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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 DE Yannick Ngakoue has plenty of leverage, wont use it

Demetrius Harvey

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Jul 26, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) runs a protection route during training camp at the Dream Finder Homes practice facility outside of TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

As the Jaguars began voluntary OTAs today there was at least one major storyline. Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue was present at practice today and plans to be present for the entire offseason. With Ngakoue ready for a new contract, many speculated he would be holding out until the contract is signed. That is not the case and Ngakoue stated today at his media presser, “I don’t have to be here, but I chose to be here.”

Showing up for voluntary OTAs is significant as it is typically a time when a player up for a contract would be almost expected to sit out due to the risk of injury. Jalen Ramsey, for example, works out in Nashville where he is most comfortable. Although he would be in Nashville regardless of contract, it is still an incentive to stay away for now.

“Just trying to build some team camaraderie, being a leader — that’s the main reason I came back” Ngakoue stated when asked why he was back for voluntary OTAs. Ngakoue taking more of a leadership role this offseason is already off to a roaring start. Showing up and leading by example for young players such as Josh Allen, Taven Bryan, etc, will pay dividends for the Jaguars future.

Earlier this offseason two players — Frank Clark and Demarcus Lawrence — earned contracts of upwards to $100M and Ngakoue is prepared to accept the same. Although he will ultimately let his agent perform the heavy lifting. When asked about the contracts of Clark and Lawrence and the prospect of getting a similar $100M contract, Ngakoue said, “It’s not a secret, we all can go on the computer and see what they did — that money don’t mean nothing but I know what I’m worth.”

This is great for the Jaguars and sets the tone for a potential future extension for Ngakoue. He is saying all of the right things, and this should give Jaguars fans something good to feel about as they continue throughout the offseason. Ngakoue is entering his fourth year and has accumulated 29.5 sacks through his first three seasons in the NFL. Ngakoue has shown the Jaguars no reason not to pay him as soon as possible. And they absolutely should.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Five significant Jaguars storylines heading into OTAs

Demetrius Harvey

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Jul 26, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) runs with the ball following a catch as Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack (44) runs behind during training camp at the Dream Finder Homes practice facility outside of TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The first of the Jaguars ten Organized Team Activities (OTAs) are starting today.  As the players get set to hit the field, there will be a multitude of storylines worth watching. This will be the first time the Jaguars coaches and their players can take part in 11 on 11 activities. Although there will be no pads for any of these practices.

The Jaguars will use this time to get better in terms of on-the-field performance, but their camaraderie as they get set to go with an abundance of new players, including the starting QB will be just as important.

The team’s OTAs will begin Tuesday (Today), May 21 and conclude on Friday, June 7, while the Jaguars’ three-day mandatory minicamp will take place June 11 – 13.

1. Nick Foles and the Jaguars offense

The Jaguars entered the 2019 offseason with a splash; signing quarterback Nick Foles to the highest guaranteed money a Jaguars player has ever received. Since then, they have made moves to allow for him to succeed, such as selecting tight end Josh Oliver and right tackle Jawaan Taylor in the draft just last month.

Quarterback is the most important position group on the team, and with Nick Foles at the center, all eyes will be on him from now on. It will be important for the Jaguars — and their fans —  to get a good look at the new offense under offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, and how well Foles can execute it. Although many fans feel the Jaguars did not adequately address the weapons on offense, there is a possibility the quarterback was holding the team back.

With Marqise Lee not ready yet, Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, and D.J. Chark will be the only Jaguars receivers on the Jaguars roster last season participating. It will be interesting to see their connection with Foles even as early as today.

2. How will the linebacker group shake out?

This storyline has almost as much intrigue as the quarterback situation. This is because of Telvin Smith posting an impromptu Instagram post revealing his intentions to sit out the 2019 season. The Jaguars have addressed the position during the offseason seemingly as a response to Smith not being in contact with the team prior to the draft. Selecting LB Quincy Williams at the bottom of the third round was the icing on the cake.

