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Jacksonville Jaguars

Doug Marrone went conservative late first half, how much did it cost Jaguars?

Florida Football Insiders

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

When you lose a close dramatic game like the Jaguars did Sunday night to New England 24-20, everything is going to be scrutinized. Doug Marrone knows this, already.

However, a fair amount of scrutiny and debate is correctly being given to the end of the first half Sunday night in Foxboro.

To set the scene, after trailing 14-3, Tom Brady and the Pats finally did damage to the Jaguars defense and with the aid of two correct penalty calls on the Jacksonville defense, got their first TD on a James White run to make it 14-10.

Kicker Stephen Gostkowski kicked off out of the end zone and it was the Jags ball at their own 25 yard line.

With 55 seconds remaining in the first half and two timeouts to utilize, the Jacksonville Jaguars now, had a choice to make.

Their head coach, who had gone with a “full throttle”offensive mindset for the win the previous week in Pittsburgh, decided to have QB Blake Bortles, who had the Patriots on their heels in the second quarter, kneel on the ball and head to the locker room (photo above) with that 14 to 10 lead.

Now, with the understanding that each team was going to have the ball five or six or more times, at least, in the second half and that would decide the game, that decision at the end of the first half is worth debating.

Despite having completely outplayed the Patriots offensively in the first half, did Marrone send a signal to his team?

The signal? Unlike last week, when we kept stomping on the gas on the road even after having scored a bunch of points, we are not going to take risks to beat ourselves, today.

Instead, the Jaguars coached and played a lot of the second half, like a team relying on their tremendous defense alone to try and win the game for them.

Yes, ultimately Tom Brady did solve the Jaguars D by getting New England in the end zone not once, but twice, after trailing by 10 in the 4th quarter. As we wrote last night, Brady’s heroics were not unexpected.

Again, when you come up short you, as the Jags did, you can scrutinize any significant part of your loss.

Immediately after the game, Marrone was asked about having regrets about the decision to “play it safe” up 14-10 or was he looking to the second half and getting the ball first?

“I think it was more the second half kickoff. They had come down (Patriots scoring quickly). We had to make some adjustments at halftime… we just wanted to go in there knowing we’d get the ball back.”

In fairness, they did take the second half kickoff, picked up two first downs, and Josh Lambo kicked a 54 yard field goal, anyway for a 17-10 lead before Brady and Co. ever saw the field.

Still, the argument is: you needed aggressiveness and touchdowns, especially against a great team like New England at their house.

Clearly, Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and really everyone in the Jaguars building, will shake their head for a while that beginning with the kneel downs at the end of the first half, the Jaguars were not as aggressive, as they could have been from then on.

Yes, there was an attempt at a flea flicker pass later in the third quarter that the Pats were ready for and it only ended up being a short Bortles completion.

However, overall the risks/play calling toned down late in the first half and continued throughout the second half, including the Jaguars last four possessions of three punts and losing the ball on downs at the end.

In the end, after a tremendous turnaround in the regular season and two playoff wins, you cannot be too cruel about losing to arguably the greatest QB and head coach ever in Brady and Bill Belichick.

But ask yourselves this: same scenario reversed, Pats up 14-10, giving up a late score at the end of the half, knowing they get the ball to start the second half, does Belichick have Brady kneel?

We don’t think so, either.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. crosseyedlemon

    January 22, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Late in the first half the Jags shot themselves in the foot with a delay of game penalty that ended a drive for a possible FG. Patriots responded with a TD so your looking at a 10 point swing there. The Jags second half philosophy was ‘play not to lose’ rather than ‘play to win’ and it played right into the Patriots objective of forcing Bortles to beat them.

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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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