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 coach Marrone acknowledged Wednesday he’s in jeopardy
As the Jaguars 2019 season has spiraled downward, their head coach acknowledged Wednesday that there are likely changes coming in North Florida.
Head Coach Doug Marrone meets the media prior to today's practice. https://t.co/Ks19PcB0te
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) December 11, 2019
“We’re all fighting for our jobs. When you look at it from that standpoint, each person has to make their own decision on how they handle those things….It’s a constant microscope in this league, but I think it gets magnified when you are not winning football games,” Marrone said plainly.
It’s no secret that the Jaguars are plummeting. Sunday they were embarrassed again at home, this time by the L.A. Chargers 45 – 10. That was the fifth consecutive decisive loss (by at least 17 points) for a team that was once 4 – 4 and in the conversation are the AFC Wildcard picture.
Yes, there are injuries including the team losing defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and recently linebacker Myles Jack to season-ending IR. The same on offense where WR Marqise Lee never got healthy and made contributions this year. He, too is back on injured reserve.
Further, the team also had to deal with the constant off field distraction and then decided to trade away arguably their best player, defensive back Jalen Ramsey to the LA Rams. Granted, Ramsey wanted out and was trying not to play while the trade was being consummated. Still, this missed him on the field and it was an issue.
Then, there’s the mess on offense, where the Jags offensive line is in shambles and Marrone had to bench high-priced free agent quarterback Nick Foles before last week’s game. That’s because of his ineffective play and lack of mobility to play behind their poor line.
Rookie Gardner Minshew, who had won four games earlier this year, didn’t do much with only 162 yards in the air and a late third-quarter touchdown that only cut the lead to 31 – 10 in the loss Sunday.
Further, running back Leonard Fournette has now been neutralized by the lack of good line play and the inability to get the passing game going. Fournette went from having a good start to the season that included three 100-yard or more games out of four in late September and October, to having five of his last six games where he has run for 50 yards or less.
So, everywhere you look, the Jags are struggling and losing, and owner Shad Khan is expected to make wholesale changes at the end of the year.
But for now, Jacksonville must go out to Oakland this week and try not to be further embarrassed there.
Jaguars injury woes continue- LB Myles Jack to IR
The bad news on the injury front for the Jaguars continued on Thursday, when they placed star linebacker Myles Jack on injured reserve.
Source: #Jaguars LB Myles Jack (knee) is going on Injured Reserve today. A hit to the Jacksonville defense.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 5, 2019
Jack missed Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers with a knee injury that was believed to be a sprain suffered in the loss to the Colts two weeks ago. However, the move to IR indicates it may be more serious.
The Jaguars season has unraveled over the course of the last month with injuries to their defense and the team trading away perennial Pro Bowl defensive back Jalen Ramsey to the Rams. Jacksonville had already put DT Marcel Dareus on IR, All-Pro defensive tackle Calais Campbell has been trying to battle through a bad back and DB Tony Harrison has still not been cleared with a concussion.
Coach Doug Marrone has expressed the last two weeks that it has been a struggle for his defense with all of the injuries mounting late in the year.
As for Jack, he had settled in the middle linebacker roll after Telvin Smith abruptly retired in May.
Jack has been solid, but not spectacular, in the middle of the defense registering 7 or more tackles in five games this season. However he hasn’t forced a fumble, has only one interception and half of a sack. Jack also has just three tackles-for-loss at a position that often dictates much more output than that.
The former second-round pick out of UCLA had question marks about his knee coming out of college, when the Jaguars took him in the 2016 draft. However, he has answered critics on his durability by being active for all 59 games of his career up until last week.
Jacksonville will use veteran Donald Payne at middle linebacker for now. Payne played significantly last week against the Buccaneers and has been on and off of Jacksonville roster this season.