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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars DE Ngakoue skipping minicamp in contract dispute

Florida Football Insiders

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Well, so much for the Jaguars having defensive and Yannick Ngakoue join them for minicamp this week.

In the latest off-field controversy for Jacksonville and their management to deal with, the star defensive end, who said late last month that he would continue to report to offseason workouts, while his future lucrative contract gets worked out, has now done a complete reversal.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter was the first to release comment from Ngakoue that he will not be part of Jaguars three day mandatory minicamp slated to begin Tuesday:

As we wrote three weeks ago Ngakoue talked at Jaguars OTAs about his situation, and how he is slated to make $2,000,000 this season. Or, roughly about an eighth of what the top 5 defensive ends in the NFL make on average ($15.5 million).

He was asked then about being that underpaid and, Ngakoue answered,

“That’s not a secret. We all can go on the computer and see what they’re gettin’… At the end of the day it’s a blessing to be in that position and I’m thankful.”

Ngakoue’s “worth” has been as Jacksonville’s best pass-rusher over his three-year career accumulating 29.5 sacks (9.5 in 2018) and 70 quarterback hits. This after being an unheralded 3rd round draft pick out of Maryland in 2016. But, the Jaguars bigger problem is obviously financial, as Ngakoue made only $735,000 a year ago.

Ngakoue skipping minicamp is the latest in a string of off-field problems that Jacksonville has experienced, including star Pro Bowl linebacker Telvin Smith announcing in May that he will not play football this season. And, Smith has yet to disclose why and if it’s potentially about money for him?

The Jaguars also had star running back Leonard Fournette get arrested in Jacksonville on outstanding traffic violations. He has since plead the case to avoid jail time. The Jags have stocked up on veteran running back depth for this season by adding veterans Thomas Rawls and Alfred Blue and drafting former Temple RB Ryquell Armstead.

As for Ngakoue, he is being heavily counted on for a veteran pass rush presence in 2019. This is with the team having traded former number one pick Dante Fowler to the Rams last October, but drafting former Kentucky star pass rusher Josh Allen at #7 overall in April.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jags WR Marqise Lee returns to practice

Abbey Radeka

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After losing veteran Alfred Blue in the first half of the 24–10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury, the Jaguars are looking for offensive depth. In some fortunate news, WR Marqise Lee is off of the PUP list and has begun practicing today, roughly one year after suffering from knee damage that sidelined him for the entire 2018 season.

Head coach Doug Marrone made the announcement before practice on Saturday.

First Coast news reporter Ben Murphy got a video of Lee at practice receiving a pass from QB Nick Foles.

Last year, Lee was injured in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Falcons. He was hit by reserve defensive back Damontae Kazee on this play after a reception.

Lee suffered a torn ACL and went on injured reserve missing the entire season.

Lee became more prominent in Jacksonville’s pass offense in 2017 with 56 catches for 702 yards and three TDs. The Jags are surely going to rely on him this season which could mean he’ll see the field a bit in their third preseason game to get him readjusted to competitive game play.

However, they might not want to risk another potential injury before the season begins. We could see it going either way. We do know that he’ll be a great weapon for Nick Foles to utilize this season.

The return of Lee is coming off the heels of some other good news for the Jags announced earlier this week. Starting left tackle Cam Robinson was also removed from the PUP list on Monday after suffering a torn ACL in Week 2 last season. He has since made enough progress participate in some individual drills and should be ready, along with Lee, for their season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.

In other injury-related news, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Leonard Fournette, backed up by Thomas Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars searching for RB depth after second preseason game

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

With preseason game number two in the books, it’s apparent the Jaguars have real issues with running back depth due to injury. This after veteran Alfred Blue left the first half of the 24 – 10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury and did not return.

Blue carried the ball four times for just five yards has Jacksonville offense once again sputtered behind a makeshift offensive line. Coach Doug Marrone was so concerned about that line situation and their ability to protect/block that starting quarterback Nick Foles and running back Leonard Fournette never saw the field for a single play during Thursday night.

That means that veteran at Thomas Rawls (above Thursday) was called upon to carry the ball a little more, and he did so, seven times for 19 yards including a long run of 11 playing in the first half.

Rawls is a 5th year veteran who had some modest success with the Seahawks, including rushing for 830 yards his rookie year in 2015 with a 5.6 yard per carry average. His numbers tapered off in 2016 – 17 with ankle and foot injuries, as he only played in 21 games in those two years. Rawls was later released and picked up by the Bengals, but injured again last season, and never carried the ball in Cincinnati.

Obviously, the Jaguars are wanting to implement Fournette, as the primary ball carrier, but they will need someone else to spell him on a series or two. Also, Fournette has had durability questions, as he missed parts or all of eight games last year with a hamstring injury.

The Jags were also hoping to bring along Temple rookie running back Ryquell Armstead, but after he carried eight times for 22 yards last week, he suffered a concussion in the preseason opening loss to the Ravens. Armstead hasn’t practiced since, and is still being evaluated with no further update Thursday.

Speaking of updates, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Fournette, backed up by Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.

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