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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jags RB Fournette, Bucs TE Howard make leap in rookie jersey sales

Roy Cummings

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Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

TAMPA – Leonard Fournette fever appears to be spreading and maybe not just in Jacksonville, where the Jaguars are planning to build a new offensive identity around the rookie running back.

According to this week’s Dick’s Sporting Goods Jersey Report (and really, who knew there was such a thing?) sales of Fournette’s No. 27 Jaguars jersey have jumped to third overall among NFL rookies.

That’s a three-place jump from where Fournette’s jersey sales were last week, so it seems Jaguars fans are really starting to warm up to the new star of their offense.

Fournette’s jersey sales still aren’t quite as brisk as those of Steelers running back James Conner (first among rookies) or Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (second), but he’s gaining ground.

So is Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard, whose No. 80 jersey is ranked seventh overall in sales for rookies this week after coming in at No. 8 among all rookies a week ago.

Howard’s jersey sales also rank 64th among all offensive players in the NFL, 86th among all players regardless of position in the NFL and third among all Bucs players.

Quarterback Jameis Winston’s No. 3 jersey is the top seller among all Bucs players and ranks No. 36 overall in total sales for the season so far, according to Dick’s.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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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?

Florida Football Insiders

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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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