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Jacksonville Jaguars

Bortles poor play forces Marrone to open up QB competition

Florida Football Insiders



Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire

Enough was enough on Thursday night in Jacksonville, as once again QB Blake Bortles demonstrated he’s not only not improved for 2017, but he looks a lot like the guy who stunk it up for most of 2016. So, his head coach, Doug Marrone, made it clear to everyone post-game , Bortles may be headed to the bench.

While he didn’t come out and say the fourth year quarterback from UCF is being replaced, clearly Bortles’ 8-15 showing for 64 yards and no third down conversions in the first half Thursday night against the Bucs has opened the door for that.

What Marrone did say was he met with both Bortles and veteran backup Chad Henne and starting now, it’s a competition in Jacksonville.

For his part Henne, does have a lot of starts in his career (53), and immediately came in an laid a ball perfectly into the hands of wide receiver Keelan Cole for what should have been a second quarter TD. Alas, Cole flat dropped it behind the defense and the Jags even missed the field goal to stay scoreless in the whole first half.

As we wrote two weeks ago off their night scrimmage, Bortles was by all accounts awful throwing five ints in the practice. And, it only reinforced the short-sighted view by new boss Tom Coughlin that he wouldn’t bring in legitimate competition in free agency or draft another QB in the high rounds last April.

Off a 2016 year where his QB rating was 78.8 and he won three games, Bortles was basically asked to do very little throwing the ball in the preseason opener in New England last week. Then, when he woefully under threw Allen Robinson, who was behind the Bucs D in the second quarter, the boo birds cascaded in the stands.

Now, the Jags have to figure it out before the starting offense plays most of the three quarters next Saturday against Carolina. Also, as previously scheduled, their camp is now closed to the public and practice is also closed to the media from here on out.

This means that it will likely remain a mystery next week, as to who will start the third preseason game for Jacksonville. But, don’t be surprised if that’s Henne.

The Jags have too much talent, especially at receiver, to not try to spark things with a change.

The spark is out for now, and maybe for good, in Jacksonville for Bortles.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?

Florida Football Insiders



Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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:

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.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars confirm they are declining option on DT Dareus

Florida Football Insiders



Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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 was a specifically asked about Dareus’ status and gave a quick answer is part of his Q&A session:

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?

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