The Jaguars were back on the practice field Tuesday with the latest of their voluntary “Organized Team Activities” or OTAs. However, their prized free agent quarterback, Nick Foles, was not with the team.
Coach Doug Marrone confirmed to the media prior to the workout that Foles had been excused from the OTAs the rest of this week for what’s being described as a personal matter:
Marrone on Foles: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Nick and his family. … The football part (of planning practice without him), we’ll just figure that out.” #Jaguars
— Phillip Heilman (@phillip_heilman) May 28, 2019
While we await further clarification on what the issue is, it’s obviously something serious enough keep Foles away from the voluntary practices that are going on.
Just last week, new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who came to Jacksonville in part to try to lure Foles to rejoin him in North Florida, was raving about Foles and his leadership already on and off the field with the Jaguars.
Difilippo was the quarterback coach in Philadelphia, when Foles took over for the injured Carson Wentz and the Eagles went on to win the Super Bowl two years ago defeating the Patriots in Minnesota to capture the Lombardi Trophy. Foles also replaced Wentz due to injury late last year, and helped the Eagles upset the Bears in the NFC Wildcard round at Soldier Field.
It is Foles 4th different team in his career, and he’s now, trying to get acclimated to new teammates like RB Leonard Fournette and work with young receivers like D.J. Chark and Dede Westbrook in the Spring months.
Last week, VP of football Tom Coughlin revealed that Foles has been going over to Fournette’s home to go over DeFilippo’s new offensive scheme and sets with him to be better prepared for these workouts.
The Jaguars have a three-day mandatory minicamp coming in 2 weeks starting on June 11th. For now, it is expected that Foles would be back for that depending on whatever is going on with his personal life and family.
Jags coach Marrone acknowledged Wednesday he’s in jeopardy
As the Jaguars 2019 season has spiraled downward, their head coach acknowledged Wednesday that there are likely changes coming in North Florida.
Head Coach Doug Marrone meets the media prior to today's practice. https://t.co/Ks19PcB0te
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) December 11, 2019
“We’re all fighting for our jobs. When you look at it from that standpoint, each person has to make their own decision on how they handle those things….It’s a constant microscope in this league, but I think it gets magnified when you are not winning football games,” Marrone said plainly.
It’s no secret that the Jaguars are plummeting. Sunday they were embarrassed again at home, this time by the L.A. Chargers 45 – 10. That was the fifth consecutive decisive loss (by at least 17 points) for a team that was once 4 – 4 and in the conversation are the AFC Wildcard picture.
Yes, there are injuries including the team losing defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and recently linebacker Myles Jack to season-ending IR. The same on offense where WR Marqise Lee never got healthy and made contributions this year. He, too is back on injured reserve.
Further, the team also had to deal with the constant off field distraction and then decided to trade away arguably their best player, defensive back Jalen Ramsey to the LA Rams. Granted, Ramsey wanted out and was trying not to play while the trade was being consummated. Still, this missed him on the field and it was an issue.
Then, there’s the mess on offense, where the Jags offensive line is in shambles and Marrone had to bench high-priced free agent quarterback Nick Foles before last week’s game. That’s because of his ineffective play and lack of mobility to play behind their poor line.
Rookie Gardner Minshew, who had won four games earlier this year, didn’t do much with only 162 yards in the air and a late third-quarter touchdown that only cut the lead to 31 – 10 in the loss Sunday.
Further, running back Leonard Fournette has now been neutralized by the lack of good line play and the inability to get the passing game going. Fournette went from having a good start to the season that included three 100-yard or more games out of four in late September and October, to having five of his last six games where he has run for 50 yards or less.
So, everywhere you look, the Jags are struggling and losing, and owner Shad Khan is expected to make wholesale changes at the end of the year.
But for now, Jacksonville must go out to Oakland this week and try not to be further embarrassed there.
Jaguars injury woes continue- LB Myles Jack to IR
The bad news on the injury front for the Jaguars continued on Thursday, when they placed star linebacker Myles Jack on injured reserve.
Source: #Jaguars LB Myles Jack (knee) is going on Injured Reserve today. A hit to the Jacksonville defense.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 5, 2019
Jack missed Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers with a knee injury that was believed to be a sprain suffered in the loss to the Colts two weeks ago. However, the move to IR indicates it may be more serious.
The Jaguars season has unraveled over the course of the last month with injuries to their defense and the team trading away perennial Pro Bowl defensive back Jalen Ramsey to the Rams. Jacksonville had already put DT Marcel Dareus on IR, All-Pro defensive tackle Calais Campbell has been trying to battle through a bad back and DB Tony Harrison has still not been cleared with a concussion.
Coach Doug Marrone has expressed the last two weeks that it has been a struggle for his defense with all of the injuries mounting late in the year.
As for Jack, he had settled in the middle linebacker roll after Telvin Smith abruptly retired in May.
Jack has been solid, but not spectacular, in the middle of the defense registering 7 or more tackles in five games this season. However he hasn’t forced a fumble, has only one interception and half of a sack. Jack also has just three tackles-for-loss at a position that often dictates much more output than that.
The former second-round pick out of UCLA had question marks about his knee coming out of college, when the Jaguars took him in the 2016 draft. However, he has answered critics on his durability by being active for all 59 games of his career up until last week.
Jacksonville will use veteran Donald Payne at middle linebacker for now. Payne played significantly last week against the Buccaneers and has been on and off of Jacksonville roster this season.