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Can Jaguars get necessary spark from Gardner Minshew?

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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars hire former Redskins coach Gruden as OC

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It didn’t take long for the Jaguars to come up with a new offensive coordinator and it will be a very familiar name to fans of the NFL and in specific, in Florida. Former Redskins coach and Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has been hired buy coach Doug Marrone to assume play-calling duties.

NFL Network insiders Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport had the news first on Tuesday night, that the Jags had settled on the Redskins coach who was fired during his sixth season back in October:

Gruden, the younger brother of Raiders coach Jon Gruden, was fired in October after the Skins 0-5 start and while in his sixth season in Washington. He mostly struggled for the Redskins to have success with a 35-49-1 overall record. However, they won the NFC East in Gruden’s second year (2015) with a 9-7 record, but were beaten at home in the Wildcard Weekend by the Green Bay Packers.

Gruden worked his way up to his first head coaching job after having been the offensive coordinator for Marvin Lewis for three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. There, he worked with quarterback Andy Dalton and spectacular WR A.J. Green and his final year (2013), the Bengals were 6th in overall offense and fifth in scoring.

The Jaguars had also reportedly interviewed former Giants head coach, Ben McAdoo, and had also been considering former Cowboys and Rams offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, for their vacancy. Coach Doug Marrone fired first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo after just one season last week.

While the team termed it “mutually parting ways,” DeFilippo was quickly hired by the Chicago Bears last Wednesday, as a quarterback coach. And, obviously going from an NFL offensive coordinator job to a QB coach is not a lateral move.

Back to Jay Gruden. He is best known in our state for having been outstanding Arena Football League quarterback leading both the Tampa Bay Storm and the Orlando Predators franchises to Arena Bowl Championships.

Later his career Gruden was a player coach for the Orlando franchise, while also working during the NFL seasons in the fall as an offensive assistant under brother with the Buccaneers, including their 2002 Super Bowl win.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars interviewing former Redskins coach Jay Gruden for OC

Florida Football Insiders

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Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars continue to look for a new offensive coordinator in an interesting name with Florida connections has emerged.

Fox Sports NFL Insider Mike Garafolo reported on Sunday that former Redskins head coach and longtime Arena Football League star player and coach in the Sunshine State, Jay Gruden is on their radar:

Gruden was fired in October after an 0-5 start and while in his sixth season in Washington. He mostly struggled for the Redskins to have success with a 35-49-1 overall record. However, they won the NFC East in Gruden’s second year (2015) with a 9-7 record, but we’re beaten at home in the Wildcard Weekend by the Green Bay Packers.

Gruden worked his way up to his first head coaching job after having been the offensive coordinator for Marvin Lewis for three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. There, he worked with quarterback Andy Dalton and spectacular WR A.J. Green and his final year (2013), the Bengals were 6th in overall offense and fifth in scoring.

The Jaguars have also reportedly interviewed former Giants head coach, Ben McAdoo, and are said to also be considering former Cowboys and Rams offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, for their vacancy. Coach Doug Marrone fired first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo after just one season last week.

While the team termed it “mutually parting ways,” DeFilippo was quickly hired by the Chicago Bears Wednesday, as a quarterback coach. And, obviously going from an NFL offensive coordinator job to a QB coach is not a lateral move.

Jacksonville’s offense sputtered at times this past season, although it was handicapped when prized free agent quarterback Nick Foles was hurt in the first game of the season and missed 9 weeks with a fractured collarbone. Rookie sixth round pick, Gardner Minshew, was good at times in relief and helped Jacksonville win six games overall with his play.

Back to Jay Gruden. He is best known in our state for having been outstanding Arena Football League quarterback leading both the Tampa Bay Storm and the Orlando Predators franchises to Arena Bowl Championships.

Later his career Gruden was a player coach for the Orlando franchise, while also working during the NFL seasons in the fall as an offensive assistant under brother Jon Gruden with the Buccaneers.

Of course, the elder Gruden is now the coach of the Raiders again, and they are slated to move to Las Vegas for this fall. And, it’s entirely possible that Jay Gruden could be joining his brother with them, as well.

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