, John Jerry, Brett Jones, Chad Wheeler, and ex-Jaguar Patrick Omameh are all possible starters with below average talent.

Yannick Ngakoue could find some success against Solder’s lackluster pass protection, and Dante Fowler Jr. should fare well against an under-performing Flowers. Veteran DL Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson, and Marcell Dareus should see a dominant performance against a mediocre Giants interior O-line.

Defensive Backs

Janoris Jenkins* CB, Eli Apple* CB, Landon Collins* SS, Darian Thompson* FS, William Gay, Curtis Riley

A once dominant Giants secondary appears rather weak heading into 2018. On the positive side, Landon Collins is a pro-bowl caliber safety, and Janoris Jenkins can be one of the better corners in the league when motivated to play. Unfortunately for the Giants, former first rounder, Eli Apple, has proved to be an issue in the locker room. He was suspended for a game due to a heated exchange with coaches and has been referred to as a “cancer” by teammate Landon Collins. Apple’s play on the field has been unimpressive, but with the departure of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, he may earn a starting spot as a CB2.

William Gay has only started 10 games in the last two seasons, and will be nearly 34 by September. Darian Thompson earned a PFF grade of 52.2 in 2017, good for only the 69th grade best out of qualifying safeties.

DJ Chark and Keelan Cole could prove to be an unfair matchup if lined up against Apple or Gay. Gay doesn’t possess the speed to keep up with Chark or Cole, while Apple can be stiff in coverage and could get beat if baited into one of Chark’s polished double moves.


Alec Ogletree*, BJ Goodson*, Kareem Martin*, Olivier Vernon*, Lorenzo Carter, Ray-Ray Armstrong

Sep 10, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle (84) dives for more yards after a first quarter catch as Los Angeles Rams middle linebacker Alec Ogletree (52) moves in for the stop at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants new defensive coordinator James Bettcher will be introducing a 3-4 defensive set in 2018. This will benefit players such as former-Cardinal Kareem Martin and rookie edge rusher Lorenzo Carter, who are built to be 3-4 edge rushers. Olivier Vernon is one of the brighter spots on the Giants LB core, and should also transition well to the new scheme as a standing rusher. Alec Ogletree will have to improve his play after struggling under the Wade Phillips 3-4 variant for the Rams last year. BJ Goodson will be entering his third season in the NFL and has yet to show anything particularly impressive about his play, despite being on IR the year prior.

Defensive Line

Damon Harrison*, Dalvin Tomlinson*, BJ Hill, Josh Mauro (suspended), RJ McIntosh

Former UDFA Damon Harrison was was one of the best defensive lineman in the league in 2017 and excelled in defending the run. Dalvin Tomlinson outperformed the expectations of many as a rookie and was also a run-stopping force. Newly signed free agent Josh Mauro will be suspended for 4 games. BJ Hill, rookie out of NC State, is an athletic freak with tools and plenty of upside, but will take time to develop.

Although Nathaniel Hackett loves the inside run game, the Giants interior defenders could make finding success with the inside runs difficult. Being able to run to the outside will be crucial to Leonard Fournette’s success.


The Jaguars offensive game plan should focus on a heavy run-game with an emphasis on outside runs. As far as the passing game goes, targeting Apple and William Gay and staying away from Janoris Jenkins should reduce turnover potential. Establishing a running game early-on would create an opportunity to take a deep shot either to either Cole or Chark.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Jags will have to counter a quick pass or quick screen game. The Giants know that their offensive line is outmatched, and will most likely try to get the ball out quickly on every play. This would likely involve screens to Barkley as well as quick slant throws to Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepherd. Incorporating more Cover 2 looks into their typical man-to-man defensive scheme will give Ramsey and Bouye freedom to make plays against the screen and run.

While the Giants have made some strides in improving their roster, and will have players returning from IR, I don’t believe they outmatch the Jaguars roster. With the state of the Giants O-line, and the Jaguars pass rush, they will have to rely on a dink-and-dunk offense. On the defensive side, their secondary will be constantly challenged by the deep threats of Keelan Cole and DJ Chark, leaving extra room for Fournette to slash through their defense.

