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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars and Blake Bortles overwhelmed in Kansas City

Florida Football Insiders

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Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

It was a battle of the top defense in the NFL, the Jaguars, against the top offense in the NFL, the Chiefs and it was really no contest on a rainy day in Kansas City.

The Chiefs had five sacks, an equal five takeaways and  quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for 313 yards as they built a 23 – 0 lead. Then, K.C. cruised to an easy 30 – 14 win to improve to 5 – 0 on the season.

And, don’t let the final stats fool you as they sometimes can. Despite QB Blake Bortles throwing for 430 yards and leading a couple of late scores, he was not very good for a lot of this game.

Now you have to take into account, that he is continuing to play without running back Leonard Fournette, who is their best offensive weapon. Fournette has now been limited by a hamstring injury and been inactive for three of their first five games.

But still, too many times on Sunday Bortles passes were errant and he was ineffective at moving the team down the field, while they had a chance to get back in the game.

And, he also once again showed that he has lapses in “pocket awareness.” This included this poorly thrown interception that was returned by defensive lineman Chris Jones 20 yd for a touchdown to make the game 20 – 0 just before half-time:

 

Yes, the Jaguars got in the endzone twice in the second half, but yes, over 200 of Bortles passing yards came after they were trailing 30 -7 late in the third.

So while on paper it looks like a good offensive day for the fifth year quarterback, in reality it was another game where Bortles’ critics will say he can’t lead you to the big wins, when it’s all on his shoulders.

Kansas City was clearly better in all phases on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, and the Jags are clearly still a really good defensive team.

However, on a Sunday where they needed Bortles and the offense to keep up, they could not. And now, the Jaguars have lost two of their last three games while looking poor on offense.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?

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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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Jaguars confirm they are declining option on DT Dareus

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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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