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Jacksonville Jaguars

Credit Jaguars Marrone for coaching to win Sunday

Florida Football Insiders

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

He held true to his word. All last week Jaguars coach Doug Marrone insisted they were going to not only play hard but play to win the regular season ending game at Tennesse, with nothing to gain themselves. You see, Jacksonville was locked into the #3 seed for this weekend’s start to the playoffs, no matter what.

However, Marrone understood (and maybe V.P. of football, Tom Coughlin gave a little advice too), that a chance to potentially knock the Titans out of the playoffs, which they ended up having, and needing to be sharp for the next game, were important.

So, important, with the game a “nip and tuck” low scoring battle, Marrone left his starters in on both sides of the ball-all the way until the end, because the integrity of “trying to win” was important.

The same could not be said of the Dolphins and Adam Gase’s decision (if it was his alone) to bench Jay Cutler and play unheralded QB David Fales the entire game. This is especially, when beating Buffalo meant something for the Ravens, the Titans and Chargers in the AFC Wildcard tiebreaker race.

I am sure those clubs were “thrilled” that Miami was choosing to play a QB who has zero chance to be their 2018 starter, series after series in a close game.

Consider also, that in Baltimore, Marvin Lewis and his veterans QB Andy Dalton, WR A.J. Green, etc. went “all out” and defeated the Ravens in the final minute to end up eliminating them.

Consider, next, the eliminated 11 loss Bucs, 1,000 miles to the South, playing starters QB Jameis Winston, WR Mike Evans, DT Gerald McCoy, etc. the whole game trying to beat the Saints and cost them the NFC South. And, when Winston threw the game winning TD with :09 left? They pulled off a win that could have given the Panthers the division and a home game.

Consider, finally, the Cardinals, playing 3,000 miles to the Northwest of Tampa, eliminated from contention and doing everything they could to end the Seahawks season. And, as it turns out in Bruce Arians final game as Arizona coach (he retired Monday), they outplayed the Seahawks and ended their NFC Wildcard hopes.

Three examples of doing it the right way.

Back to the Jaguars. As it turns out, they will now host the Bills Sunday in the AFC Wildcard game at Everbank Field.

No. They didn’t win in Nashville, and the Titans are still around-playing the Chiefs on Saturday in that Wildcard game.

But, that wasn’t from a lack of playing your best guys and trying to win.

Playing the season out to the very end. Just like Marrone promised.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars QB Bortles doesn’t mind you coming over to his place

Florida Football Insiders

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars are “riding high” early on in the season after an impressive win against New England. Everyone is obviously loose, because of the success in 2017, and now, back-to-back wins to start this year have given a sense of confidence to the young squad.

An embattled fifth year quarterback Blake Bortles is on a serious uptick in his own playing career. Off yet another surprising game Sunday, where he threw for 376 yards and four scores in the 31 – 20 victory, Bortles has plenty of reasons to smile.

And, unusually, he has plenty of reasons to welcome total strangers who come to his door

Yes. You read that correctly.

Bortles made mention earlier this week about fans and even teammates coming to his house, unannounced, to “say hello,” maybe catch up on some Netflix and of course, talk about the success of the Jaguars.

Okay, we made the Netflix part up.

Still, for an NFL quarterback to make mention that he’s welcoming people to come see him at his home to talk up the team he plays for is definitely unusual.

Bortles elaborated jokingly to the media Wednesday after the Jaguars practice in preparation for their first meeting this season with the Titans:

“It’s a football town that loves their Jaguars, especially when they are playing well. You know, I don’t have a problem having a conversation with somebody at the door.” When asked whether the fans relate to him, Bortles continued, “I feel as though I relate to the city of Jacksonville and the people who live here….I’ve lived in Florida my whole life. I feel comfortable here. I’ve made a lot of friends here. Made a lot of good relationships. Really enjoyed being here.”

It’s a very juicy twist to the Bortles soap opera from a year ago, when Jags fans were ready to not only come to his front door, but pack all of his belongings and put them on a moving truck to get him out of town.