Score Prediction:

Jaguars 31 – Giants 13


Keep an eye out for the next article, in which we preview the week two AFC Championship rematch against the New England Patriots…

Ruairi Songer is a lifelong Jags fan and Duval native. You can follow him on Twitter (@ruairi_s) for Jags news, Draft information, and off-season updates.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

2019 NFL Draft: Jacksonville Jaguars Senior Bowl Wish-List

Zach Goodall



Sep 21, 2018; Orlando, FL, USA; UCF Knights running back Taj McGowan (4) reacts after his rushing touchdown during the second half against the Florida Atlantic Owls at Spectrum Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Senior Bowl, an annual NFL Draft prospect all-star game in Mobile, Alabama, has sent out its first wave of invitations for their 2019 exhibition. NFL scouts from every team will be in attendance, as the NCAA’s best senior football players will be putting their abilities on display.

Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell has a strong history of liking Senior Bowl prospects. Last year, the team drafted two players they watched in Mobile in WR D.J. Chark (2nd round) from LSU and QB Tanner Lee (6th round) from Nebraska. Caldwell has also selected DE Dawuane Smoot, TE Ben Koyack, OL Brandon Linder, LB Telvin Smith, CB Aaron Colvin, RB Denard Robinson, CB Dwayne Gratz, and SS Johnathan Cyprien after watching them at the bowl game.

The 2019 Senior Bowl will be packed with talent that the Jaguars will need to keep a close eye on. Chris Thornton and I will be attending the week of practice and game, reporting on who the Jaguars meet with and eyeing prospects to watch for for the 2019 NFL Draft.

As invites continue to go out and get accepted, here is my wish-list of players who should be at the Senior Bowl, from a Jaguars need and fit perspective. For players who I haven’t watched in depth yet, I trust the scouts of The Draft Network’s analysis and have linked their scouting reports.

QB: Daniel Jones, Duke

There will be plenty of intriguing QB prospects in Mobile, and if Daniel Jones can graduate on time as a redshirt junior, he may be the most intriguing of the pack. The three-year starter comes from the Manning branch of QBs, as his head coach David Cutcliffe coached both Peyton and Eli during their college days and has the brothers attend the Duke offseason program yearly.

Jones is a West-Coast passing offense fit, which meshes perfectly with what the Jaguars run in a power-run offense. Jones doesn’t have as high of a ceiling as passers such as Justin Herbert (Oregon) and Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State), which drops his stock for me to the late first/early second round, but in what is regarded generall as a weak QB class, Jones could skyrocket up draft boards this offseason. Here is an in-depth scouting report that I did on Jones last week.

RB: Taj McGowan, UCF

Taj McGowan has never been a starter during his four-year career at UCF, but he’s flashed enough to warrant a prospect bowl invitation for teams to see more of what he offers. The 6-1, 209 lb senior RB runs with a bruising style, and receives the buld of UCF’s goal-line and short-yardage carries. He has posted a career stat-line of 239 carries for 988 yards and 17 touchdowns.

McGowan fits the Jaguars power-run style of offense where backs mainly receive the ball and target the interior offensive line. While he won’t get drafted high at all come April, he deserves a chance to prove himself and potentially find a way to get his name called on Day 3, or at worst get signed as an undrafted free agent. The Senior Bowl can provide that opportunity.

WR: Anthony Johnson, Buffalo

While Tyree Jackson gets all the hype out of the University of Buffalo, Anthony Johnson is a draftable prospect from the MAC program and is Jackson’s No. 1 target in the pass game. The 6-2, 207 receiver is impressive at making sideline catches and adjusts to poorly thrown passes well, however isn’t overly athletic and has a limited route tree. He would be a bit of a developental prospect, but his size and ability to make plays are intriguing.

TE: Tommy Sweeney, Boston College

While watching guard Chris Lindstrom from Boston College, Tommy Sweeney caught my eye with his size and ability as a pass-catcher. He stands at 6-5, 255 and comes from a power-running system so he is familiar with in-line blocking, which he excels at.

