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ROUNDTABLE: Jacksonville Jaguars First Quarter Team Report Card

Zach Goodall

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Jun 12, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; A view of the outside of the stadium at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Locked On Jaguars writing team is here to dish out grades for the Jacksonville Jaguars performance through the first quarter of the season after starting 3-1. We will break the grades down into four categories: Offense, defense, special teams, and coaching.

Let’s get to the report card.

Zach Goodall

Offense: B

Even without RB Leonard Fournette on the field for about 75% of the offenses snaps, the Jaguars offense remains in the middle of the pack in total yards per game at 380 (15th in NFL), pass yards per game at 266.5 (15th), and rush yards per game at 113.5 (13th). Considering Fournette is the focal point of the offense when he is on the field, and these rankings are pretty solid.

Defense: A

Box score scouts will say the Jaguars defense has regressed, as they only have 10 sacks and two turnovers through the first four games this year compared to 18 sacks and 10 turnovers last year. However, Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye have only been targeted on 31 of 118 passing attempts (26%) – QBs aren’t testing them. The pass rush has also generated 69 QB pressures on 123 pass rushing snaps. Pretty nice, in my opinion.

Special Teams: B+

Josh Lambo is a perfect 8/8 on field goals and 8/8 on extra points. Logan Cooke has pinned teams inside the 20 yard line on 11 of 20 punts (11 ranks third in the NFL). And when punts are returned by opposing teams, the coverage unit is allowing a mere 4.6 yards per return (T-4th in NFL). While Jaydon Mickens hasn’t created much (5.3 yards per punt return on 10 returns), I’d say the special teams unit has been pretty good where it really matters.

Coaching: B+

I truly believe the Jaguars went into the Tennessee game with the offensive gameplan centering around Fournette being available, and the failure to adjust without having him on the field led to a bad outing. Other than that, the coaching has done a great job scheming around opponents weaknesses and developing this team as a whole.

Chris Thornton

Offense: B+

Inconsistent in scoring, the Jaguars offense needs to show more longevity and the ability to be more two-dimensional.

Defense: A

The Jaguars defense leads the league in most categories except turnovers. Still not letting offenses do anything though, so I can’t fault them for not getting the ball.

Special Teams: A

Josh Lambo has been phenomenal per usual and coverage looks much better than last year on kickoffs and punts.

Coaching: B+

I’d give an A but I consider the Titans loss to be the fault of poor coaching. If the team had a 4-0 record and were leading the division, I’d give the A. Division leaders get A’s.

Demetrius Harvey

Offense: C+

The Jaguars offense for the most part has played well this season. Blake Bortles has posted two of the best games of his career (Patriots and Jets) and has contributed to key moments in the season which has allowed the Jaguars to get off to a quick start. If Bortles plays well, the Jaguars will. The only negatives so far have absolutely been the injuries. Last season, the Jaguars were very fortunate to not suffer many key injuries, however this year along the offensive line as well as at the running back position, the injuries are starting to pile up. The Jaguars offense also has played poor enough to lose the game for the entire team (Titans), the inconsistencies are what bring the grade down so much.

Defense: A+

The Jaguars defense has been everything and more that you could want from this unit. They single-handily can win games for this team and showed as much during week one with their defensive touchdown by Myles Jack. The Jaguars are currented ranked number one in total defense (YPG), passing YPG, and are 10th in rushing yards per game. The run defense should not come as a surprise as the Jaguars were ranked 15th last season. There are not many flaws in this defense at all, and that should be about what we expected.

Special Teams: B

The Jaguars special teams is a very good unit thus far in the season as kicker Josh Lambo has a perfect 8/8 field goals this season. He is also 8/8 in PAT. Logan Cooke, although he hasn’t been the best at flipping the field this season, has had 11 total punts inside the 20-yard line only 20 punts total. The negatives for the Jaguars have been in the return game. Jaguars punt returner Jaydon Mickens is only averaging 5.3 yards per punt return. There have been very few kick returns.

