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Jacksonville Jaguars

Fischer: Jags defense must set tone this week vs.Texans

Christopher Fischer



Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire)

If Jags coach Gus Bradley is to evade what looks like an inevitable “pink slip” at the end of the season, it will be his defense that will need to carry the load down the stretch.

Of their remaining eight games, five come against AFC South divisional rivals. This week the division leading Texans come to Jacksonville, and they may just be the perfect Jaguars prey.

In three road contests, Houston is averaging single digits on the scoreboard. While they are coming off the Bye Week, the Jaguars have a chance to drop their dismal 26.5 points allowed per game average on home turf.

One thing is for sure, Bradley will stick to most teams’ script by keying in on Texans primary game-breaker WR DeAndre Hopkins.

When asked this week about Hopkins’ sub par first half of the season, Bradley said, “I think defenses are doing a good job of being aware of Hopkins.” He’s only caught three TD’s and is averaging only 54 receiving yards per game. The danger is Hopkins may be ready for a breakout game.

Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler is still working on validating the massive 4-year deal he signed during the off-season, without much luck so far. Jags fans can take solace in the fact that Osweiler has almost as much of a propensity for throwing interceptions as QB Blake Bortles. The Houston quarterback has nine picks on the season, yet has thrown only one over the past two games.

If the Jags defense can take away Hopkins, the Texans will turn to RB Lamar Miller. While his production dropped off following a breakout game against the Colts in Week 6, Miller is still averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

“He’ll hit it downhill, but some of his bigger plays come from the outside where he bounces it,” said Bradley. “So we really got to be good on the perimeter.”

This showdown Sunday is important for as bad as they were in the first half,  the Jaguars are only two games back with half the season to go. Jacksonville still has a chance to save the season and Gus Bradley’s job.

But if his defense can’t get the job done the rest of the way, Bradley will have no defense himself for why his specialty couldn’t stop opponents.

A native Floridian who graduated from Clearwater High School and the University of Florida, Chris Fischer has spent nearly 15 years in Sports Televison, including the last five as Sports Reporter and Anchor with the CBS affiliate in Tampa Bay-WTSP. He is a multi time AP Sports and Local Emmy award winner and will be seen this season as a sideline reporter on CBS-TV’s network coverage of the NFL.Chris brings enthusiasm and passion (particularly when it comes to his Gators) to College and NFL coverage to F.F.I.


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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