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Jaguars face quandary: fight hard-win late but ruin draft spot

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It is December and in North Florida there is no real optimism for the 2-10 Jaguars, as they get set to host the Vikings Sunday. It’s obvious at this point that head coach Gus Bradley and staff will be out in a month, and the likely hood is there will be a bunch of personnel changes too.

But, here’s the real dilemma for Jacksonville: You have professionals on and off the field who are going to try to win. Also, there are some players realize this is there best hope to make an impression on tape for whomever comes in to coach the Jags or if they have hope of making another roster. Then again, there will be more than a few who will mail it in and make “business decisions,” on going hard the last few weeks.

But the overall dilemma is: a win or two at this stage only hurts the Jags status in the top 2-4 pick of the upcoming draft. At the moment, the Browns at 0-12 and the 49ers at 1-11 are in front of them. (And by the way, they both need QB’s). And just behind are the Jets and the Bears at 3-9 and you guessed it, will also be looking at solutions for quarterback.

So, do you really want to win a third or fourth game down the stretch here, when it will not save your coach and when it’s obvious now that QB Blake Bortles with his flawed mechanics and lack of development will likely be on the way out, with them?

This is the stark reality that faced the at the time 2-10 Buccaneers two years ago. Obviously, that college season, there were two bonafide stars in Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota waiting for the Bucs and the Titans. The Bucs were trying to win a third game up until the final one, when they clearly pulled all of their starters in the second half of the finale’ with the Saints, lost to finish 2-14 and got the #1 pick and later, Winston.

There isn’t one QB in the “franchise” category for the numerous teams that want to select one next April. You can make the case that Clemson’s Deshaun Watson will be a spectacular dual threat option for someone, but do you take him in the top 5? Not sure about that.

And the rest of the QB’s in college aren’t overwhelming with size and NFL prospects. Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma? Joshua Dobbs of Tennessee? Sorry, not buying those. Now Dallas and Seattle both found gems recently in the 3rd and 4th round with Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott, but that is rare in this day and age.

Never mind that you want to be picking as high as possible after the draft takes it’s overnight hiatus from the first to the second round to get the player they want. Or, you will be in prime position for a nice trade from someone who wants to leap up at the top of round 2.

So, the Jags will trudge on Sunday and maybe win, which will give their dwindling fan base some happiness for a little while.

But in the end, after a miserable last 2-3 years and already 2-10 start to this year, you aren’t helping yourself long term by being 3-13, much less 4-12.

Such is the quandary in Jacksonville.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Why is Jalen Ramsey Twitter feuding with NFL Network analyst?

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There is no mistaking that Jaguars defensive back Jalen Ramsey is talented, and in 2017 he was named as an All-Pro by his peers and most recenlty in the player polled “Top 100.” So, that’s a validation that doesn’t need a whole lot else.

Yet, an NFL Network analyst and a former NFL defensive back himself, is questioning part of his game.

And, Jalen Ramsey got annoyed. Like, really annoyed.

It all began when, Bucky Brooks, who hosts a successful podcast and appears regularly on the NFL Network questioned another player, DB Casey Hayward of the Chargers, and whether he was a “transcendent talent” in coverage.

The exchanges with Hayward on Twitter Thursday went on for a bit and then, Ramsey jumped in here:

 

And, when Brooks tweeted about Ramsey and why he was drafted two years ago in the top five by Jacksonville, things cranked up on social media:

Next, Ramsey questioned whether Brooks believes Ramsey is only a product of the Jaguars “defensive system” and not of his ability to shutdown the opposing team’s top wideout, one on one:

Brooks referenced former fellow Noles All American and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders as one of those rare “lock down” corners, and of course, that someone that Ramsey, two years removed from FSU, wants to be compared to with his own game.

Brooks then explained further about his own analysis and teams/GMs/personnel executives thinking:

In the end, Ramsey, who is not bashful about expressing his opinions on or off the field, finally gave some props to Brooks for having an informed opinion:

The bottom line is that analysts get paid to analyze. And the good ones are always soliciting the opinions of others, who are actually coaching and working in the NFL Front office.