Coaching: A

Considering what the Jaguars have been able to muster out of their offense that includes an inconsistent Blake Bortles and a depleted running backs group, not to mention a young receiver group, I would have to give their coaching an A. Obviously, the defensive group is already well coached, and the head coaches’ decisions have been sound. The only reason this is not an A+ for me is simply because there have been so many penalties, and while that does not completely reflect on the coaching, it does show some lack of discipline.

Zak Dewitt

Offense: B+

The playcalling has been surprisingly good so far this year, save for the Titans game. The Jaguars offense has adapted well without Fournette but I want to see how they do knowing he’ll be out for a while.

Defense: A-

The defense has continued it’s dominant play from last year and the secondary is still suffocating. They’ve clamped down more on tight ends compared to last year but I wanna see our defensive line get home more. They’re generating pressure but not capitalizing.

Special Teams: B

There haven’t been too many ups or downs for the special teams unit this year. Logan Cooke has performed and Josh Lambo has been perfect. One thing I want to see is more success from the punt and kick returners.

Coaching: A

Coaching this year has been really good overall. They’ve been putting the team in good situations. My only gripe is that DC Todd Wash needs to start generating more pressure with blitzes and trust his corners in man coverage more often.

Ruairi Songer

Offense: B+

Excluding an anemic performance against the Titans, the Jaguars offense has played admirably. The Jags have been able to unleash a surprisingly effective passing game in the absence of Leonard Fournette.

Defense: A-

The fact that the Jags defense can receive this grade even while not playing to their fullest potential is astounding. The Jaguars defense has been suffocating it’s opponents, allowing the fewest PPG, YPG, and passing YPG. If they can force more turnovers and reduce mistakes, their grade will be even higher in Q2.

Special Teams: B-

Josh Lambo has yet to miss a field goal, going 8/8 so far. Logan Cooke lacks incredible leg strength but has shown the ability to pin opponents deep with accurate punts. Kick and punt return defense has been solid.

Coaching: B

Nate Hackett is still questionably conservative, but has shown increased confidence in Bortles, giving him more opportunities in the passing game. Todd Wash has taken some flak for his increased use of zone coverages, but they seem to be effective as the Jaguars defense has only allowed 14 PPG.

Dylan Goldman

Offense: B+

Overall, I’m pleased with the offense’s performance, given that Leonard Fournette has barely played, and tackle Cam Robinson had a season-ending injury early in Week 2. QB Blake Bortles has had two great performances, but the offenses’ stinker against Tennessee keeps them from getting an A.

Defense: A-

The defense hasn’t been getting turnovers at the rate they did last year, but they’ve been dominant, and have picked up the offense when they lagged behind.

Special Teams: B-

Josh Lambo has been perfect so far, and rookie Logan Cooke has been very solid at punter. The return game has left a lot to be desired, but so far so good for the special teams unit.

Coaching: B

I absolutely loved Nate Hackett’s game plan in Week 2, but he laid an egg in Week 3. The coaching staff hasn’t been anything special, but they earn a solid B in my grade book.

Christian Bedgood

Offense: B-

Weighed down by the inconsistencies of one Blake Bortles, the Jaguars’ offense would be graded higher if not for their QB’s performances against the Giants and Titans. In both games, Bortles had a sub 4.6 adjusted yards/attempt. In the other two? Both above nine. Consistency is key, folks.

Defense: A-

All while the Jaguars haven’t had many sacks and turnovers, who are last in the league in percentage of drives ending in an offensive turnover, they still do not give up many points. The unit currently is 9th in the league in percentage of drives ending in a score and give up the least points per game.

Special Teams: A
I don’t know much, but I know Logan Cooke and Josh Lambo are good. Cooke is 3rd in punts inside the 20-yard line and is 5th in average return yards. Lambo, on the other hand, had not missed a single kick, making two field goals beyond 40 yards. He also has not had a kick returned outside the 25-yard line, per Football Outsiders.

