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Jacksonville Jaguars

What to watch on the final night of preseason football

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
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The final preseason games of 2019 will be taking place tonight in the shadows of college football. The Bucs, Jags, and Dolphins will all be in action with roster spots on the line.

For the Bucs, all eyes will be on Vincent Testaverde Jr. After Tampa Bay veteran backup Blaine Gabbert suffered a separated left shoulder in the third quarter of Friday night’s preseason game against the Cleveland Browns, the Bucs were in need of a new backup quarterback for tonight’s game against the Cowboys.

Last weekend, a very familiar name joined them, giving the team more depth at the QB position. Testaverde Jr. is the son of the former Heisman Trophy star of the Hurricanes and the former number one overall pick of the Buccaneers, re-signed with the team Saturday afternoon. Testaverde will likely play a good chunk of the game as signal-caller for the Bucs tonight.

Justin Evans will be back tonight and should see some game action look to see how much rust he needs to kick off. It is also an essential game for roster bubble guys like Scotty miller who missed a good chunk of time injured to prove he is worth a roster spot. Look for Tanner Hudson to have a big game with multiple tight ends sitting he could feast against the Dallas backups.

The Jags will be coming into the final preseason game mostly looking for some offense. Obviously without Nick Foles it will all be on Alex McGough and rookie Gardner Minshew. Tonight will be a bigger game for McGough, who is looking to put on one final show to prove he is worth a practice squad spot, as the Jags probably won’t keep 3 QBs. The Jags also have a few running backs and wide receivers playing for the last few open spots. We could also see some action from the Jag’s a few of the Jags young receivers DJ Chark and Keelan Cole even without Foles on the field.

For the Dolphins, everyone has been focused on the Qb battle between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen, but there have been reports that Jake Rudock will be getting significant snaps tonight throws that battle off. This could mean the Dolphins have chosen their guy and it’s a matter of time until we find out. Dolphins coach Brian Flores called this the last chance bowl.

One way to ensure you make the roster is just by playing smart, and the Phins have not been doing that. They had nine penalties for 102 yards against the Jags a week after having 13 for 122 yards. Guys like Patrick Laird and Preston Williams have impressed so far will look to continue that and make the roster.

There will also be Dolphins backup running back battle between Mark Walton, who may be suspended, Kalen Ballage and rookie Myles Gaskin all competing for regular season playing time tonight.

Jamil King is a young draft pick working his way up the depth chart on the F.F.I. roster, who enjoys watching and writing about all of Florida’s football teams.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars taking strange risk with playing Jalen Ramsey Thursday

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

As the Jaguars get set to try to win their first game of the season on Thursday night against rival Tennessee, the dominant story line will be about DB Jalen Ramsey and his status with the team. Further and most importantly, if the team does indeed intend to trade him as soon as Friday, why is he even playing in the game?

As for that, we wrote yesterday that Ramsey is still on the Jaguars roster and expected to not only be active, but start in tonight’s game. This despite numerous reports since Sunday, that he wants to be traded, and the team is actively shopping him to the first takeer that will give them at least one number one pick in return.

Importantly, the front office has not denied that they’re trying to move the disgruntled former Pro Bowl corner, you can only take that to mean: they are trying to pull off a trade.

So it raises the very valid dilemma of: playing arguably your best player in the third game of the year, but also the realistic possibility that Ramsey could somehow hurt himself in the game. And while a serious injury isn’t likely, something slight like a groin or hamstring injury could come from playing in this game.

Another very valid point is that if the Jaguars could not make a trade in the last 48 hours or so for Ramsey, are they really going to get more value by trading him Friday, this weekend or next Monday?

Highly unlikely.

So, here we go with the team taking what appears to be an unnecessary risk with a player who obviously privately has made it clear he wants out of North Florida.

Of course the other possible part of this is; the VP of football Tom Coughlin is willing to “play poker,” for now, with the other teams in the league that are pursuing Ramsey and might even wait another week or two before pulling the trigger.

After all the Jaguars have until October trading deadline to find the best deal possible.

However,  the argument against that is that Ramsey could become a bigger distraction than what he already has and cause more problems than he already has behind the scenes for the team.

It certainly is a dilemma.

And it’s one that will play out Thursday on National TV, if and when Ramsey is out there running around, while the team is trying to deal him somewhere else, maybe as soon as the weekend.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars coach Marrone confirms Jalen Ramsey will play Thursday

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Bowl defensive back Jalen Ramsey told the media on Tuesday that, as long as he was going to be with the Jaguars he was going to give it his all. And, that will now include the Thursday night game with the Tennessee Titans.

After speculation that Ramsey might be traded prior to the showdown with the Titans at TIAA Bank Field, Ramsey not only participated in the Wednesday walk through practice with his teammates, but coach Doug Marrone announced after practice that he will be playing in the game Thursday night:

So, Ramsey will at least be with the Jaguars for a few more days. Speculation continues to run rampant that Jacksonville will complete a trade for Ramsey maybe, as soon as Friday after the game.

Earlier the day ESPN Jaguars reporter Mike DiRocco reported that because Ramsey was on the Jaguars roster still at the end of business on Tuesday (or 48 hours before game time) that Jacksonville would still be obligated to pay him for this week

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport also says the Jaguars are holding firm in their belief that they can get two future number one picks in exchange for Ramsey.

However, that would be highly unlikely, as most teams know the Jacksonville is looking to rid themselves of the defensive back. And, Miami trading number one pick Minkah Fitzpatrick earlier in the week for a single number one pick with a swap of other mid round draft picks this year and next year, seems to have set the market.

This is particularly because, Fitzpatrick is still relatively inexpensive for the rest of this season and the next two years. However, Ramsey in the final year of his deal and if the team trading for him assumes his fifth year option his price tag, it will Skyrocket to a $13.7 million salary next year.

There is a further complication that Ramsey might reject wanting to sign a long-term deal with that team that acquires him and therefore, he essentially becomes a rental player for the remainder of this year.

Marrone further said that he spoke to Ramsey after his Tuesday news conference and team practice and they they were ready to go with Thursday’s game. The Jags are 0-2 and already in a “must win” mode for the NFC South early.

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