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Jacksonville Jaguars

Is Jamaal Charles Jaguars solution at backup running back?

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Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Desperate for running back depth in health, the Jaguars and former Chiefs star in the backfield, Jamaal Charles, maybe a perfect marriage.

Reports Tuesday morning are that the Jags are working out Charles today in North Florida:

The former third-round pick of the Chiefs is a two-time All-Pro in his previous 10 seasons. However, he has battled knee injuries including, two ACL tears in his NFL career.

Charles was most recently a Denver Bronco a year ago (above), but carried the ball only 69 times in 14 games during a dismal Denver season.

Charles, who will be 32 later this season, has not been in an NFL training camp or with a team to start the year. He has been working out on his own, and waiting for an opportunity. Charles attended the Texas-Oklahoma game Saturday in Dallas rooting on his Longhorns from the sideline.

With Leonard Fournette out of action with his injured hamstring that has kept him out of three of the last four games and will likely keep him out of the Dallas game this week, the Jaguars are in dire straits for running back help.

Veteran T.J. Yeldon was on the field for more than 85% of their plays on Sunday. And while he’s done a decent job carrying the football, he’s not an explosive game-changing back. And most importantly, Yeldon needs a break every now and then from a veteran that can be counted on.

Back to Charles’s knee injuries, he suffered a torn ACL in the left knee in 2011, but came back strong after that to have a 1,500 yard rushing season for Kansas City in 2012. However, in 2015 he tore the ACL in his right knee in a week five game against the Bears and was placed on injured reserve.

Charles was not fully recovered from the ACL until the start of the 2016 season and played in only three games for the Chiefs that year. He ended up having an injured meniscus, as well and was placed on injured reserve again in November of 2016.

He signed a one-year 3.75 million contract with the Broncos for last year but platooned on a bad Denver team. And, the Broncos chose not to re-sign him.

UPDATE: The Jaguars must have been impressed in the workout. Charles has agreed to a one year deal:

It’s likely that Charles will be active for the Jaguars game at AT&T Stadium Sunday afternoon.

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Zach Lauer
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Jacksonville Jaguars

If Jaguars are going with QB Cody Kessler, they better stick with him

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

There’s not much going right right now in Jacksonville. It’s obvious that the offense is sinking to the bottom of the sea like an anvil. However, after a third straight loss and four out of five, where the Jaguars offense has gone nowhere, it may very well be time for starting quarterback Blake Bortles to take a seat.

Oh, he already took a seat in the second half of Sunday’s latest loss 20 – 7 to the Texans. And rightfully so, as Bortles was putrid again throwing just 6 – 12 for 61 yards and lost two fumbles. And, the sputtering Jaguar offense was shut out for the third consecutive week in the first half.

Coach Doug Marrone bluntly declared the quarterback position “open” in his post game press conference.

So, it’s a week of uncertainty for the Jaguars, as they get ready to head to London to play the Eagles.

But, as much as it seems like the logical, if not even the “no risk thing to do,” to start Cody Kessler next Sunday, here’s a quick word of caution:

Be ready to stick with it.

The reason?

The Jaguars season is teetering on the verge of becoming completely lost, and currently, it appears that it only needs only “one final straw to break its back.”

Sure Kessler could succeed, but he could have the same or even worse results this week at Wembley. But, if Marrone is not willing to stick with him, Jaguar locker room that already had players screaming at each other Sunday, as the media came in, may be done in 2018 once and for all.

Kessler does have six career starts for Clevleand in the 2016 season. And maybe the “spark” that we briefly saw on a TD drive in the second half will turn into something more.

And look. It’s no secret that Bortles existence as the Jags quarterback was in serious Jeopardy last August, but he played solidly, if at times not great, football during what turned out to be a magical turnaround 2017 season.

And Bortles did respond well after a shaky first postseason victory over Buffalo to play brilliantly in Pittsburgh in the upset of the Steelers. And then, he played good enough football to have the Jags in position to win the AFC Championship game at New England the following week.

Heck, the Jaguars quickly gave him a contract extension with a bunch of guaranteed money for this season, because of that January performance.

However, right now, it doesn’t seem like Bortles will be around for 2019, much less longer term.