Coaching: B+

This grade should be higher, but being tied to Bortles’ poor performances as a play caller, you have to change things when it’s obvious that your quarterback isn’t playing well. Nathaniel Hackett has called some masterful drives in four weeks, but him not being able to counter Bortles playing poor or not knowing what to do besides run into a wall when Fournette is rarely healthy have been black clouds hovering over the season thus far.

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 to open seven training camp practices to fans in 2019

Demetrius Harvey

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

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced today they will be opening seven practices during training camp to the public. The first four training camp practices will be open to the public. Practice on Saturday, July 27, is open exclusively to Jags365 Season Ticket Members and is scheduled for 8:45 a.m.

The team’s first practice in full pads will also be open to fans on Sunday, July 28 at 8:45 a.m. All seven of the Jaguars’ Florida Blue open practices are scheduled to take place at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex on the northwest corner of TIAA Bank Field.

2019 JAGUARS OPEN TRAINING CAMP PRACTICES

Thursday, July 25 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Friday, July 26 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Saturday, July 27 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m. Open exclusively to Jags 365 Season Ticket Members
Sunday, July 28 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Tuesday, July 30 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Wednesday, July 31 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Thursday, August 1 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.

Fans are required to register here for each training camp session and tickets will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis. Gates will open to fans at 8:15 a.m., 30 minutes prior to the start of practice.

Parking is available in Lots M and N, and concessions and merchandise will be available for purchase on-site Limited player autograph availability will occur following each practice.

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53 Man Roster

Jaguars 2019 position group breakdown: Running Backs

Brandon Carroll

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Dec 23, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) runs down the field during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Similar to their quarterback situation, the Jacksonville Jaguars have attempted to answer some questions in terms of the run game in this year’s offseason. Jacksonville went through a full remodel in an attempt to add veteran presence that can sustain the ground attack if injury strikes the team yet again in 2019. 

Two years ago, the Jaguars were a team that led the NFL in rushing at 527 attempts throughout the regular season. Nearly 50 carries ahead of any other team in the league. On those 527 attempted the Jaguars saw heights in production not seen since the Maurice Jones-Drew. 

That production staggered in yardage and overall sustainability of the offense with their lackluster quarterback play last season. This was all due to the injuries of star running back Leonard Fournette and the majority of the offensive line. Without Fournette, the Jaguars only accumulated half the yardage in 2018 Fournette produced in 2017 with T.J. Yeldon and Carlos Hyde leading the affair. 

Being a strong part of the offensive system, the Jaguars win total saw a sharp decrease and the team swagger that carried them to the 2017 AFC playoffs had vanished.

Jacksonville looked to replenish their running back room and get back to the strong, effective run game they saw in 2017 that made them so successful. 

Adding Alfred Blue, Benny Cunningham, Thomas Rawls and more through free agency, as well as, drafting former Temple running back, Ryquell Armstead the Jaguars made a good move in adding reliable to back up Fournette in the backfield. 

Projected Running Back Depth Chart:
*italicized indicates starter, underline indicates picked up via draft/free agency
Leonard Fournette, Alfred Blue, Benny Cunningham, Ryquell Armstead.

Leading the pack coming into 2019 is Leonard Fournette. Fournette is a player that has all the major attributes to be a star player in the NFL if he could just stay healthy. Fournette missed eight games last season and seven due to injury which caused the Jaguars offense to stall in his absence. 

He is a player that combines strong downhill running with game-breaking speed. Abilities not many can combine nevertheless replace. He is a generational talent who looks to return to his rookie form in 2019. 

Fournette looks to be getting back on track this season and “refocused on football.” Him being able to stay on the field will be a huge plus for a Jaguars team that has struggled offensively for many years. 

The next two players on the depth chart are veteran backs Alfred Blue and Benny Cunningham. 

