What: Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4) vs. Seattle Seahawks (8-4)
Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville
When: 4:25 p.m.
Latest line/Over-under: Jaguars -2.5/40
Why you should watch
Could this be a preview of Super Bowl LII? You’re not like to find many who would go so far as to suggest that, but it is a matchup of not just two playoff contenders, but two potential division champions. It’s also a matchup featuring one of the current favorites for the NFL’s MVP Award (Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson) and one of the current favorites for the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year Award (Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell). The bottom line here is that this is one good matchup of two teams playing some very good football, and the outcome may tell us a lot about just how far these two teams can go this year. No one is quite ready to say the Seahawks and Jaguars are the best teams in their respective conferences but they’re in the conversation and that conversation could expand after this one is settled.
Key on: Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette
Fournette just hasn’t been the same since he came back from the ankle injury he suffered several weeks back. In the four games he’s played since that return he has yet to average more than 4 yards per carry in any one game and has twice been held to a 2-yards-per-carry average. Fournette says the ankle is not the problem and there’s no reason to doubt him because he doesn’t seem to be favoring it in any way and his workload has not been reduced. The problem is that opponents have caught on to what the Jaguars are doing by leaning so much on the run, so they’ve been stacking the box in an effort to stop Fournette and put the game on quarterback Blake Bortles shoulders. The Seahawks are sure to do the same, but at some point Fournette and the Jags are going to have to figure out a way to move the ball effectively against those stacked boxes or the odds of riding deep into the playoffs are going to wind up being stacked against them.
The Jaguars are getting a superb season out of right tackle Jeremy Parnell, especially from a pass-protection standpoint. According to Pro Football Focus, Parnell has yet to allow a sack this year despite having played more than 300 pass-blocking snaps. He’s the only right tackle in the league not to allow a sack across that many pass-blocking snaps and if he can keep it up for another 70 snaps he will become the first right tackle in the PFF Era, which began in 2006, to have played more than 370 pass-blocking snaps without allowing a sack. That’s pretty good stuff, but Parnell has his work cut out for him this week as he’s likely to see a lot of Seahawks end Michael Bennett. Bennett has 7.5 sacks this year and has proved to be at his best in the fourth quarter, where he has 2.5 sacks, nine quarterback hits and 15 QB hurries for a league-leading 26 fourth-quarter pressures.
Jaguars exercise 2020 option for WR Conley
Before free agency hits in March, the Jaguars have already begun to put some pieces together for their 2020 roster. And, that includes a big play wide receiver that they intend to keep around for this season.
The team announced on Friday afternoon that they have picked up a contract option on fifth year receiver Chris Conley, who comes off a career year in Jacksonville:
We have exercised the team options for WR Chris Conley (through 2020) and S Jarrod Wilson (through 2021).
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) February 21, 2020
Conley signed a two-year deal with the first year being guaranteed and the second year being a team option. He definitely lived up to the free-agent billing having a career-high season in receptions (47) yards (775) and touchdowns (5) despite Jacksonville struggles.
Conley did develop a chemistry with rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, as he took over for the injured Nick Foles early in the year and won four games to get the team to 4-4. Conley also averaged a career-high 16.5 yards per catch in 2019.
He previously played four seasons in Kansas City before coming to the Jaguars via free agency. In picking up the option Jacksonville will pay Conley $2.3 million for this season including a $445,000 roster bonus. That is very cost-effective for the team in terms of the salary cap can other players they are looking to fit in.
The team must decide whether they will put huge money in front of their top pass-rusher the last three years, Yannick Ngakoue. Ngakoue has 29.5 sacks from 2017-29 with is the most productive three season stretch for any Jacksonville pass rusher in that amount of time. Jaguars coach Doug Marrone and GM Dave Caldwell have to figure out if they can get Ngakoue to agree to a long term deal or will they perhaps use the 2020 “franchise tag” for him, which would pay him around $18-19 million for the upcoming year.
And, the team also can negotiate a new deal with star running back Leonard Fournette, who is about to enter the final season of his rookie contract and is also going to be seeking a huge extension.
Report- Jaguars to hire former Giants coach McAdoo as QB coach
The Jaguars are trying to fix things offensively and especially, at the quarterback position. And, to that end, they have apparently settled on another hire, involving another former NFL head coach to lead their QB room.
ESPN Giants reporter Jordan Raanan reported Tuesday night the Jacksonville is hiring former New York Giants head coach, Ben McAdoo, to be their quarterback coach:
Ben McAdoo is being hired as the Jaguars quarterbacks coach, per source. The former Giants coach is back in after two years out of the NFL. McAdoo has worked well with Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning in his previous stints.
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) February 12, 2020
McAdoo had been under consideration by head coach, Doug Marrone, for the offensive coordinator vacancy that occurred when the team dismissed John DeFilippo after just one season.
Eventually, Marrone decided upon another former NFC East coach, Jay Gruden, from the Redskins, as the offensive coordinator hire. Gruden, the younger brother of Jon Gruden, is known as an innovator in the passing game.
However, the Jags, including GM Dave Caldwell, were obviously impressed with Macado’s previous work with the Giants and Eli Manning. McAdoo began as an offensive coordinator in New York in 2014 – 15. He was then given the head coaching job, basically at the uriging of the two-time Super Bowl champion QB Manning to take over in 2016.
The Giants finished 11 – 5 McAdoo’s first year as the head coach and made the playoffs. However, the relationship with Eli Manning quickly soured and the team fell apart going 2 – 10 in its first 12 games with McAdoo actually benching Manning late in the 2017 season. McAdoo was fired the week after that benching and has been out of the NFL the last two seasons.
McAdoo will replace QB coach Scott Milanovich, who took over as head coach of the CFL Edmonton Eskimos for later this summer.
The Jaguars still have to resolve their quarterback situation, as they have high price free agent signing Nick Foles, who did not perform well in his first season in Jacksonville. And then, they have fan favorite rookie 6th round pick Gardner Minshew, who did play well at times in relief of the injured Foles and when Marrone benched Foles for the final four games of the year.
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