He’s not going to win contested catches, but finds wasy to get open and bring the ball in with few drops. He’s not the most dynamic or intriguing tight end in this class, but he appears to be a high-floor type of prospect who could serve as a solid No. 2 behind Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

OL: Chris Lindstrom, Boston College

A true old-fashioned, power scheme guard who eats defenders alive in the run game, Lindstrom is the ideal A.J. Cann replacement and one of my favorite Jaguars-fit prospects in this draft. Lindstrom is a fantastic, athletic pull-blocker who understands man-responsibility and has a strong anchor and constantly drives through linemen when down-blocking. He mirrors well in pass protection as well but his pass block punches can be inconsistent. Lindstrom is a dream lead-blocker along the interior for a running back in any power scheme, so he’d become Leonard Fournette’s best friend in Jacksonville.

iDL: Cortez Broughton, Cincinnati

While working on a film room piece for for the upcoming UCF vs. Cincinnati game, one player that stood out to me on the Bearcats defense was tackle Cortez Broughton. The 6-2, 290 lb senior has recorded 17.5 tackles for loss through ten games this year, which is more than several projected first round picks such as Alabama’s Quinnen Williams (14), BC’s Zach Allen (13.5), FSU’s Brian Burns (13.5), and Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell (13).

Broughton is a great run-stuffer who usually takes on and beats double-team down blocks while maintaining ap responsibility. He isn’t an overly agile pass rusher and won’t “wow” you with his moves, but he could provide valuable depth as a rotating, run-defending nose tackle at the next level.

EDGE: Jalen Jelks, Oregon

Jelks is a big-bodied EDGE defender at 6-5, 245 lbs, who is considered a bit of a project among draft analysts, but has desireable traits with quickness off of the line of scrimmage and raw power.

This sounds similar to what we heard about Taven Bryan as a prospect last year, and the Jaguars clearly feel comfortable adding these types of project players to their defensive line. Jelks could immediately provide pressure as a Dante Fowler Jr. replacement at defensive end and develop into a long-term starter if Taven Bryan were to move back to defensive tackle (where I believe he belongs).

LB: T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin

I never thought I’d say this, but the Jaguars are missing the presence of Paul Posluzny on defense. Not from a play standpoint, as he truly had slown down in the final years of his career which led to bad pursuit of runners and blown coverages in the middle of the field, but as communicator and gap shooter vs. the run.

That mold is what Edwards provides. The 6-1, 248 lb linebacker is a natural run-stopper and physical defender who controls the playing field and offers four years of valuable paying experience, where he has recorded 34.5 tackles for loss and nine interceptions. He isn’t considered rangy in pass coverage, but serviceable.

CB: Michael Jackson, Miami

The Jaguars are in need of outside cornerback depth, with the position getting banged up this year and keeping two undrafted free agents on the roster as the current depth. Jackson fits that mold and is also an excellent special teamer. He stands at 6-0, 205 lbs, plays physical in coverage and coming down to make a tackle, and has recorded four career interceptions and nine defended passes. He hasn’t recorded an INT this year, which may be concerning, but the Jaguars don’t need to go cornerback early so Jackson dropping down draft boards could be in their favor if they are interested in his services.

S: Ugochukwu Amadi, Oregon

The 5-9, 197 lb safety is a little short, but he’s incredibly fluid and athletic in space as a guy who can roam and get the ball. A rangy coverage defender, Amadi can be the heir apparent to free safety Tashaun Gipson a la Ronnie Harrison to Barry Church at strong safety for the Jaguars.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars vs. Steelers: Friday Injury Report, A.J. Cann Questionable

Demetrius Harvey



Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Pittsburgh Steelers have released their Friday injury report ahead of their matchup at TIAA Bank Field this weekend. The Jaguars will most likely be without Left Tackle Josh Walker as he is listed as doubtful. The Jaguars will be without Rookie Corner Quenton Meeks as he is listed as OUT for Sunday’s game. Ereck Flowers will start in Walker’s place at left tackle with Patrick Omameh very likely being his immediate backup.

