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Jacksonville Jaguars

How much benefit will come from Jaguars and Vikings practicing together?

Florida Football Insiders

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Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of an exciting 2017 season for each of them, the Jaguars and the Vikings were already playing in the preseason this August, and now they will try to benefit from that, even more.

On Thursday, the teams that each won their division and made their conference title game a year ago,  jointly announced that they will be practicing together in Minneapolis in advance of their August 18th preseason game at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Jags announced the move on social media around lunch time:

There are some intriguing elements and benefits. And Jacksonville coach, Doug Marrone laid those out in the team release:

“We look forward to traveling to Minnesota to work with Coach Zimmer and his team at their new state-of-the-art facility, the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center,” said Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone. “Having the opportunity to practice with another conference finalist during training camp will allow us to compete with great players and coaches and continue to push ourselves. We believe that these joint sessions will provide us with an opportunity to improve as a football team, which is always the goal for training camp.”

He’s absolutely right that by the third week of training camp, the mundane repetition of practicing against yourselves day after day in the summer heat needs to be broken up. And many teams for years have begun to do with with another club.

In fact, last season, the Jaguars hosted the Bucs in joint practices prior to their August exhibition match-up at their facilities adjacent to what’s now, TIAA Bank Field.

However, things don’t always go as intended for either or both teams.

Example, during those practices last August, as was documented on the HBO training camp all access “Hard Knocks” that featured the Bucs, coach Dirk Koetter was displeased with the effort and the execution of his team against the Jags in the workouts.

Even worse though, Jacksonville played terribly as a team, in the first half of the actual game, and QB Blake Bortles looked so bad, that Marrone and the coaching staff decided to bench him for the following week in favor of veteran backup Chad Henne.

Henne was largely ineffective in that role to end the preseason, and the Jags went back to Bortles. And, he went on to a solid start to the regular season and was good, not great, for the most part in 2017.

As for the Vikings, they are anxious to get all of the work in that they can for new high priced free agent QB Kirk Cousins, as this would be his second exhibition game. And there work with the Jaguars should benefit them, leading to the game.

Still both teams won’t show much, to each other in practice, and usually the second preseason game sees starters gone by half time.

So, how much will really be gained by this?

Coaches will tell you it helps evaluate. Players will tell you they like limited blocking and tackling someone else.

Fans will get to see the practices for free.

Other than those points? Not a lot else will be.

It is after all, practice.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL officially suspended Jaguars DE Dante Fowler one game Friday

Florida Football Insiders

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars got the bad news Friday afternoon, as the NFL made it official and suspended defensive end Dante Fowler for the opening game of the season against the New York Giants.

As we have been writing about, including last week, Fowler was almost certainly going to be suspended for at least a game for having entered a no-contest plea in March to assaulting St Petersburg man in an apartment complex parking lot last July.

The league notified Fowler of his punishment and the Jaguars released this statement.

This is not the first incident for Fowler, since joining the NFL He also pled-out an assault charge from 2016 in Dade County, but, did however escape NFL punishment for that incident.

Interestingly, Jacksonville had decided not to pick up Fowler’s fifth year option on his rookie contract earlier this off season. Instead, they publicly challenged him to continue to be not only a quality player, but better off the field.

Fowler blossomed during Jacksonville’s playoff season of 2017. The former #1 pick, had a breakout season with eight sacks, as the Jaguars defense was the top one in the NFL at rushing the quarterback. And, Jacksonville went on to win the AFC South and make the AFC Championship Game.

Fowler missed his entire rookie season of 2015 due to an ACL injury in rookie mini-camp just after being drafted that year. He’s a former All-SEC performer for the Gators, and is part of the young nucleus of players that the Jaguars are centering their defense around.

As with any players suspended by the NFL, Fowler will still be allowed to participate in training camp and in preseason games. The suspension will be the week of the opening games of the NFL season, and Fowler can have no contact with the coaching staff or any team activities.

 

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars “cornerstone” player for 2018?

Florida Football Insiders

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The third installment of our “cornerstone” players series takes us to North Florida. And, as the Jaguars get ready to start up 2018, we wondered which impact player would be the one to build around.

You could make arguments for last year’s top free agent acquisition defensive tackle Calais Campbell, or lock down corner Jalen Ramsey, as being that player. However, it’s a player on the offensive side of the ball that appears to be everything that Jacksonville could have hoped for in a running back. That running back is Leonard Fournette.

Fournette, whom the Jags took fourth overall in the draft, is fantastic physical talent at 6’0 230lbs. with a blend of speed and power. And in his debut season, repeatedly showed why you would want to have your offense centered on his ability pound on a defense.

He made a tremendous impact from the beginning of the Jags breakout 2017 with a 100 yard game in the opening win at Houston, and three more 100 yard games in the first nine.

There was lull in Fournette’s productivity due an ankle injury and he also missed a game in Indianapolis due disciplinary reasons, but eventually, Fournette got back on track. He ran for 109 yards and 3 TDs in Jacksonville’s statement win over Seattle in December that clinched the first playoff spot for Jacksonville in 11 seasons.

Then, in the post season Fournette was just okay against the Bills in the AFC Wildcard game with 57 yards on 21 carries. However the next week in Pittsburgh, Fournette set the tone early and often with two first quarter TDs. He finished with 109 yards and 3 rushing TDs, and Jacksonville stunned the Steelers to advance to the AFC Championship Game.

The Jags sledgehammer back scored another early TD and finished with 76 yards rushing as the Patriots rallied to win 24-20 scoring in the final three minutes to knock the Jaguars out of the Superbowl.

Of course there will be great scrutiny on the play of quarterback Blake Bortles, and rightfully so.

However, much of the Jaguars success offensively, the identity of what they want to do, will be centered around Leonard Fournette.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Why is Jalen Ramsey Twitter feuding with NFL Network analyst?

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There is no mistaking that Jaguars defensive back Jalen Ramsey is talented, and in 2017 he was named as an All-Pro by his peers and most recenlty in the player polled “Top 100.” So, that’s a validation that doesn’t need a whole lot else.

Yet, an NFL Network analyst and a former NFL defensive back himself, is questioning part of his game.

And, Jalen Ramsey got annoyed. Like, really annoyed.

It all began when, Bucky Brooks, who hosts a successful podcast and appears regularly on the NFL Network questioned another player, DB Casey Hayward of the Chargers, and whether he was a “transcendent talent” in coverage.

The exchanges with Hayward on Twitter Thursday went on for a bit and then, Ramsey jumped in here:

 

And, when Brooks tweeted about Ramsey and why he was drafted two years ago in the top five by Jacksonville, things cranked up on social media:

Next, Ramsey questioned whether Brooks believes Ramsey is only a product of the Jaguars “defensive system” and not of his ability to shutdown the opposing team’s top wideout, one on one:

Brooks referenced former fellow Noles All American and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders as one of those rare “lock down” corners, and of course, that someone that Ramsey, two years removed from FSU, wants to be compared to with his own game.

Brooks then explained further about his own analysis and teams/GMs/personnel executives thinking:

In the end, Ramsey, who is not bashful about expressing his opinions on or off the field, finally gave some props to Brooks for having an informed opinion:

The bottom line is that analysts get paid to analyze. And the good ones are always soliciting the opinions of others, who are actually coaching and working in the NFL Front office.

And further, if Ramsey keeps “locking down” the likes of the Texans DeAndre Hopkins, and the Colts T.Y. Hilton, who he sees twice a year, then he will continue to get the respect he wants. And, he’ll get the second contract dollars that come with it, too.

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