The Jaguars will look for a new weak-side linebacker and there have been plenty of questions of whether they will turn to a rookie, a new vet, or even Myles Jack to take over the position. Who takes over will be very important and we should get an answer sooner rather than later.

3. Rookies

The rookies are always a storyline and with the Jaguars selecting two premier players — Josh Allen and Jawaan Taylor — all eyes will be on them. Rookies are not typically thrust into starting positions too early, so do not it will not be a shock if Taylor is taking second-team reps or if Allen is not out there with the defensive line/linebacker group. However, it will be important to see exactly what position Allen plays as there has been speculation of him playing SAM since they drafted him.

Rookie TE Josh Oliver will be someone worth watching on offense. As mentioned earlier, he was a part of the Jaguars plan to get an influx of talent on offense. Quincy Williams, as previously mentioned, might be one of the more underrated rookies to watch for. How he plays during the offseason could change the entire linebacker group.

Obviously all eyes will be on the Jaguars rookies during the 10 OTAs starting today, however, these are the most important to keep an eye out on how they perform.

4. Safety situation

Probably one of the most talked about situations as far as depth on the roster this offseason has been safety. Before the end of the 2018 season, the Jaguars released strong safety Barry Church and circled back to release Tashaun Gipson earlier this offseason. This allowed then-rookie Ronnie Harrison to start in place of Church, and Jarrod Wilson to start in place of Gipson. How Wilson performs in this new role will be vital to the Jaguars success at free safety.

The Jaguars in this offseason have not addressed the safety position at all besides signing former AAF safety Josh Brown. How Jaguars undrafted rookies and other depth players attack this position will be important to watch out for as we begin OTAs.

5. No injuries, please

Seriously. If there is one thing the Jaguars cannot afford, it is an injury to a pivotal position. These practices are not supposed to be extensive but as we have seen in the past, anything can happen. If the Jaguars come out of these OTAs with no injuries, it will be a huge win entering mandatory minicamp in June, and training camp in July.

Keep a close eye on Jaguars players who are already injured. Players such as Marqise Lee, Jake Ryan, and Cam Robinson will be going through various levels of rehab. Lee will not be on the field, however, Ryan or Robinson might be closer to returning.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Should the Jaguars sign Gerald McCoy when he’s released?

Demetrius Harvey

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Dec 24, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) reacts after a sack in the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive tackle  Gerald McCoy has recently been informed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers according to Adam Schefter at ESPN. According to Schefter, the Jaguars are one of the spots that “make sense”. This list includes the Patriots, Browns, Cowboys, and Chargers. McCoy wants to sign with a playoff team and the Jaguars were in the AFC Championship game in the 2017-2018 season.

There are a variety of factors to take into account if the Jaguars do intend to do their due diligence on Gerald McCoy. McCoy has been one of the most dominant defensive tackles since he was drafted third overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2010. Last season, McCoy accounted for 28 combined tackles and six sacks in 14 games. Although his sack production has not fallen off yet, he is 31 years old and has not been as dominant as he was in his younger days.

In 2018, the Jaguars drafted Taven Bryan in the first-round, and due to the salary cap, they released veteran defensive tackle Malik Jackson who immediately signed with the Philidelphia Eagles. If the Jaguars were to bring in McCoy the cost would almost assuredly be steep, and although they have ways to manipulate the cap, the question would be if Dave Caldwell or EVP Tom Coughlin would be willing to pay.

With Taven Bryan already locked into the starting role, it would also come down to how the Jaguars feel about the depth at the defensive tackle — specifically three-tech — position. The Jaguars only have Taven Bryan, Marcell Dareus, and Abry Jones entering this season at DT who have played significant roles. Calais Campbell also plays a role on specific downs.

Would Gerald McCoy make sense for the Jaguars? In theory, sure, but only at the right cost and if the player falls in their laps. The Jaguars released Malik Jackson due to cap reasons. Jackson is a younger player who — although he had a down year in 2018 — has had similar production to Gerald McCoy in recent years. Would they be willing to spend on the older player instead?

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