The Jaguars are feeling pretty good about themselves right now. You can tell from looking at their official twitter feed, where for the time being at least, they’ve changed their name.
In celebration of the record-setting 10-sack effort their defense turned in during what proved to be a 29-7 manhandling of the Texans on Sunday, the Jags now claim to hail from “Sacksonville’’ instead of Jacksonville.
— #Sacksonville (@Jaguars) September 10, 2017
Pretty cool. And hey, who can blame them for having some fun. The Jaguars haven’t had much of that lately and besides, they’ve invested a lot of money and draft picks into their pass rush the last few years and that pass rush sure came through in Week 1.
Two of their 10 sacks were strip sacks by second-year end Yannick Ngakoue, and one of those was turned into a touchdown when Dante Fowler recovered the fumble and ran it back 53 yards for the score.
“At the end of the day, sometimes the ball just bounces your way,’’ said Calais Campbell, who led the way with four sacks “Sometimes good plays come your way.’’
It wasn’t just sacks that came the Jaguars way on Sunday. They also forced four takeaways, including fumble recoveries by Fowler, Ngakoue and Abry Jones and an interception by Tashaun Gipson.
All but one of the takeaways resulted in scores for the Jaguars, who would have gone 4-for-4 in that area had kicker Jason Myers not missed a 39-yard field goal try at the start of the fourth quarter.
The four takeaways were just one less than the Jaguars had in their first eight games last year, when they finished the season tied for 31st in the league in takeaways with 13, including just seven interceptions.
Of course, that’s pretty much in keeping with the way the Jaguars have performed in the takeaway department the last few years. Since 2009, the Jaguars have forced just 183 takeaways.
That’s the fewest in the league over that span – by a dozen – and it’s 78 less than the Patriots, the leader in takeaways over that nine-year stretch, have recorded.
For the Jaguars, though, Sunday was a different kind of day, and Campbell believes it may just be the first of a lot more days just like it over the course of the remainder of the season.
“It’s just a start,’’ Campbell said. “We want to be the best defense in the league and we have that ability. But like I said, it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t continue with it.
“But yeah, it does feel good. We played a great game, with directing our game plan very well. I made a lot of plays and when you do that you’re going to win games.’’
And change names.
Can Jaguars get necessary spark from Gardner Minshew?
The Jaguars were back on the practice field on Wednesday and have to rally around their rookie QB, Gardner Minshew, to re-ignite their season. And their opponent, may be the perfect for them, too.
Minshew took over in the second half for an ineffective Nick Foles, as Foles committed turnovers on each of Jacksonville’s first three possessions. Now, he’s back as their starter to see if the 4-8 Jags can salvage some games in December.
Now, the 4-win L.A. Chargers come stumbling to North Florida off a dramatic loss in Denver and yet, somehow, have been listed as 2.5-point underdogs by top sports betting sites.
Philip Rivers and the Chargers, new-look defense is coming to Jacksonville to try and move to 5-8 and make a run at a .500 season. In effect, both of these teams’ seasons are all but over, so they are just playing for pride. And while mathematically, the Jags are not completely out of the AFC South race, yet, let’s be honest … the Titans and Texans are not going to drop four straight games … and it definitely isn’t looking like the Jags are going to win four straight.
Coach Doug Marrone is clearly in trouble and everything they try is not working. There were plenty of games that the Jaguars could have or should have won, but didn’t. And, now they are sitting on the very bottom of the AFC South with few games remaining.
Onto to the matchup.
The Chargers have owned the Jaguars historically, as they have won in two of the last three and seven of the last ten meetings. But right now, this is a pretty good spot for the Jags.
When we look at standard offense on any given Sunday, the L.A. Chargers are about two points better than the Jacksonville Jaguars on average. The Chargers put up 20.33 points per game against the Jags 18.33. It would be nice for Jaguars fans, if the Chargers performed significantly worse on the road, but they don’t.
They are almost exactly the same level of bad whether at home in Los Angeles or out on the road. And unfortunately, for Jags fans who buy tickets to home games, they have let them down at TIAA Field by performing worse in Jacksonville, to the tune of nearly three points per game. They score just 15.83 on their home field.
The yardage stats are comparable in this one, as the Chargers pass for 255.33 per game, while the Jags pass for 242.50. The Chargers rush for 92 yards per game, while the Jags run game with Leonard Fournette has dropped off to 79.67 average, currently.
On defense, the Chargers are a respectable top ten unit (No. 7 in the league) that allows just 18.50 points per game. They hold teams to 212 yards passing and 97.83 yards rushing.
However, that’s where Minshew will put them to the test. He is far more mobile than Foles and got Jacksonville 11 points in the second half Sunday with them driving for more. That is until the rookie’s killer interception at the Tampa Bay goaline midway through the fourth quarter.
So, most of the numbers point the another Jacksonville loss. That said, the Chargers have lost three straight but have shown some flashes of brilliance. So too did Minshew, who won four games in eight tries earlier this year as the fill-in starter.
If you can avoid this game for your “Survivor Pools” do so … If you are a bettor … stay away.
This is a game where anything can happen, especially with “Minshew Mania” back.
Who will FSU hire and did Jags make right move with Minshew?
Who will FSU end up with as head coach? Did the Jaguars make the right move going back to Gardner Minshew?
These subjects and more are part of the most recent F.F.I. podcast.
Host Matt Zemek welcomes in guests T.J. Rives of the Buccaneers Radio Network to discuss the latest in Florida football.
First the guys talk about the Gators impressive rivalry win over Florida State and what will the Noles do to fill the head coaching vacancy left by Willie Taggart? Next, UCF pummeled USF Friday night in their rivalry game and it resulted in coach Charlie Strong being fired after just three seasons.
What kind of coach can the Bulls expect to hire with a circumstances they are in and all of the other openings around college football?
Meanwhile, the only FBS team in the state that is still playing is the FAU Owls. Lane Kiffin’s team is going for a second Conference USA championship in three seasons, as they play host Saturday to UAB. Matt and T.J. discuss the game including T.J. being part of the national radio broadcast on TuneIn Saturday afternoon from Boca Raton.
Finally, the subject of the NFL comes up next has T.J. was on the sidelines for the Buccaneers 28 – 11 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday afternoon. The Bucs defense stuffed quarterback Nick Foles with sacks and turnovers, and Jaguars coach Doug Marrone went to a rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew in the second half. Minshew, who won four games in Foles’ absence earlier this year, sparked the offense for their only points on the day.
Then, on Monday, Marrone announced that Minshew will take over as the starter beginning with this week’s game against the L.A. Chargers. Matt and T.J. discuss what this means for the Jags and the future of Foles, who’s owed a bunch of guaranteed money?
And finally, the Miami Dolphins have won three times in the last four games including pulling off a hilariously effective trick play involving their punter and kicker for a touchdown Sunday. This was part of their upset win over the Eagles.
The guys talk about what this means for the Dolphins and their possible draft position and chances to get their hands on one of the top college star quarterbacks.
Hear it all as part of ffi latest podcast.