It’s now been a full week since Jacksonville Jaguars star linebacker Telvin Smith announced that he would not play this season and forego over $9 million dollars in salary. And, on Thursday on Jacksonville radio, a beat writer that covers the team said you can almost draw one obvious conclusion.
Jaguars beat writer Mike DiRocco of ESPN is a frequent guest on Jacksonville sports radio station 1010 XL. And, appearing on the station Thursday mid-day, DiRocco addressed Smith apparently not having been in contact with the Jaguars all the way up until his social media announcement that he did not want to play this season:
-DiRocco on the Telvin Smith situation
-What is the fatal flaw for each team in the AFC South?
-Your calls and texts!https://t.co/zaUlsm6ajP
— 1010 XL / 92.5 FM (@1010XL) May 16, 2019
“Not being in contact with them, with the team, and maybe he has this week, but him not being in contact is a troubling deal. I get the sense… the only thing you can read in to that is: that is that he’s got a problem with them. And, that he’s angry with them for something.”
DiRocco continued, “Whether it’s at the end of the season that they brought him in and said ‘you didn’t play well this year, and if you do that talking stuff anymore…. we’ll fine the hell out of you or something.’ And, Tom Coughlin was not happy with that and not happy with the way he played and he left here (end of the season) thinking: ‘the heck with them.'”
DiRocco went on to also defend Smith to a degree, and say that, while we don’t know what the reason is, if it is personal problems or family problems or substance abuse or any legit troubling reason, to go and take care of himself. And, that Smith should be applauded for wanting to risk his salary to take care of whatever it is.
However, this all goes back to the larger point: that we still don’t know what’s going on with the six year linebacker out of Florida State? And we do know, the Jaguars invested a chunk of money in Smith with a contract extension in late 2017 and are counting on him to anchor the middle of the defense.
So, the mystery continues, for now, until the team or Smith clarify why he is staying away.
And, we will again put out there: that Smith is not missing anything significant in May or June or even, early July. And, it’s entirely possible, that Smith could rejoin the Jaguars at some point later and never miss a regular season game.
Now, we all wait.
Jags WR Marqise Lee returns to practice
After losing veteran Alfred Blue in the first half of the 24–10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury, the Jaguars are looking for offensive depth. In some fortunate news, WR Marqise Lee is off of the PUP list and has begun practicing today, roughly one year after suffering from knee damage that sidelined him for the entire 2018 season.
Head coach Doug Marrone made the announcement before practice on Saturday.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 17, 2019
First Coast news reporter Ben Murphy got a video of Lee at practice receiving a pass from QB Nick Foles.
— Ben Murphy (@BenMurphyTV) August 17, 2019
Last year, Lee was injured in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Falcons. He was hit by reserve defensive back Damontae Kazee on this play after a reception.
— Kevin Boilard (@247KevinBoilard) August 25, 2018
Lee suffered a torn ACL and went on injured reserve missing the entire season.
Lee became more prominent in Jacksonville’s pass offense in 2017 with 56 catches for 702 yards and three TDs. The Jags are surely going to rely on him this season which could mean he’ll see the field a bit in their third preseason game to get him readjusted to competitive game play.
However, they might not want to risk another potential injury before the season begins. We could see it going either way. We do know that he’ll be a great weapon for Nick Foles to utilize this season.
The return of Lee is coming off the heels of some other good news for the Jags announced earlier this week. Starting left tackle Cam Robinson was also removed from the PUP list on Monday after suffering a torn ACL in Week 2 last season. He has since made enough progress participate in some individual drills and should be ready, along with Lee, for their season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
In other injury-related news, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Leonard Fournette, backed up by Thomas Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.
Jaguars searching for RB depth after second preseason game
With preseason game number two in the books, it’s apparent the Jaguars have real issues with running back depth due to injury. This after veteran Alfred Blue left the first half of the 24 – 10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury and did not return.
Blue carried the ball four times for just five yards has Jacksonville offense once again sputtered behind a makeshift offensive line. Coach Doug Marrone was so concerned about that line situation and their ability to protect/block that starting quarterback Nick Foles and running back Leonard Fournette never saw the field for a single play during Thursday night.
That means that veteran at Thomas Rawls (above Thursday) was called upon to carry the ball a little more, and he did so, seven times for 19 yards including a long run of 11 playing in the first half.
Rawls is a 5th year veteran who had some modest success with the Seahawks, including rushing for 830 yards his rookie year in 2015 with a 5.6 yard per carry average. His numbers tapered off in 2016 – 17 with ankle and foot injuries, as he only played in 21 games in those two years. Rawls was later released and picked up by the Bengals, but injured again last season, and never carried the ball in Cincinnati.
Obviously, the Jaguars are wanting to implement Fournette, as the primary ball carrier, but they will need someone else to spell him on a series or two. Also, Fournette has had durability questions, as he missed parts or all of eight games last year with a hamstring injury.
The Jags were also hoping to bring along Temple rookie running back Ryquell Armstead, but after he carried eight times for 22 yards last week, he suffered a concussion in the preseason opening loss to the Ravens. Armstead hasn’t practiced since, and is still being evaluated with no further update Thursday.
Speaking of updates, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Fournette, backed up by Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.