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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jags QB Foles returns to face Colts Sunday in key South battle

Abbey Radeka

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Foles will be making his return to the field with the Jaguars after recovering from the broken collarbone he suffered in the season opener. There’s a lot of hope riding on his return that he can recharge the struggling offense as they head into the playoff race.

Foles spoke with the media on Wednesday and addressed what it’s like reentering into the season midway through, especially going into an ACF south matchup right off the bat.

“Its harder. Guys have been playing for a long time. More is on the line. Offenses and cultures and teams have been developed… That’s the biggest challenge of stepping back in and playing football when it’s been awhile. But I look forward to the challenge because of the guys I get to step into the huddle with and be with on the sidelines”

Foles is reclaiming the starting spot from rookie Gardner Minshew who has done his fair share of not only bringing home a couple of solid wins, but bringing life back to the Jacksonville franchise.

But, Minshew made it easier for Marrone and the Jaguars to make the decision to put him on the bench, when he played poorly and threw a couple of horrible interceptions in the fourth quarter of the 26 – 3 loss to Houston two weeks ago at Wembley Stadium.

In fairness, not much had been going right throughout the day on either side of the ball for the Jaguars in that game, and Minshew had been really good with 13 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions over his previous seven games before London.

Clearly, it’s the safer play for Jaguars to go back to the Super Bowl hero from two years ago in Foles, whom they gave a massive contract to in March.

Jacksonville landed the former Eagles QB  by guaranteeing him $50 million on a four-year contract. That’s the richest deal that the Jags have never given to a quarterback in their 25-year franchise history.

And, they have hoped all along that his veteran leadership and downfield passing arm will provide their offensive some needed help. His efficiency and decisiveness on offense, especially when under pressure, could bring the Jags as much success as he saw in his time in Philadelphia.

According to Pro Football Focus, Foles completed 44 out of 73 of his passes (60.3%) for 566 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions while under pressure. Against the blitz, Foles completed 37 out of 51 (72.5) passes for 457 yards and four touchdowns.

While Minshew put up solid numbers, passing for 2,285 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions in nine total games, he struggles significantly more when under pressure, which is why its safer so go with the vet late in the season.

Foles has been back at practice for about two weeks and had a bye this past weekend to prepare for divisional matchup with the Colts. It will be a huge first test back, as they travel to Indianapolis to try and start a run in a game that will greatly affect playoff chances.

Abbey is a native Floridan who grew up a fan of all Tampa Bay sports teams. She’s recently graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Media Communication Studies. In her time at FSU, she was an In-Game Host for the Basketball and Baseball teams, and reported for Seminole Sports Magazine, producing feature stories that appeared on Fox Sports Sun. She’s excited to share her perspective on all of Florida’s Football teams, especially the Seminoles.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?

Florida Football Insiders

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of the key free-agent questions for the Jaguars continues to be whether or not they’re going to allow their best pass rusher, Yannick Ngakoue, to test the free-agent market coming up? And, once again, the player may be giving a clue that he’s going to do just that.

Ngakoue tweeted Wednesday morning the following phrase, which seems to indicate, yet again, that he will be playing somewhere else in 2020:

This goes along with something that we wrote earlier in January. That’s when just a couple of days after the season Ngakoue posted essentially a goodbye message to Jaguar fans. This came on the heels of him having held out for a new contract for the first few days of training camp last August, but not receiving a new deal during the season, etc.

Ngakoue, whose 37.5 career sacks are the most by a Jaguars player after 63 career games, is sure to be a sought-after player from many different teams. GM Dave Caldwell said at the end of the season when asked about re-sgning his star pass rusher, “He is a tremendous player and even a better person. How he handled his business this year was tremendous. But, I would say that’s priority No. 1, to make sure he comes back to Jacksonville. Hopefully, we can get that done. ″

It’s also worth noting that at Tuesday’s NFL Scouting Combine at media availability in Indianapolis, coach Doug Marrone repeated that he wants Ngakoue to remain in Jaguars teal and white:

However, it remains to be seen if Marrone and Caldwell are willing to “pony up” huge money for him or even potentially,  put the franchise tag on him before free agency begins next month?

Ngakoue figures to want a contract close to what the top ends are getting paid right now. Demarcus Lawrence and Frank Clark both signed five-year, over $100 million deals in 2019 and received guaranteed money that exceeded $62 million. That is massive for Jacksonville.

If the Jags opt for the “franchise tag,” then the talented end will be making around $19 million dollars, which is the current average of the top five players at his position. The Jaguars could also put the tag on him and then work on a longer term, salary cap friendly, deal that would replace the tag later in the off season.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars confirm they are declining option on DT Dareus

Florida Football Insiders

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

At Tuesday’s media session at the NFL Scouting Combine, Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell made official what had been rumored for the last couple of days regarding defensive tackle Marcell Dareus: he will not be brought back for a fourth season in Jacksonville.

Caldwell was a specifically asked about Dareus’ status and gave a quick answer is part of his Q&A session:

Dareus only played briefly in 2019, as he suffered a core muscle injury that sidelined him after only six games and he was placed on injured reserve. The former number one pick of the Buffalo Bills had played for coach Doug Marrone for a couple of seasons in Western New York.

Marrone and Caldwell traded for Dareus during the 2017 season and he helped them with their rise to the AFC South title and two playoff wins. This included Darius registering two sacks and four other tackles-for-loss in the Jaguars three playoff games that year.

Dareus made the Pro Bowl twice in Buffalo in 2013-14.

However, he has not lived up to his hefty contract that was reworked Jacksonville last February. Last season, Dareus made over $8 million dollars and the team would have been on the hook for $20 million this year had they picked up the option. That obviously wasn’t going to happen.

Dareus also has had legal troubles off the field, including a civil suit against him in Tampa for alleged sexual misconduct. As we wrote previously, a woman alleged that Dareus had sexually assaulted her in January of 2018 at a North Tampa Florida home, while Dareus was in town for the Alabama-Clemson College Football Playoff Championship Game.

However, that suit filed in Hillsborough County court was “dismissed with prejudice” last April, which means it cannot be re-filed.

Dareus, if healthy after the core muscle injury rehab, may have some value as a defensive tackle on the free agent market.

As for the Jaguars, they have former #1 pick defensive tackle Taven Bryan to play more in the middle and are trying to decide if free agent-to-be, DE Yannick Ngakoue, can be afforded for their 2020 salary cap?

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