It’s like the forbidden fruit to Jags QB Blake Bortles, look but don’t touch. Anytime a wide receiver is open in the gap between a linebacker and corner back it a dangerous pass for the third year quarterback.
Watching from field level, the Ravens CJ Mosley made a terrific interception tipped to himself for the one handed grab.
Bortles said this week,” I work best on the move, and in play action.” Mosley’s pick came on a play action pass intended for Allen Robinson.
Bortles also has said he needs to have better control in making the right read and not turning the ball over. Mosley’s interception may have been a terrific play, but the ball was under thrown. While Tavon Young’s pick was not the UCF product’s fault per say, as the ball was tipped by Timmy Jernigan at the line.
But the final turnover was clearly a pass that shouldn’t have been thrown. Zachary Orr was one of the six Ravens surrounding Allen Hurns. See it here:
— NFL (@NFL) September 25, 2016
And the fans made sure to let Bortles know about his poor decision making. Boos echoed around EverBank Field, “I don’t really care, there is a lot of things you can say about that,” said Bortles. “If I went in to somebody else’s work and paid to watch them work and they did a bad job, I’d probably boo them too, I don’t know.” (Bortles exited stage left quickly after that comment in his post game press conference)
With all the weapons the Jaguars possess, you have to wonder if Bortles isn’t the problem.
Coming off a franchise record offensive season and in his second year working with Offensive Coordinator Greg Olsen’s system, Bortles should be making better decisions.
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh told me at halftime the reason they weren’t getting pressure on Bortles was due to the Jaguars play action. That changed in fourth quarter crunch time, when the Jaguars seemed to get away from play action, and the Ravens were able to get in to the backfield.
But back to Bortles, watch the tape from over the past two weeks and he’s been unable to feather a pass in the gap. He has a propensity to try and force throws in to double coverage.
He has playmakers in Robinson and Hurns, but the ball has to be with in reach for them to make the play, not behind them.
You can try and blame the offensive line injuries, but ultimately it comes down to Bortles lack of touch, that’s been the signature thumb print on this season so far.
Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?
One of the key free-agent questions for the Jaguars continues to be whether or not they’re going to allow their best pass rusher, Yannick Ngakoue, to test the free-agent market coming up? And, once again, the player may be giving a clue that he’s going to do just that.
Ngakoue tweeted Wednesday morning the following phrase, which seems to indicate, yet again, that he will be playing somewhere else in 2020:
— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) February 26, 2020
This goes along with something that we wrote earlier in January. That’s when just a couple of days after the season Ngakoue posted essentially a goodbye message to Jaguar fans. This came on the heels of him having held out for a new contract for the first few days of training camp last August, but not receiving a new deal during the season, etc.
Ngakoue, whose 37.5 career sacks are the most by a Jaguars player after 63 career games, is sure to be a sought-after player from many different teams. GM Dave Caldwell said at the end of the season when asked about re-sgning his star pass rusher, “He is a tremendous player and even a better person. How he handled his business this year was tremendous. But, I would say that’s priority No. 1, to make sure he comes back to Jacksonville. Hopefully, we can get that done. ″
It’s also worth noting that at Tuesday’s NFL Scouting Combine at media availability in Indianapolis, coach Doug Marrone repeated that he wants Ngakoue to remain in Jaguars teal and white:
Doug Marrone: ‘’No doubt where I stand or the coaches.”
—They want Yannick Ngakoue back. pic.twitter.com/vOorH4hH95
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) February 26, 2020
However, it remains to be seen if Marrone and Caldwell are willing to “pony up” huge money for him or even potentially, put the franchise tag on him before free agency begins next month?
Ngakoue figures to want a contract close to what the top ends are getting paid right now. Demarcus Lawrence and Frank Clark both signed five-year, over $100 million deals in 2019 and received guaranteed money that exceeded $62 million. That is massive for Jacksonville.
If the Jags opt for the “franchise tag,” then the talented end will be making around $19 million dollars, which is the current average of the top five players at his position. The Jaguars could also put the tag on him and then work on a longer term, salary cap friendly, deal that would replace the tag later in the off season.
Jaguars confirm they are declining option on DT Dareus
At Tuesday’s media session at the NFL Scouting Combine, Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell made official what had been rumored for the last couple of days regarding defensive tackle Marcell Dareus: he will not be brought back for a fourth season in Jacksonville.
Caldwell confirmed the Jaguars are not picking up DT Marcell Dareus' option.
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) February 25, 2020
Dareus only played briefly in 2019, as he suffered a core muscle injury that sidelined him after only six games and he was placed on injured reserve. The former number one pick of the Buffalo Bills had played for coach Doug Marrone for a couple of seasons in Western New York.
Marrone and Caldwell traded for Dareus during the 2017 season and he helped them with their rise to the AFC South title and two playoff wins. This included Darius registering two sacks and four other tackles-for-loss in the Jaguars three playoff games that year.
Dareus made the Pro Bowl twice in Buffalo in 2013-14.
However, he has not lived up to his hefty contract that was reworked Jacksonville last February. Last season, Dareus made over $8 million dollars and the team would have been on the hook for $20 million this year had they picked up the option. That obviously wasn’t going to happen.
Dareus also has had legal troubles off the field, including a civil suit against him in Tampa for alleged sexual misconduct. As we wrote previously, a woman alleged that Dareus had sexually assaulted her in January of 2018 at a North Tampa Florida home, while Dareus was in town for the Alabama-Clemson College Football Playoff Championship Game.
However, that suit filed in Hillsborough County court was “dismissed with prejudice” last April, which means it cannot be re-filed.
Dareus, if healthy after the core muscle injury rehab, may have some value as a defensive tackle on the free agent market.
As for the Jaguars, they have former #1 pick defensive tackle Taven Bryan to play more in the middle and are trying to decide if free agent-to-be, DE Yannick Ngakoue, can be afforded for their 2020 salary cap?