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Calais Campbell speaks

Florida Football Insiders

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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A year ago at this time, Jaguars Pro Bowl defensive tackle Calais Campbell was a prized free agent signing, who had yet to suit up in Jacksonville. A year later, he’s now the leader of a sudden resurgence for the Jags and eager to get 2018 rolling, soon.

On Tuesday, Campbell announced his involvement in an upcoming bowling fundraiser to benefit his foundation and also, answered some questions about new draft pick defensive tackle Taven Bryan and other subjects for the season.

In particular, Campbell’s personality showed in a humorous reaction to where he was ranked in a recent NFL.com list of top pass rushers from former Patriots Superbowl winning defender, Willie McGinnest.

McGinnest had Campbell 10th, with likes of Von Miller of the Broncos, Aaron Donald of the Rams and Khalil Mack of the Raiders leading the list. “I felt like I could’ve been rated a little higher….Couple of the guys in front of me, I was like, eh, I don’t know.” However he finished with, “it’s always an honor to be considered one of the best.”

Campbell certainly played like one of the best in 2018, with 14.5 sacks, which was good enough for a tie for second in the NFL. And, he also finished his first season with the Jags with another 14 tackles for loss. This lead a young, hungry Jaguars defense to an AFC South championship and the franchise’s first playoff berth in over a decade that included two wins.

And Campbell’s message for the Jaguars fans about getting ready for 2018? “Very high expectations. I have a lot of confidence in this football team….We work really hard. So, it’s going to be a fun year. We just have to take it one day at a time and earn the right to have a chance.”

You can bet that just like a year ago, he’s getting that point about putting in the work across to his teammates. However, unlike last year, Campbell has personal results and the team has it’s accomplishments to point to showing what hard work, even in the off season means.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars injury woes continue- LB Myles Jack to IR

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Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
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The bad news on the injury front for the Jaguars continued on Thursday, when they placed star linebacker Myles Jack on injured reserve.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport had the news first:

Jack missed Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers with a knee injury that was believed to be a sprain suffered in the loss to the Colts two weeks ago. However, the move to IR indicates it may be more serious.

The Jaguars season has unraveled over the course of the last month with injuries to their defense and the team trading away perennial Pro Bowl defensive back Jalen Ramsey to the Rams. Jacksonville had already put DT Marcel Dareus on IR, All-Pro defensive tackle Calais Campbell has been trying to battle through a bad back and DB Tony Harrison has still not been cleared with a concussion.

Coach Doug Marrone has expressed the last two weeks that it has been a struggle for his defense with all of the injuries mounting late in the year.

As for Jack, he had settled in the middle linebacker roll after Telvin Smith abruptly retired in May.

Jack has been solid, but not spectacular, in the middle of the defense registering 7 or more tackles in five games this season. However he hasn’t forced a fumble, has only one interception and half of a sack. Jack also has just three tackles-for-loss at a position that often dictates much more output than that.

The former second-round pick out of UCLA had question marks about his knee coming out of college, when the Jaguars took him in the 2016 draft. However, he has answered critics on his durability by being active for all 59 games of his career up until last week.

Jacksonville will use veteran Donald Payne at middle linebacker for now. Payne played significantly last week against the Buccaneers and has been on and off of Jacksonville roster this season.

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Can Jaguars get necessary spark from Gardner Minshew?

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The Jaguars were back on the practice field on Wednesday and have to rally around their rookie QB, Gardner Minshew, to re-ignite their season. And their opponent, may be the perfect for them, too.

Minshew took over in the second half for an ineffective Nick Foles, as Foles committed turnovers on each of Jacksonville’s first three possessions. Now, he’s back as their starter to see if the 4-8 Jags can salvage some games in December.

Now, the 4-win L.A. Chargers come stumbling to North Florida off a dramatic loss in Denver and yet, somehow, have been listed as 2.5-point underdogs by top sports betting sites.

Philip Rivers and the Chargers, new-look defense is coming to Jacksonville to try and move to 5-8 and make a run at a .500 season. In effect, both of these teams’ seasons are all but over, so they are just playing for pride.  And while mathematically, the Jags are not completely out of the AFC South race, yet, let’s be honest … the Titans and Texans are not going to drop four straight games … and it definitely isn’t looking like the Jags are going to win four straight.

Coach Doug Marrone is clearly in trouble and everything they try is not working. There were plenty of games that the Jaguars could have or should have won, but didn’t. And, now they are sitting on the very bottom of the AFC South with few games remaining.

Onto to the matchup.

The Chargers have owned the Jaguars historically, as they have won in two of the last three and seven of the last ten meetings. But right now, this is a pretty good spot for the Jags.

When we look at standard offense on any given Sunday, the L.A. Chargers are about two points better than the Jacksonville Jaguars on average. The Chargers put up 20.33 points per game against the Jags 18.33. It would be nice for Jaguars fans, if the Chargers performed significantly worse on the road, but they don’t.

They are almost exactly the same level of bad whether at home in Los Angeles or out on the road. And unfortunately, for Jags fans who buy tickets to home games, they have let them down at TIAA Field by performing worse in Jacksonville, to the tune of nearly three points per game. They score just 15.83 on their home field.

The yardage stats are comparable in this one, as the Chargers pass for 255.33 per game, while the Jags pass for 242.50. The Chargers rush for 92 yards per game, while the Jags run game with Leonard Fournette has dropped off to 79.67 average, currently.

On defense, the Chargers are a respectable top ten unit (No. 7 in the league) that allows just 18.50 points per game. They hold teams to 212 yards passing and 97.83 yards rushing.

However, that’s where Minshew will put them to the test. He is far more mobile than Foles and got Jacksonville 11 points in the second half Sunday with them driving for more. That is until the rookie’s killer interception at the Tampa Bay goaline midway through the fourth quarter.

So, most of the numbers point the another Jacksonville loss. That said, the Chargers have lost three straight but have shown some flashes of brilliance. So too did Minshew, who won four games in eight tries earlier this year as the fill-in starter.

If you can avoid this game for your “Survivor Pools” do so … If you are a bettor … stay away.

This is a game where anything can happen, especially with “Minshew Mania” back.

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