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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars can learn from how Dolphins handed Patriots last loss

Olivia Stacey

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars are a team rooted in dominance on defense, which is highlighted with a pass rush led by defensive end Calais Campbell and his 14.5 sacks. The Jags finished the year ranked second in sacks (55). After all, there’s a reason they’re called the “Sacksonville” on social media these days.

But what will it take to beat Tom Brady? We can look back to Miami’s stunning Monday night win over the Patriots late in the regular season to draw a few conclusions.

Creating intense pressure has been a way to beat Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the past. The Dolphins earned their victory in part, by pressuring Brady on 35.6 percent of his dropbacks, according to Pats Pulpit. In that game, Brady averaged only 5.4 yards per attempt, significantly lower than his overall season average of 7.9 yards.

New England’s offensive line is vulnerable to power up the middle. Miami sent extra rushers, frequently up the middle, to add to Ndamukong Suh and really pressured the middle of the Patriots offensive line, where Joe Thuney and David Andrews are susceptible to power rushes. This disrupted Brady’s ability to set himself to throw. Brady was forced to retreat to throw rather than step up in the pocket.

When Brady’s feet are planted, he’s nearly unstoppable. Miami kept making him move his feet and reset, which led to some of the uncharacteristic inaccuracy we saw throughout that game.

Jaguars’ biggest threat, All-Pro DL Calais Campbell hasn’t had a sack yet in January, but if anyone can take Brady down, it’s Campbell, and he will create a lot of “push” through the middle of the line.

That means pass rushers Yannick Ngakoue, a strip-sack artist, Dante Fowler Jr., Marcell Dareus and Malik Jackson could add to Brady’s discomfort in a similar way the Dolphins did.

Ngakoue led the NFL with six forced fumbles during the regular season to go along with 12 sacks, and could pose significant problems for the Patriots’ offense.

Yes, the Dolphins front seven and defensive coordinator Matt Burke laid out a blue print on exactly how to make Brady uncomfortable and ineffective. One that we’re sure, the Jaguars are at least studying, themselves.

Olivia is a multi-faceted sports reporter based in Tampa Bay where she has covered events from the College Football National Championship to the Stanley Cup Final. A native Floridian, she grew up rooting for Tampa’s sports teams, and graduated from East Lake High in Tarpon Springs. Olivia continued her education at the University of Florida where she received her broadcast journalism degree.

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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