The Jaguars are excited to get a new season underway and much of the optimism will be based on the arm free agent acquisition quarterback Nick Foles’ ability to ignite their offense. However, before the first game is played, there’s already an injury concern what a signal-caller.
The Jaguars did not practice on Wednesday due to concerns over the wind and rain from Hurricane Dorian passing by in the Atlantic. However, they did release a preliminary injury report that has Foles on it, as Jacksonville.com beat writer John Reid relayed:
Jaguars say their injury report is an estimation because the team did not practice due to Hurricane Dorian. But QB Nick Foles is on the injury report due to some soreness in his abdominal oblique from last week, but is fully expected to play on Sunday, according to Jaguars
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) September 4, 2019
It’s definitely worth monitoring, as an abdomen strain that may limit Foles’ ability to practice before their opening game Sunday at TIAA Bank Field with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone kept Foles protected throughout the preseason, as he only played in the first half of the third game with the Miami Dolphins.
The Jaguars and new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo hope to crank up a passing game that has floundered over the last few seasons with now departed Blake Bortles. Of course, Jacksonville can also rely on a fully healthy Leonard Fournette to carry the load, as well.
Marrone was equally careful to keep Fournette out of action, except for that same Dolphins game, where he ran hard in the first half in South Florida. Fournette’s ability to pound defenses between the tackles will be big in taking some of the pressure of Foles and also, utilizing play-action.
Speedy slot receiver Dede Westbrook seems primed for a breakout season. Last year with Bortles at the helm, Westbrook was only decent. Still, he led the team in yards at 717 with a 10.9 avg and was able to find the endzone five times. It is completely realistic that if he’s healthy and Foles is, too, that Westbrook could see 75+ catches for over 1,000 yards and something like, 10 TDs.
However, as we already see before the first game is played, staying healthy is challenge around the NFL.
Jaguars taking strange risk with playing Jalen Ramsey Thursday
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?
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.
Jaguars coach Marrone confirms Jalen Ramsey will play Thursday
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:
Coach Doug Marrone said that Jalen Ramsey will be suited up tomorrow. Says “Jalen and I have always had a good open relationship… we sat down yesterday and talked about what went on with him and I… that’s behind us right now…” Says Jalen is focused on playing tomorrow.
— Tiffany Blackmon (@tiffblackmon) September 18, 2019
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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