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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars must do these two things better to make the playoffs

Roy Cummings



Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in nearly a decade, the Jaguars are playing meaningful games in December. As coach Doug Marrone pointed out on Monday, though, making the playoffs is far from a foregone conclusion.

“If you don’t win in December,’’ Marrone said, “nothing good is going to happen.’’

 That literally goes double for the Jaguars, who have two areas of play that they’re going to have to improve on if they’re going to maintain their winning ways through the most important month of the season.

The first is their running game, which was held to less than 100 yards rushing for the second time in as many weeks on Sunday and can’t seem to get lead back Leonard Fournette back on track.

Since his return from a two-week layoff due to an ankle injury, Fournette has run the ball 77 times for just 226 yards (2.9 per carry) and one touchdown, that coming Sunday against the Colts.

Those numbers suggest Fournette is not as healthy as he suggests he is, but other numbers suggest that what Fournette is suffering from the most is a lack of top-level blocking.

First of all, neither Chris Ivory (12 carries, 13 yards) nor T.J. Yeldon (11-36) have run the ball any more effectively than Fournette has over the course of the last four games.

Second, the Jaguars produced a hard number on Monday that explains just how poorly their O-line performed against the Colts, who forced 13 “bad running plays,’’ which are runs of 2 yards or less in situations outside of short-yardage.

At least five of those plays came as a result of a defender being left unblocked, and this on a day when the Jaguars were only missing one starter, left guard Patrick Omameh.

And it’s not like the Colts are among the league’s best run stoppers. They came into the game ranked 13th in the league in that discipline, so they’re really nothing more than adequate.

That’s not the case with three of the four teams left on the Jaguars schedule. Seattle, which is up next, currently ranks eighth overall against the run; Houston is 10th and Tennessee, who the Jags wrap up the regular season with, is third.

The only opponent left that’s not in the top 10 is San Francisco, so as Marrone said, the Jaguars are going to have to figure out a way to beat all those stacked boxes they’ve been facing because they’re not going away any time soon.

 “People have made a conscious effort to stop us in the run game, but when you’re a good running football team, you should be able to run the ball when everybody knows you’re going to run it,’’ Marrone said. “We’re not at that level yet.’’

Nor are the Jaguars at the level where they can count on their defense to stop the run from one week to the next. They appeared to be getting there after Marcell Dareus arrived but they took a tumble on Sunday.

After allowing just 166 yards rushing in the first three games Dareus played in and 108 (on 31 carries) in the fourth, the Jaguars allowed the Colts to run for 141 yards on 26 carries (5.4) on them on Sunday.

It would be easy say that was an anomaly and it may prove to be, but there’s no doubt those numbers raised some concerns within the camp of a team that allowed an average of 138.6 yards per game and 5.2 yards per carry through the bye week.

“Obviously we still have some work to do on that,’’ Marrone said of the rush defense. “We have to make sure that remains a focus.’’

 It does indeed have to be a focus. For obvious reasons, the weather being the most obvious of them all, a team’s ability to run the ball and to stop the run become increasingly important as a season goes on.

And as we said, that goes double for the Jaguars, who are built to run the ball on offense and won’t be able to take full advantage of their best defensive weapons if they can’t stop the run there.

It’s safe to say then that if the Jaguars can’t figure out how to run the ball better and stop the run better, little to no good will come of these all important December games.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Why is Jalen Ramsey Twitter feuding with NFL Network analyst?

Florida Football Insiders



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

Florida Football Insiders



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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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars DT Marcell Dareus involved in two sexual assault allegations

Florida Football Insiders



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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