It’s an exciting and challenging week for the Jaguars already with the AFC West Champion Kansas City Chiefs coming for the season opener to TIAA Bank Field. But now, the serious threat of Hurricane Dorian to the East coast of Florida will delay that Jaguars preparation.
Coach Doug Marrone made the announcement at his Monday news conference that Jacksonville will not practice Wednesday prior to getting the 2019 season underway:
"First and foremost, thoughts and prayers go out to everyone to make sure everyone's safe and has a plan."
We will not practice tomorrow or Wednesday. The current plan is to return Thursday at noon. pic.twitter.com/lmeijF14B7
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) September 2, 2019
First and foremost our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone to make sure everyone’s safe and everyone has a plan,” Marrone told the assembled media. ” … Hopefully, weather permitting and safety permitting, we’ll bring the team back Thursday at noon. We feel good about our plans for the players and the safety for our players.”
The Jags did go ahead and practice on Monday and Tuesday is an NFL team’s typical players day off. However, Wednesday is also typically critical for the installation of the gameplan on both sides of the ball.
Now, it is most likely that the Jaguars did some of that installation in their Monday practice. This is especially since the team set their roster at 53 on Saturday and then was able to Tinker more on Sunday with players to be brought in.
As we wrote earlier on Monday, Dorian bearing down and possibly affecting Northeast Florida has the Gators and the Jaguars monitoring things, as they are both slated to play at home this weekend.
Florida has a Prime Time game with the University of Tennessee Martin Saturday night and the Jaguars game is currently scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. with the Chiefs.
If the storm moves quickly up the northern track that it’s slated still to go on, then it may not end up affecting Jacksonville really at all on Thursday. And if that is the case then the Jaguars will still get in a full Thursday practice and a Friday walk through like a normal scheduled week.
Marrone continued Monday,
“I don’t look at it as we’re going to lose a practice day. We’re going to be able to, as of right now if everything remains the same and the schedule (stays the same), we’ll have our work in. I’m not concerned about that.
“Most of the work is done, which is not to say, ‘If there’s ever a good time, but obviously in the beginning you have a chance to have more done than obviously if something happened during the middle of a season.”
Hopefully, for the safety of the entire state, most of Thursday and Friday will be back to normal with Hurricane Dorian moving more Northeast and away from landfall.
Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?
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:
— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) February 26, 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:
Doug Marrone: ‘’No doubt where I stand or the coaches.”
—They want Yannick Ngakoue back. pic.twitter.com/vOorH4hH95
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) February 26, 2020
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.
Jaguars confirm they are declining option on DT Dareus
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 confirmed the Jaguars are not picking up DT Marcell Dareus' option.
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) February 25, 2020
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?