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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars hope to turn page with new play caller

Christopher Fischer

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Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire

For a Jaguars fan, it’s a season which began with playoff hopes and has unraveled before we hit November. So, with the playoffs seemingly so far out of reach with still most of the schedule remaining, Jacksonville used their long weekend to make a critical move on the coaching staff.

Greg Olson was replaced as Offensive Coordinator, in a move that seems like the first of many to be coming the Jags way in the months to come. In NFL circles, new OC Nate Hackett is seen as an innovative mind, who had the handcuffs put on him by Doug Marrone while in Buffalo. Ironically, Marrone is now on the staff as Assistant Head Coach with the Jags.

“I don’t think anyone is happy with where we’re at, I mean we’re 2-5 and that sucks,” said Hackett.

Considering the expectations placed on the Jaguars at the beginning of the year, “sucks” might be putting it mildly. Yet, with Hackett taking over the play calling, the odds are skewed for an uptick in the twenty-eighth ranked offense.

“Anytime there is a change like that, it’s different, it’s shocking, it’s a change and something to adjust to,” QB Blake Bortles said earlier this week.

The biggest adjustment needed, is Bortles propensity for turning over the football. The Jaguars go in to their Week 10 matchup with Kansas City minus eight in turnover margin: bad enough for 31st in the league. Bortles’ nine interceptions is tied for the second most of quarterbacks who have played in every game this season. It’s easy to see why change was needed.

“As long as he knows that I’m there for him and I want to make him successful, whether it is through mechanics or just understanding, and what were trying to accomplish versus our next think that is kind of the first step,” said Hackett.

The next step would be figuring out how to keep the offense on the field. The Jags rank thirtieth in Time of Possession averaging just 27:01 with the football.

“When you look at the whole thing, it hasn’t been successful,” said Hackett. “I think that is why you have to take a good hard look at it.”

To peel one more layer back, the offense was top 10 in “explosive plays” a season ago, this year their twenty-ninth. Averaging just over three “explosives” through eight games, is completely the opposite of what made Olson’s offense successful a year ago.

Clearly, it has gone backwards. Sure, there is something to be said about how teams are game planning for receivers Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson, but mostly it comes down to the lack of execution.

“If we get everyone on the same page, focus on some of those things we’ve seen (Bortles) do well, I think that will help us,” said Hackett.

If there is any tale of a season turnaround the Jaguars need to follow, it’s one starring them in the face this Sunday. The Chiefs last season dropped their first five games before rattling off 11 straight victories, proving it is possible.

But, for the Jags, it’s small steps and playing well on offense for four quarters is the first goal, this week.

A native Floridian who graduated from Clearwater High School and the University of Florida, Chris Fischer has spent nearly 15 years in Sports Televison, including the last five as Sports Reporter and Anchor with the CBS affiliate in Tampa Bay-WTSP. He is a multi time AP Sports and Local Emmy award winner and will be seen this season as a sideline reporter on CBS-TV’s network coverage of the NFL.Chris brings enthusiasm and passion (particularly when it comes to his Gators) to College and NFL coverage to F.F.I.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL officially suspended Jaguars DE Dante Fowler one game Friday

Florida Football Insiders

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars got the bad news Friday afternoon, as the NFL made it official and suspended defensive end Dante Fowler for the opening game of the season against the New York Giants.

As we have been writing about, including last week, Fowler was almost certainly going to be suspended for at least a game for having entered a no-contest plea in March to assaulting St Petersburg man in an apartment complex parking lot last July.

The league notified Fowler of his punishment and the Jaguars released this statement.

This is not the first incident for Fowler, since joining the NFL He also pled-out an assault charge from 2016 in Dade County, but, did however escape NFL punishment for that incident.

Interestingly, Jacksonville had decided not to pick up Fowler’s fifth year option on his rookie contract earlier this off season. Instead, they publicly challenged him to continue to be not only a quality player, but better off the field.

Fowler blossomed during Jacksonville’s playoff season of 2017. The former #1 pick, had a breakout season with eight sacks, as the Jaguars defense was the top one in the NFL at rushing the quarterback. And, Jacksonville went on to win the AFC South and make the AFC Championship Game.

Fowler missed his entire rookie season of 2015 due to an ACL injury in rookie mini-camp just after being drafted that year. He’s a former All-SEC performer for the Gators, and is part of the young nucleus of players that the Jaguars are centering their defense around.

As with any players suspended by the NFL, Fowler will still be allowed to participate in training camp and in preseason games. The suspension will be the week of the opening games of the NFL season, and Fowler can have no contact with the coaching staff or any team activities.

 

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars “cornerstone” player for 2018?

Florida Football Insiders

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The third installment of our “cornerstone” players series takes us to North Florida. And, as the Jaguars get ready to start up 2018, we wondered which impact player would be the one to build around.

You could make arguments for last year’s top free agent acquisition defensive tackle Calais Campbell, or lock down corner Jalen Ramsey, as being that player. However, it’s a player on the offensive side of the ball that appears to be everything that Jacksonville could have hoped for in a running back. That running back is Leonard Fournette.

Fournette, whom the Jags took fourth overall in the draft, is fantastic physical talent at 6’0 230lbs. with a blend of speed and power. And in his debut season, repeatedly showed why you would want to have your offense centered on his ability pound on a defense.

He made a tremendous impact from the beginning of the Jags breakout 2017 with a 100 yard game in the opening win at Houston, and three more 100 yard games in the first nine.

There was lull in Fournette’s productivity due an ankle injury and he also missed a game in Indianapolis due disciplinary reasons, but eventually, Fournette got back on track. He ran for 109 yards and 3 TDs in Jacksonville’s statement win over Seattle in December that clinched the first playoff spot for Jacksonville in 11 seasons.

Then, in the post season Fournette was just okay against the Bills in the AFC Wildcard game with 57 yards on 21 carries. However the next week in Pittsburgh, Fournette set the tone early and often with two first quarter TDs. He finished with 109 yards and 3 rushing TDs, and Jacksonville stunned the Steelers to advance to the AFC Championship Game.

The Jags sledgehammer back scored another early TD and finished with 76 yards rushing as the Patriots rallied to win 24-20 scoring in the final three minutes to knock the Jaguars out of the Superbowl.

Of course there will be great scrutiny on the play of quarterback Blake Bortles, and rightfully so.

However, much of the Jaguars success offensively, the identity of what they want to do, will be centered around Leonard Fournette.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Why is Jalen Ramsey Twitter feuding with NFL Network analyst?

Florida Football Insiders

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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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