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Jacksonville Jaguars

Gameday – Jaguars hope to regain momentum vs Titans

Roy Cummings

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Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire

What: Jacksonville Jaguars (10-5) vs. Tennessee Tians (8-7)

Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tn.

When: 4:25 p.m.

Latest line/Over-under: Jaguars +2.5/41.5

 Why you should watch

There’s a lot at stake in this game, particularly for the Titans, who can secure a wild card berth with a victory. There’s a little something at stake for the Jaguars, too. Though they’ve already won the AFC South title and can finish no better than third in the AFC playoff seeding, they really need to bounce back from a poor showing a week ago at San Francisco. It’s bad enough that the Jaguars lost last week, 44-33. What’s worse is that they lost their composure along the way, taking three unsportsmanlike conduct or unnecessary roughness penalties on a day in which teammates had to step in and keep Alvin Colvin and Malik Jackson from tangling with one another. The Jaguars haven’t faced a lot of adversity this year, but if that’s how they’re going to handle it when they do their Cinderella season is going to end ugly and sooner than they’d hoped.

There’s a lot at stake in this game, particularly for the Titans, who can secure a wild card berth with a victory. There’s a little something at stake for the Jaguars, too. Though they’ve already won the AFC South title and can finish no better than third in the AFC playoff seeding, they really need to bounce back from a poor showing a week ago at San Francisco. It’s bad enough that the Jaguars lost last week, 44-33. What’s worse is that they lost their composure along the way, taking three unsportsmanlike conduct or unnecessary roughness penalties on a day in which teammates had to step in and keep Alvin Colvin and Malik Jackson from tangling with one another. The Jaguars haven’t faced a lot of adversity this year, but if that’s how they’re going to handle it when they do their Cinderella season is going to end ugly and sooner than they’d hoped.

Key on: Jaguars WR Allen Hurns

 Hurns will make his return today after missing the previous six games with an ankle injury he suffered during the Jaguars overtime victory over the Chargers on Nov. 12. Given all the injuries their receivers have suffered this year, Hurns is probably the Jaguars best pass catcher and he needs to get back into shape and into a groove with quarterback Blake Bortles in a hurry. The Jags have been leaning on the likes of Marqise Lee, Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook of late and that’s fine, because all have stepped up in a big way. But if they Jaguars are going to make a long playoff run they’re going to need their best available players playing their best football. How Hurns looks today could be an indication of how he’ll play once the playoffs start.

 Statistically speaking

Quarterback Blake Bortles has been one of the true stars of the Jaguars Cinderella-like season, but it’s possible he’s already turned back into a pumpkin. From Weeks 13-15, no quarterback in the league had a better passer rating while working out of a clean pocket that Bortles, who racked up an incredible 137.2 mark during that span. A week ago, however, Bortles was only half that good, producing a clean-pocket rating of 74.3, according to Pro Football Focus. One big reason for that low number: Bortles threw all his season-high three interceptions last week from a clean pocket, which is a bad sign. The Jaguars are obviously hoping this was just one bad game that Bortles will bounce back from today, but if he doesn’t it could be a sign of danger ahead.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars DB Jalen Ramsey implied Monday he wants out of Jacksonville

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Frustration is mounting in Jacksonville as the Jaguars dropped their fifth straight game losing Sunday in Indianapolis 29 – 26.

And as the cliche goes, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” However, the literal meaning of that phrase can now being taken by Jaguars fans and media with regards to controversial defensive back Jalen Ramsey taking to social media Monday morning to imply that he wants to get going out of Jacksonville.

Whether it was frustration, trying to be funny or just being honest, Ramsey’s tweeted mid-morning message is definitely going to stir things up. And, the clear indication is that the former fifth overall pick of the Jags in 2016, who’s playing in his third season on his rookie contract, is counting down the days to be gone from North Florida.

This is the latest in a series of headaches for the Jaguars front office and Coach Doug Marrone. It began in the offseason when Ramsey refused to come work out with his teammates during OTAs and instead, elected to remain training in Tennessee with his father at their training facility.

Now, that one is more easily explained and accepted, because Ramsey has trained there throughout his young adult life in the offseason. And ultimately, OTAs are supposed to be voluntary workouts anyway.

Still, the perception was that Ramsey was not wanting to be part of the team concept and around his teammates coming off of a playoff season, when the franchise was hoping to take the next steps.

Then came Ramsey’s decision to not show up at the beginning of Jaguars training camp due to the birth of his daughter. While he informed the Jaguars of his intentions in advance, the fact that Ramsey did not come to participate in practices and preparation for the season for five days of actual practices was another concerning hint that he’s not pleased with the Jags and the situation.

The subject was basically glossed over by the media in Jacksonville, but if winning and getting better with your teammates is a priority and your girlfriend and child did not have any complications during childbirth, why were you not with them within a day or so of the birth?

Next, came and ugly and embarrassing public skirmish at a Jaguars training camp practice, as defensive line teammates Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler got into a shoving match and had to be separated from teammates in full view of fans and media looking on. Ramsey joined in in threatening two different reporters to stop video taping the incident, even though they were perfectly within their right to do so covering the team.

Maronne suspended both Fowler and Ramsey for the entire week of practice with the Minnesota Vikings before playing the preseason game in Minneapolis. Fowler was traded two weeks ago to the L.A. Rams, while in the final year of his rookie contract.