Yet, Bortles played steady and at times great football in the 2017 season, including Jacksonville’s stunning AFC divisional playoff win at Pittsburgh last year. He also played well in the AFC Championship Game resulting in a narrow lost to New England.

So, it’s understandable that Bortles has got the Jaguars fans filling up on his bandwagon, yet again.

However, one thing is for sure, in the NFL everything is fleeting and directly related to what you’ve done, lately. And with the Titans having swept the Jaguars a year ago, Bortles and his teammates know they have to get that corrected starting with Sunday’s home game at TIAA Bank Field.

Otherwise, any strangers at the Bortles home, who are decked out in black and teal uninvited, may not be as friendly coming up the driveway next week.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Look who tops debut of our FFI “Power Rankings”

Jamil King

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL and college football in full swing, we have had some surprises and shocks.
The whole state of Florida has gone unbeaten in the NFL.

UCF and USF look like they might be the best college teams in the state.

Blueblood FSU has landed flat on their faces, while Miami and Florida each suffered early season defeats.

A few weeks into the season, here are how things are shaping up with our “Power Rankings.”

5. Miami Hurricanes- The Canes came into the season with high expectations after having one of their best seasons in recent memory in 2017. The year didn’t start how they wanted it to with a severe loss to the LSU Tigers, who look like they might challenge the Tide for the SEC West crown. Miami bounced back with wins against Savanah State and Toledo. They will need QB Malik Rosier to improve if they want to win back to back Coastal titles.

4. Miami Dolphins- Surprise number one, so far, are the Dolphins. The Fins are 2-0 for the first time since 2013. The Dolphins have beat the Titans and Jets, so we can’t put them higher than fourth, but the start is impressive. Miami’s defense has been good, and contributions have come from all over, as we wrote Sunday. Ryan Tannehill has been doing a stable job at QB as well. The Dolphins get the 0-2 Raiders this week before two road games against Foe Tom Brady and the also surprising Bengals.

3. UCF Knights- The “National Champions” check in at the number three spot this week. The Knights have cruised to victory twice so far this season. QB Mckenzie Milton looked unstoppable against the UConn Huskies, but wasn’t at his best against South Carolina State. The Knights got unlucky with Hurricanes again this year and lost out on playing an ACC opponent (North Carolina) yet again. UCF will play FAU this week before finally getting to play a power five school in Pittsburgh at home.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Surprise again, with Tampa Bay at number two. Can you feel the “Fitzmagic?” The Bucs sure can, as the 14 year vet has shredded the Saints and Eagles. The Bucs are at 2-0 for the first time since 2010. Todd Monken has done wonders for the offense with the playcalling, as well. With a Monday night date with the Steelers can the Bus keep it going on National Television?

1. Jacksonville Jaguars- The Jags claim the top spot this week coming in at 2-0 as well. The Jags are here partly to last season’s success, but not just that. The defense has done its job so far, but Blake Bortles was on fire vs. the Patriots. If Blake can continue to play the way he did against New England, then this team can become even more dangerous.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Report- Jaguars LT Cam Robinson has torn ACL

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The news is not all good coming out of the Jaguars week two win over the power house Patriots.

Second-year left tackle Cam Robinson suffered a left knee injury in the first quarter and did not return to the game.

And as the NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported first Monday morning, it’s the worst possible news for him:

Tha former second-round pick out of Alabama was anchoring the left side of the line and protecting quarterback Blake Bortles’ blind-side. Jacksonville and coach Doug Marrone were particularly eager to have Robinson develop more with veteran left guard Andrew Norwell, whom the Jags gave a huge contract to in free agency.

Now, Robinson is headed for the IR.

Robinson started all 16 games a year ago, and the first two games this season.

Undrafted four year veteran Josh Wells, took over for Robinson and play the remainder of the game on Sunday.

With the diagnosis of the ACL and Robinson lost for the season, the Jaguars now have to decide whether Wells is the long-term solution, as he’s never started an NFL game before in his career.

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