So if you’re now saying he’s not good enough to help you get out of this tailspin against Philly and beyond, you’re going to have to stay committed to Kessler trying to make it work.

That’s because if  you go to Kessler, but end up benching him after one game and going back to Bortles, Marrone will be signaling that they don’t have much of a clue and much belief in anyone to save the situation.

That’s worse than giving Bortles one more shot at this point.

It’s a shot late August 2017 that worked for Bortles and the Jags.

It’s the shot Kessler should get, in full, to turn it around, this year.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Gameday- Jaguars try to bounce back at home against hot Texans

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Jaguars (3-3) at Texans (3-3)

When: Sunday  1 p.m.

Where: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville

Spread: Jaguars by 4 points (Courtesy of Vegasinsider.com)

What to watch:

Can the Jaguars run?

Another week and more uncertainty about who and how the Jaguars will get their run game going. It was a dismal offensive showing in Dallas and a 40 – 7 loss.

As you probably know by now, Leonard Fournette is still inactive and out for another game with his injured hamstring. This is the fifth time in six games that he is not available for offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and the attack.

Reserve running back T.J. Yeldon has filled in solidly but not spectacularly. Veteran Jamaal Charles was signed two weeks ago but carried just five times for five yards in the lost to the Cowboys.The Jaguars did trade for Cleveland running back Carlos Hyde on Friday giving up a mid-round pick in next year’s draft. Hyde will not be available to help them in this match-up, but perhaps in the future.

The Jaguars have to try to get some kind of run game going to help set up the play action of quarterback Blake Bortles.

Stopping DeShaun Watson

In the Jaguars season sweep of the Texans in 2017, they had the good fortune of not playing the Texans top weapon on offense, quarterback DeShaun Watson (above) either time. Watson had not yet taken over the starting role in the opening game, when Jacksonville blew Houston out. He then was injured for the season with a torn ACL, when the second meeting came around later in the year.

Watson has now helped lead the Texans to three consecutive victories and is still a threat with both his arm and his wheels. It will be important for the Jaguars front seven to keep him not only in the pocket but also from making great runs on broken plays.

Get the Swagger back

There is no doubt that the good will and momentum of a great 2017 is gone. The Chiefs and the Cowboys pounded it out of the Jaguars the last two games.

Jacksonville is back at home, and they have to give the home fans something to cheer about early and often in this game. Whether it is a big hit defensively, a big play on offense or both, the Jags have to get something going to get out of their funk.

The Texans have won three straight, have other play-makers besides Watson like J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins and they aren’t just going to roll over.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars acquired RB Carlos Hyde from Browns Friday

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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Desperate to kick-start their offense, the Jaguars continue to overhaul their banged-up backfield. On Friday, Jacksonville acquired running back Carlos Hyde from the Cleveland Browns.

Hyde, a former second-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers, had signed with the Browns in March on a three year $15.2 million deal. And, he had modest success in Cleveland’s first six games, with his best game coming in week 3 against the Jets where he ran for 98 yards on 23 carries and scored two touchdowns.

The Jaguars are parting with a fifth round draft pick in return for the former Ohio State Buckeyes star to give them a “shot in the arm” offensively.

We have well-documented that the Jaguars run game is undermanned and underwhelming. With Leonard Fournette still battling an injured hamstring and already ruled out for Sunday- meaning he will miss his fifth game in the last six, Coach Doug Marrone and staff are looking for answers on the ground.

A week ago in Dallas T.J. Yeldon had 8 carries for 41 yards and newly-acquired Jamaal Charles carried five times for just 5 yards. Yeldon has been limited in practice with a nagging ankle injury, and Charles is approaching 32 years of age and there is still concerned about how much he has left to offer.

With Hyde being acquired on Friday afternoon, he will be first be able to be active and able to help next week, when the Jaguars head to London to play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Hyde is slated to make $5.5 million dollars on this year’s cap, including the prorated 3.5 million signing bonus in the deal he did with Cleveland. The Jaguars are now going to be responsible for a little more than half of that money with 10 games to go in the regular season.

As for their offense, it has registered just 21 points in the last two games- both blowout losses to the Chiefs and the Cowboys. And, off of three losses in four games, if the Jaguars don’t get something going quickly, it may not matter which running back is in the backfield for the stretch run.

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