Blue being a signee from the Houston Texans roster and an experienced back who knows how to get yardage necessary to sustain drives. While receiving very little touches in the Houston offense he played the backup role well and was a reliable source of receiving out of the backfield.

Blue will be used more as a third-down back in the Jaguars offense. 

The same goes for Cunningham. Coming over from the Bears, which last season saw two top-caliber running backs in Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen sharing carries, Cunningham got lost in the shuffle. Cunningham is a great receiving threat out of the backfield and can play solid minutes in his role on his new team. 

Having two players that can play roles, and play them well is vital for any team in the NFL. Taking fatigue and potential injury into account getting Cunningham and Blue was one of the more important moves the Jaguars made this offseason. The Jaguars acquired two reliable backs for new quarterback Nick Foles to work with on downs where Fournette is not in the game. 

Next on the team’s depth chart is the Jaguars 2019 fifth-round pick out of Temple, Ryquell Armstead. In his senior year, Armstead scored 13 touchdowns and averaged nearly 6.5 yards per carry. Armstead’s progression through his college career was a sight to see. After starting his career as a bulkier strong runner, Armstead slimmed down to become a more complete back and utilized his opportunity at Temple to make it to the NFL. 

Posting 2,987 yards and 34 touchdowns over his career, Armstead looks to carry on those impressive numbers at the next level. Armstead is a runner with great field vision and patience behind the line of scrimmage. He bursts through the open hole and is willing to lower the shoulder to gain extra yardage. Armstead says that he models his game after former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs. 

He describes himself as an angry runner. “I run angry, I run violent. I look for contact— that’s something that makes me unique.” Armstead stated in an interview with CBS sports. 

The type of physical running Armstead brings to the table is something the Jaguars have had success within recent memory. That willingness to create contact and run hard for his team to succeed is an attribute any team would love to have with their running back. 

A player that very strongly resembles Leonard Fournette in terms of running style was a guy the Jaguars looked at as a potential steal in the fifth round. An aggressive, one-cut runner who can run over opponents or bounce it to the outside and take off down the sideline. 

Armstead had the second-fastest time in the 40-yard dash among eligible running backs at the 2019 NFL combine at 4.49 seconds. Being a player with blazing speed mixed with a downhill running style, Armstead could see minutes directly behind Fournette later in the season. Armstead is an intriguing prospect but his development as a pass-catcher out of the backfield will need to improve for him to solidify the playing time this season. 

While the Jaguars have many running backs on the roster, all of them cannot stay. Unless there is a huge jump of progression when training camp starts later in the month, Thomas Rawls and Taj McGowan have very little shot of making the team. 

After last season, the Jaguars have done whatever it takes to assure they have depth at this position. Being able to provide multiple sources of production is important for any team. By providing this depth, the Jaguars hope it can get the job done and they can return to the success seen in the running game just two seasons ago. 

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Jacksonville Jaguars

REPORT: Jaguars to sign former WVU WR Marcus Simms

Demetrius Harvey

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Oct 13, 2018; Ames, IA, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Marcus Simms (8) runs the football against the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have made a roster move signing former West Virginia WR Marcus Simms according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Simms was slated to participate in the supplemental draft after filing the paperwork on June 20th.

Simms will make for interesting competition for the Jaguars as we inch closer to training camp. Simms accumulated 87 receptions for 1457 yards and eight touchdowns in his three-year career at West Virginia. Simms has also made his name known in the return game totaling 992 yards as a kick returner. According to reports, Simms ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4-4.49 seconds, with a vertical jump of 36″, a broad jump of 10-2 and three-cone time of 6.91 seconds. After his physical tomorrow, the Jaguars will have to make a corresponding move.

Simms will look to compete for a bottom-of-the-roster position with players such as Terrelle Pryor and Keelan Cole. If the Jaguars intend on retaining six receivers Simms will have a good shot at making the roster. By all accounts, Simms was a draftable player.

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