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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars made smart decision to return QB Minshew to starter

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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars made the only smart, sensible move that they should have made on Monday, when they went back to rookie quarterback and part-time starter from earlier in the year, Gardner Minshew.

Coach Doug Marrone made the move official on Monday after his team was wiped out early in their 28 – 11 loss to the Buccaneers Sunday. That’s when he benched QB Nick Foles after an awful first-half that included three turnovers and, he went to the former sixth-round pick out of Washington state who immediately sparked the offense to their only points of the day.

Marrone described it as “brutal” to inform Foles that he was going to the bench due to poor play. After all he was touted as the savior in the offseason, when Jacksonville gave Foles a franchise record $50 million guaranteed in free agency to become their starter.

However, he suffered a fractured collarbone in the first quarter of game one with Kansas City and Minshew played well in his plays for the rest of that game. And, then helped the Jaguars win four games over the course of the next seven weeks to stay in the playoff hunt.

With Foles returning to health and the bye week looming after the London game with the Texans, Minshew picked the wrong time to play an awful half. He had four turnovers in the fourth quarter of the loss to the Texans and that made the decision easy for the Jaguars third your coach to go back to Foles.

However, Foles has been mostly bad in all five halves he is played against Indianapolis, Tennessee and Sunday against the Buccaneers. Jacksonville was beaten a combined 75-33 in the previous two games.

On Sunday, Foles threw a first-quarter interception and later lost two fumbles on sacks, as the first half unfolded and the Buccaneers built an early 22 – 0 lead. He went to the bench having thrown for just 93 yards on 7-14 passing, as well.

Marrone made it clear that part of this decision is the mobility of the rookie Minshew and he showed that in the second half when he completed 8 of his first 10 passes for 98 yards coming off the bench and threw a touchdown (above) to Dede Westbrook. Minshew finished on the day 16-27 for 147 yards and the score.

The Jaguars season is teetering on the verge of a disaster at 4-8 with four losses in a row, and he may very well be out of a job himself in 4 weeks.

That is, unless Gardner Minshew has some more magic starting this week when the Jaguars host the L.A. Chargers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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:

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.

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Jaguars confirm they are declining option on DT Dareus

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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 was a specifically asked about Dareus’ status and gave a quick answer is part of his Q&A session:

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?

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