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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars moving up in our latest rankings

Jamil King

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The state of Florida had another rough one last week. In college, Florida, UCF, and FIU came away with wins. While it was another bad week for Florida State, USF and Miami. And, after a month of good football Florida Atlantic also went down.  In the NFL, the Jaguars were the only victors, as the Dolphins couldn’t get their first win, and the Buccaneers were on bye.

So here’s how our rankings stack up:

Florida Gators- The Gators bounced back from their loss to LSU with an ugly win against South Carolina. In a rainy game in Columbia, the Gators had just enough fight to knock off the Gamecocks. Now, the Gators will get a perfectly timed BYE week before arguably their biggest game of the year.

The Georgia Bulldogs await in what will probably end up as the SEC East championship game. The Dawgs have looked very shaky on offense the last two weeks, and the Gators defense has to be licking their chops as they look to get healthy.

UCF Knights- The Knights bounced back in a big way over East Carolina. The offense exploded behind Dillon Gabriel and Gabe Davis. Davis had 164 yards and two touchdowns and continues to show why he is one of the best and most underrated receivers in the nation. The Knights will travel to Temple next week in a must-win game for any chance to play in the AAC title game.

Jacksonville Jaguars- The Jags were able to snap a two-game slide with a win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Jags rode a surge of second-half interceptions to a 27-17 victory. Leonard Fournette ran through the defense on his way to 131 yards rushing.

Against a banged-up secondary, the Jags had three receivers go over the 50-yard mark as well. Next, the Jags will host a Jets team that just got throttled by the Patriots on Monday Night.

Florida International- The Panthers won their third game in a row after starting the season 1-3. Anthony Jones has been running wild for the Panthers during this win streak with games of 115, 117, and 102 yards rushing. Sitting at 2-2 in the conference, the Panthers will need help if they want to get atop of C-USA East division.

Florida Atlantic- The Owls win streak has come to an end at four wins. The Owls fell to Marshall 36-31 in a wild 4th quarter that had four touchdowns. Chris Robinson had over 300 yards passsing but had no scores and hovered around a 50 percent completion rate.

Next, the Owls will face Old Dominion on the road then head to first-place Western Kentucky.

Honorable Mention- Florida A&M- It is not often that we cover the FCS here at F.F.I. After another disappointing week of football, though, it is good to acknowledge some of the good.

The Rattlers seem to be the only team in Tallahassee playing good football at the moment and for the first time in 10 years, cracked the FCS rankings.

Jamil King is a young draft pick working his way up the depth chart on the F.F.I. roster, who enjoys watching and writing about all of Florida’s football teams.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?

Florida Football Insiders

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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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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars confirm they are declining option on DT Dareus

Florida Football Insiders

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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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