Luckily for the Jaguars, although they will not have Meeks, they will have A.J. Bouye back from his calf injury suffered shortly before the Eagles matchup a couple of weeks ago. This should be a boost to the Jaguars secondary.

Nose Tackle Eli Ankou will also likely miss this Sunday’s game, which was worth keeping an eye on due to the fact that Marcell Dareus was battling an injury of his own and is listed as questionable this week. Luckily, Dareus will likely be able to at least suit up for the Jaguars this Sunday.

Guard A.J. Cann is questionable this week as well, and if he cannot play, the Jaguars will likely turn to either Chris Reed to start in his place or to newly signed guard/tackle Patrick Omameh.

Bouye, Gipson, and Telvin Smith are not listed on this weeks status report indicating they are good to go for this Sunday’s game.

Below are the teams’ injury reports:


CB Quenton Meeks (Knee): Out

OL Josh Walker (Foot/Ankle): Doubtful

DT Eli Ankou (Calf): Doubtful

OL A.J. Cann (Hamstring): Questionable

DT Marcell Dareus (Triceps/Back): Questionable


DE Stephon Tuitt (Elbow): Out

OL Marcus Gilbert (Knee): Out

For the Steelers, they will be without tackle Marcus Gilbert for the fourth straight week, and they will also be without tackle Marcus Gilbert. James Conner, who practiced fully all of this week, will be good to go.

Because of the injuries the Jaguars will face a familiar face on the Steelers defensive line in DE Tyson Alualu. The Steelers will start Matt Feiler. This will be the fourth consequtive start for Feiler.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars vs. Steelers: Thursday Injury Report, Josh Walker likely Out

Demetrius Harvey



Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Pittsburgh Steelers have released their Thursday injury reports ahead of this Sunday’s game at TIAA Bank Field. For the Jaguars, they are finally back healthy after weeks of having several starters miss practice during the week. Although they are not *fully* healthy, the Jaguars starters that are on the injury report will more than likely play, and will be practicing in some capacity today.

The only key injury worth noting this week has been to Left Tackle Josh Walker. Walker has started for the Jaguars for several weeks after Josh Wells went down with an injury. All indications point to Ereck Flowers starting for the Jaguars this week. He will have his hands full with T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree.

Jaguars Cornerback A.J. Bouye, who missed the past two games with a calf injury, looks good to go this week as he has so far been able to tough it out in practice.

The only additions to this weeks injury reports have been  Tashaun Gipson with a wrist injury and Marcell Dareus with a triceps injury. Neither of those injuries appears to be bad enough to miss this Sunday’s game, however, we will keep a close eye on the status report to be released tomorrow.

A late addition to the Jaguars injury report this afternoon was OL A.J. Cann. Cann suffered a hamstring injury and was limited today.

If the Jaguars miss Cann this week they are potentially in big trouble. Omameh would likely start for Cann.

Below are the teams’ injury reports:


CB A.J. Bouye (Calf): Full Participation

S Tashaun Gipson (Wrist): Full Participation

LB Lerentee McCray (Hamstring): Full Participation

LB Telvin Smith (Shoulder): Full Participation

OL Ereck Flowers (Knee): Limited Participation

DT Marcell Dareus (Triceps): Limited Participation

OL A.J. Cann (Hamstring): Limited Participation

CB Quenton Meeks (Knee): Did Not Participate

DT Eli Ankou (Calf): Did Not Participate

OL Josh Walker (Foot/Ankle): Did Not Participate


QB Ben Roethlisberger (Coaches Decision): Full Participation

RB James Conner (Concussion): Full Participation

G Ramon Foster (Coaches Decision): Did Not Participate

OT Marcus Gilbert (Knee): Did Not Participate

DE Stephon Tuitt (Elbow): Did Not Participate

The Steelers will more than likely be without two key starters, and neither of those starters will be James Conner. Conner entered this week in the concussion protocol and the past two practices he has been able to practice fully.

Conner will suit up for his first start against the Jaguars defense that has to be hungry after completely ruining the Jaguars chance at victory last week.

The Steelers will be without Stephon Tuitt and Marcus Gilbert most likely.  No one else on the Steelers small injury report is in danger of missing the game.

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