It’s only February, and we don’t even know who the free agents are, much less, the draft picks for the 32 teams that will play the 2019 NFL season? However, on the Wednesday morning edition of “Good Morning Football,” the popular NFL Network Morning Show, their hosts wasted no time in weighing in with two state NFL teams that they believe are destined to turn it around this year.
The show topic was going “worst-to-first in 2019,” and co-hosts Kyle Brandt and former Seahawks and Lions receiver and kick returner Nate Burleson both propped up the Buccaneers and then, the Jaguars:
— GMFB (@gmfb) February 13, 2019
Of his reasoning why the Buccaneers would turn around from 5 and 11 to a first place can’t ending NFC South team, Brant said:
“We know the Bruce Arians ‘Mt. Rushmore of Quarterbacks.’ I feel this is like the old detective. That, ‘one last job.’ Guy can fix Jameis (Winston) to his full potential. You know they’re crazy talented. They always have been….I think there’s opportunity in the NFC South, especially with Cam (Newton) banged up. Watch out for the Bucs.”
As for Burleson he wasted no time in saying with the Jaguars would bounce back:
“The Jaguars are picking 7th. If they don’t get Nick Foles in free agency, which some say could be the landing spot, what if they get a guy by the name of Kyler Murray? And he spices up that offense with Leonard Fournette who is trying to get himself back to where he needs to be. Also that defense is still there, one of the best in the business.”
Obviously, the Buccaneers are in a much better situation in that they have an established quarterback that Arians believes in, and there are passing weapons around Winston that have a chance to make the Bucs really good again offensively, like they were in 2018. Tampa Bay led the NFL with over 5,000 yards in total offense.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars have complete uncertainty at this point at quarterback, as Burleson alluded to, whether it’s going to be a free agent or a trade for a veteran or perhaps drafting someone like Murray, if he’s still there?
Further, there’s uncertainty around Fournette and whether or not he will ever live up to the potential and the flashes that we’re seeing in 2017, no matter who is the signal caller.
Still, these kind of debates are fun and there were at least a dozen teams that Brandt or Burleson could have picked instead of the Buccaneers and the Jaguars. And, for the record co-hosts Peter Schrager and M.J. Acosta took the Giants and the Raiders respectively, as two of those other teams Wednesday morning
Report- Jaguars DB Jalen Ramsey demanding trade
The continued soap opera of Jaguars defensive back Jalen Ramsey had another chapter on Sunday and now, the Pro Bowl defensive back has apparently demanded a trade.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport says that Ramsey’s agent contacted the club Sunday night after the team’s latest loss, 13 – 12 to the Houston Texans, wanting his client to be moved:
Sources: #Jaguars Pro Bowl CB Jalen Ramsey has requested a trade from the team. This stems from his frustration with how he’s being used and from a confrontation with coach Doug Marrone on Sunday. This has been steadily building.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 16, 2019
The latest dust-up involving the former Florida State first round pick and the club happened on the sidelines in the first quarter of the game. That’s when Ramsey was apparently upset the coach Doug Marrone did not challenge a completion to Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on a key third-down with Ramsey covering him.
Television replays showed the ball may very well have been on the ground and the pass incomplete. Marrone and Ramsey had to be separated, not once but twice, after Marrone confronted him on the bench next to teammates:
Lets check in on the 0-1 Jaguars. Jalen Ramsey vs Doug Marrone? Oh pic.twitter.com/hJ7oe2XyAP
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) September 15, 2019
Then, Ramsey came back to argue with Marrone, while he was standing near midfield resuming his coaching duties. And, he had to be walked back to the bench area by an assistant coach.
The ongoing saga included reports last season that the Jaguars have been shopping Ramsey themselves for possible premium draft picks during a dismal 5 – 11 finish.
Ramsey was also suspended for a week of training camp a year ago for conduct detrimental to the team after he screamed at Jaguars beat reporter Philip Heilman. Heilman was filming an altercation between teammates Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler after a training camp practice.
Ramsey is making $3.6 million for this season, earlier in April the Jags picked up Ramsey’s $13.7 million option for next season.
The Jaguars send a message to their locker room last October when they dealt Fowler, former number 1 pick defensive end out of Florida to the L.A. Rams. So, it is not too far-fetched to think that VP of Football Tom Coughlin and Marrone would do the same with Ramsey soon.
However it’s not likely that something like that would happen this week, as the Jaguars are hosting the Tennessee Titans in the Thursday night game at TIAA Bank Field.
Credit Jaguars Doug Marrone for gambling on two point play
All too often, coaches deserve criticism for being way too conservative or not being willing to take any chances. So, when a coach does what Doug Marrone did in the final :30 Sunday in Houston, we say “raise a glass for him.”
To set the scene: the Jaguars had played a pretty subpar offensive game for much of the day behind rookie backup quarterback Gardner Minshew. However, Minshew rallied the team in the final two minutes down 13 – 6 to get into scoring range. This included Minshew scrambling on his own and running 18 yards down to the Houston at 13-yard-line with :52 left.
Then with :30 left, Minshew found second-year receiver D.J. Chark alone in the back of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown to pull Jacksonville within one point.
And that’s when Marrone, the Jags third-year head coach, decided to gamble on trying to win the game, right then.
Marrone called for a two-point play, and it was briefly halted when Texans coach Bill O’Brien called time out. Still, after the brief break and time to think about it, Marrone stuck with his plan and did not try to tie the game with a Josh Lambo extra point.
Instead, out of the shotgun formation Minshew handed inside to power back Leonard Fournette, who was stopped by a Texans double team tackle led by safety Justin Reid, just short of the goal line.
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) September 15, 2019
That stop preserved the win for Houston and dropped the Jags 0-2.
After the game was done, Marrone met with the media and almost immediately was asked about the risk he took going for the two-point conversion, especially on a road. Marone answered that he had been contemplating going for two the entire time the Jags were driving inside the final two minutes.
Doug Marrone said he made the decision before the final drive that if the #Jaguars scored he was going to go for two.
— Phillip Heilman (@phillip_heilman) September 15, 2019
As for Fournette, he said postgame that he felt like he had reached the ball across the goal line, but briefly, to give Jacksonville a 14 – 13 lead. Alas, the officials didn’t see it and replays couldn’t clearly show him getting the ball across.
No matter that goes as a loss, Marrone was trying to win a game that his team had no business being in.
This is especially, with the loss of QB Nick Foles to a broken clavicle last week, and then, not playing the game with the likes of DE Yannick Ngakoue, DB A.J. Bouye, WR Marqise Lee and LT Cam Robinson, who are all injured and still trying to recover.
So, shorthanded, and off a season that fell apart at 5-11 last year, Marrone sent the message to his team: “I want to win, right now.”
But. the Texans stopped it.
Yes, you can question the play call/formation to hand Fournette the ball.
However, you cannot argue with a coach showing guts to go for victory, when his team needs a spark.
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