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Jacksonville Jaguars

GameDay: Jags at crossroads in Nashville tonight

Florida Football Insiders

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Photo by Icon Sportswire

Just when you thought the Jags could have turned corner after two wins in London and then Chicago, they laid an egg Sunday at home with the Raiders.

Now on a short week, they have traveled to Nashville to play Marcus Mariota and the Titans on Thursday Night Football.

Here are some quick things to know for tonight:

Jaguars on Offense

As we wrote this week, QB Blake Bortles is struggling and may have to see a voodoo witch doctor soon, if he doesn’t snap out of it. Bortles has thrown a pick in five of the six Jacksonville games this season. So, let’s start there. No int’s tonight to help the cause.

Some of that is predicated on the Jaguars inability to run the football. Just 72 yards from the running backs at home against a bad Oakland defense is not a good sign. They are averaging an anemic 76.7 rush yards per game on the season and only 3.7 yards per carry. Both of those are in the bottom five of the entire NFL. Not what you know want to be known for as an offense.

Jaguars must stop Mariota

The Titans QB is coming into his own with his arm and legs. Over the last three games, he’s got eight TD’s passing and only one INT and his QBR is a gaudy 113.1. And Mariota is getting to use his wheels some, as well, which is bad news for the Jags. For they already gave up a spectacular 87 yard TD run last season in Nashville that was the third longest in NFL QB rushing history. It will be a priority to contain Mariota, especially with Demarco Murray running well this season, when Tennessee goes often to the “Read Option.”

Uh-Oh, it’s the Boss

Finally, Jaguars Owner Shad Khan came to the team meeting and spoke to the players on Monday. No matter what anyone says, that’s not good with a team that is struggling. Even though the reports are that he was positive and re-affirming belief in head coach Gus Bradley and re-assuring the players, tonight is important.

Khan craves for his Jags to be relevant, and they don’t often play in stand alone prime time situations. They haven’t been on Sunday or Monday Night football in over seven seasons.

But between the London win, which was early start and most of the football fans around the  country that were awake tuned in for at least part of it and now tonight, they get a chance to show something.

Khan’s hoping they show that they are ready to play, stop the Titans and perhaps pull a good upset on the road.

If it’s the opposite……….

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jags WR Marqise Lee returns to practice

Abbey Radeka

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After losing veteran Alfred Blue in the first half of the 24–10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury, the Jaguars are looking for offensive depth. In some fortunate news, WR Marqise Lee is off of the PUP list and has begun practicing today, roughly one year after suffering from knee damage that sidelined him for the entire 2018 season.

Head coach Doug Marrone made the announcement before practice on Saturday.

First Coast news reporter Ben Murphy got a video of Lee at practice receiving a pass from QB Nick Foles.

Last year, Lee was injured in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Falcons. He was hit by reserve defensive back Damontae Kazee on this play after a reception.

Lee suffered a torn ACL and went on injured reserve missing the entire season.

Lee became more prominent in Jacksonville’s pass offense in 2017 with 56 catches for 702 yards and three TDs. The Jags are surely going to rely on him this season which could mean he’ll see the field a bit in their third preseason game to get him readjusted to competitive game play.

However, they might not want to risk another potential injury before the season begins. We could see it going either way. We do know that he’ll be a great weapon for Nick Foles to utilize this season.

The return of Lee is coming off the heels of some other good news for the Jags announced earlier this week. Starting left tackle Cam Robinson was also removed from the PUP list on Monday after suffering a torn ACL in Week 2 last season. He has since made enough progress participate in some individual drills and should be ready, along with Lee, for their season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.

In other injury-related news, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Leonard Fournette, backed up by Thomas Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars searching for RB depth after second preseason game

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

With preseason game number two in the books, it’s apparent the Jaguars have real issues with running back depth due to injury. This after veteran Alfred Blue left the first half of the 24 – 10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury and did not return.

Blue carried the ball four times for just five yards has Jacksonville offense once again sputtered behind a makeshift offensive line. Coach Doug Marrone was so concerned about that line situation and their ability to protect/block that starting quarterback Nick Foles and running back Leonard Fournette never saw the field for a single play during Thursday night.

That means that veteran at Thomas Rawls (above Thursday) was called upon to carry the ball a little more, and he did so, seven times for 19 yards including a long run of 11 playing in the first half.

Rawls is a 5th year veteran who had some modest success with the Seahawks, including rushing for 830 yards his rookie year in 2015 with a 5.6 yard per carry average. His numbers tapered off in 2016 – 17 with ankle and foot injuries, as he only played in 21 games in those two years. Rawls was later released and picked up by the Bengals, but injured again last season, and never carried the ball in Cincinnati.

Obviously, the Jaguars are wanting to implement Fournette, as the primary ball carrier, but they will need someone else to spell him on a series or two. Also, Fournette has had durability questions, as he missed parts or all of eight games last year with a hamstring injury.

The Jags were also hoping to bring along Temple rookie running back Ryquell Armstead, but after he carried eight times for 22 yards last week, he suffered a concussion in the preseason opening loss to the Ravens. Armstead hasn’t practiced since, and is still being evaluated with no further update Thursday.

Speaking of updates, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Fournette, backed up by Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.

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