Also, Ramsey’s comments in GQ Magazine and an online article also came out later that same August week  and in the article, Ramsey took shots at quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger, rookie Josh Allen, Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan, too.

This obviously brought unwanted attention to Ramsey around the football world, at a time when the Jaguars would have wanted it toned down.

Now, the Jaguars are facing adversity on the field having lost five in a row to drop to 3 and 6 on the season and in last place in the AFC South.

It’s also interesting timing for Ramsey to be speaking out, half joking or not, because it’s after the trading deadline and the Jaguar still have Ramsay’s exclusive rights to give him a new deal through next season. They also have the option to pick up the 5th Year on his rookie contract, which would be 2020.

Another theory would be: that Ramsey is trying the  “if you complain loudly and long enough they will trade you” route to get out.

There is no disputing that Ramsey is one of the best one-on-one cover corners in football, but as we have asked frequently, at what point do all of the antics and drama off the field outweigh that?

This is especially, when you can potentially get something for him of substance in return or maybe, in a trade Ramsey.

However that’s a question for the off-season for the Jags. For now?

It’s another headache off the field from #20.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars slide continues, as comeback comes up short

Florida Football Insiders

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

A valiant comeback in the second half in Indianapolis was spoiled by a late turnover, and unfortunately at this stage for the Jaguars, there’s no such thing as a “moral victory.”

And in the end, the scoreboard read Colts 29, Jaguars 26.

That’s five straight losses for Jacksonville, a team that won the division and two playoff games a year ago, but looks very ordinary and at times, awful when it matters this season.

For example, they were bad defensively for much of the first half of this game Sunday, as Andrew Luck repeatedly riddled them for big throws and touchdowns in the first half  building a 21 – 7 lead.

Still, the Jags showed great moxie in the second half trying to snap their four-game losing streak. Jacksonville put together a 75-yard drive out of the locker room that culminated with Leonard Fournette’s second touchdown of the season and trimmed the lead to 29 – 23.

The Jaguar defense continue to lockdown the Colts in the second half, and linebacker Telvin Smith picked off Luck at the end of the third quarter to keep the Jaguars within range.

After a Josh Lambo field goal had cut the lead to three, Indianapolis was trying to put the game away, but could not run the clock out. Then, they elected to try a 52-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri which the future Hall of Famer missed.

And, that opened the door for the Jags to have one last chance.

However, that chance also got  squandered after Blake Bortles had completed a couple of passes to T.J. Yeldon, and then Yeldon had a 9-yard run down to the Indy 35 making it 3rd and one.

That’s when Bortles completed a pass downfield to Rashad Greene, who was stripped by defensive back Kenny Moore of the Colts. The play was initially called a catch on the field, but replay review later overturned it and allow the Colts to kneel on the ball and run the clock out.

So it was a mixed bag of some good things, but not enough of them.

And the reality for coach Doug Marrone and the team is: five straight losses and a team that was once riding high in the AFC South off a win over the Patriots that made them 3 – 1, has now disintegrated.

The Jaguars five game losing streak has also put them in the basement of the AFC South at 3 – 6.

And that’s not a place where anyone expected them to be.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Gameday- Jaguars must bounce back at Indianapolis

Florida Football Insiders

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Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Jaguars (3-5) at Colts (5-5)

When: Sunday 1 p.m.

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Spread: Colts by 3 points (Courtesy VegasInsder.com)

Here’s what to watch:

Fournette is back

Those are three words that Jaguar fans have been waiting for five weeks. And finally second-year running back Leonard Fournette appears to be healthy after missing six of the last seven games with a hamstring injury. Fournette re-aggravated that hamstring injury in October game against the Jets and has not played in the last for Jaguar games. All of those games have been losses, with the Jaguars unable to run the ball and set up their play action passing.

Now, off the bye week, the explosive second-year running back from LSU was able to practice all week and should be a full go for this match-up in Indy. He should make a difference, provided that there’s not another reaggravatation, which would only have the Jags fans throwing up their hands and rolling their eyes.

Get after Andrew Luck

If the Colts are going to continue their success it’s writing on the former number one overall pick. After missing all of last season with shoulder surgery, Luck is rounding into form in the middle of 2018.

Luck has 23 TD passes and just eight INTS as the Colts have won back to back games.

The Jaguars pass rush has got to be ready to go in this one. That means players like Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Telvin Smith and Myles Jack have to pressure, knock down and sack Luck on Sunday or it could be a long day for the Jags.

Play with a sense of urgency

Just like what we wrote in the Buccaneers preview with the Redskins, the Jaguars have seen their 3-1 start evaporate, and with four straight losses, they have to come out Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium playing like their season is on the line.

That’s because, it likely is.

The Jags have to get to nine wins, just like the Buccaneers in the NFC, to have a realistic hope at a wild card spot. Their drought of victories has put them at 3 – 5, and that means they have to start winning, now.

Off their bye week, will they be sharp and well disciplined on both sides of the ball? Will there be penalties, will there be turnovers and will there be mistakes in assignments?

If there are a lot of those, then excitement built off a year ago and the hope for following it up with a playoff season in 2018 will basically be gone.

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