And further, if Ramsey keeps “locking down” the likes of the Texans DeAndre Hopkins, and the Colts T.Y. Hilton, who he sees twice a year, then he will continue to get the respect he wants. And, he’ll get the second contract dollars that come with it, too.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL Network will show Jaguars preseason game at Minnesota nationally

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a tremendous surprise turnaround season that included a division win and two playoff victories, the Jaguars have everyone in North Florida buzzing for 2018. And the NFL Network is interested enough that it has announced it will be showing their second preseason game, at the Vikings, to the nation on Saturday August 18th.

This information was included in the NFL’s announcement that NFL Network will televise a total of 15 preseason games live, nationally:

The Jaguars will practice against the Vikings in Minnesota on Wednesday and Thursday (8/15-16) prior to playing the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Minnesota, who won the NFC North and made the NFC Championship Game last year, signed arguably the top free agent on the market last March. That’s when they inked former Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins to a massive three year fully guaranteed $84 million deal.

Jacksonville will open the preseason the previous week against the NFC South champion Saints at newly renamed TIAA Bank Field in North Florida.

The good news in addition to the practice time with the Vikes, most of the starters on both sides of the ball will see action into the second quarter, if not halftime of the second preseason game.

This will be good work for QB Blake Bortles and his new assortment of targets like WR Donte Moncrief and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who both signed with the Jags in March.

And for the stout Jaguars defense led by DT Calais Campbell, LB Telvin Smith and CB Jalen Ramsey (all of whom made the Pro Bowl last year) will get a good opening half challenge from Cousins, and receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. It will also be curious to see if second year former FSU star running back Dalvin will be fully recovered from his ACL tear. And, we’ll see if the Vikings want to give him some work or rest him completely in August.

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Jaguars DT Marcell Dareus involved in two sexual assault allegations

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars traded for defensive tackle Marcell Dareus last year to re-unite him with former head coach Doug Marrone and give him a fresh start on living up to his first round draft pick expectations.

Unfortunately, less than a year later, Dareus is involved in not one, but two sexual assault complaints.

First, it was learned Wednesday afternoon that a woman in Houston, TX, has accused Dareus of having unprotected sex with her in April, while she was unconscious. And she further claims that Dareus gave her a sexually transmitted disease. The unidentified woman filed a civil lawsuit seeking $15,000 in damages.

“News 4” in Jacksonville reporter Chris Parenteau had more on that allegation:

News 4 reported on it’s evening newscast Wednesday that there’s no criminal complaint with Houston Police against Dareus at this time.

The accuser’s attorney did give this statement to the station Wednesday afternoon:

“There are civil and criminal laws in both Florida and Texas that address circumstances where someone knowingly exposes another to sexually transmitted diseases. As of now, we are not aware that any criminal charges have been filed in this matter. Our focus is on protecting our client’s right to recover damages for the severe physical and emotional harm that’s been caused to her.”

The situation is further confused by the accuser in the Houston case admitting to having consensual sex on multiple occasions with Dareus after the alleged incident.

Meanwhile, there is another allegation that came to light on Wednesday, involving Dareus and others, that an alleged sexual assault occurred at a Tampa mansion in January of 2017. In a civil complaint originally filed in December of last year, an unidentified Las Vegas woman says that Dareus and members of his “entourage” sexually assaulted her after a night of partying.

The woman accused Dareus formally in an amendment to her civil suit in Hillsborough County Court in January. Dareus and his lawyers are trying to get the lawsuit dismissed at an August 9th hearing.

Dareus played in 12 total games for the Jaguars after the trade with the Bills. He had one regular season sack, but excelled in the playoffs with sacks in the Pittsburgh win and the narrow loss to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. He had 10 total tackles in the three post season games.

The 28 year old Dareus, a first round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, is scheduled to make $10.2 million dollars this season in Jacksonville.

The Jaguars only comment to the media on Wednesday evening was that they were aware of the allegations and monitoring the situation.

Dareus’ agent had not returned calls or emails seeking comment from them or Dareus on the civil lawsuits and sexual assault allegations.

Obviously, in addition to the seriousness of the allegations, even in civil court, the NFL will likely be investigating the situation soon under the league’s personal conduct policy.

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