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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars searching for RB depth after second preseason game

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
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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.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars taking strange risk with playing Jalen Ramsey Thursday

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

As the Jaguars get set to try to win their first game of the season on Thursday night against rival Tennessee, the dominant story line will be about DB Jalen Ramsey and his status with the team. Further and most importantly, if the team does indeed intend to trade him as soon as Friday, why is he even playing in the game?

As for that, we wrote yesterday that Ramsey is still on the Jaguars roster and expected to not only be active, but start in tonight’s game. This despite numerous reports since Sunday, that he wants to be traded, and the team is actively shopping him to the first takeer that will give them at least one number one pick in return.

Importantly, the front office has not denied that they’re trying to move the disgruntled former Pro Bowl corner, you can only take that to mean: they are trying to pull off a trade.

So it raises the very valid dilemma of: playing arguably your best player in the third game of the year, but also the realistic possibility that Ramsey could somehow hurt himself in the game. And while a serious injury isn’t likely, something slight like a groin or hamstring injury could come from playing in this game.

Another very valid point is that if the Jaguars could not make a trade in the last 48 hours or so for Ramsey, are they really going to get more value by trading him Friday, this weekend or next Monday?

Highly unlikely.

So, here we go with the team taking what appears to be an unnecessary risk with a player who obviously privately has made it clear he wants out of North Florida.

Of course the other possible part of this is; the VP of football Tom Coughlin is willing to “play poker,” for now, with the other teams in the league that are pursuing Ramsey and might even wait another week or two before pulling the trigger.

After all the Jaguars have until October trading deadline to find the best deal possible.

However,  the argument against that is that Ramsey could become a bigger distraction than what he already has and cause more problems than he already has behind the scenes for the team.

It certainly is a dilemma.

And it’s one that will play out Thursday on National TV, if and when Ramsey is out there running around, while the team is trying to deal him somewhere else, maybe as soon as the weekend.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars coach Marrone confirms Jalen Ramsey will play Thursday

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Bowl defensive back Jalen Ramsey told the media on Tuesday that, as long as he was going to be with the Jaguars he was going to give it his all. And, that will now include the Thursday night game with the Tennessee Titans.

After speculation that Ramsey might be traded prior to the showdown with the Titans at TIAA Bank Field, Ramsey not only participated in the Wednesday walk through practice with his teammates, but coach Doug Marrone announced after practice that he will be playing in the game Thursday night:

So, Ramsey will at least be with the Jaguars for a few more days. Speculation continues to run rampant that Jacksonville will complete a trade for Ramsey maybe, as soon as Friday after the game.

Earlier the day ESPN Jaguars reporter Mike DiRocco reported that because Ramsey was on the Jaguars roster still at the end of business on Tuesday (or 48 hours before game time) that Jacksonville would still be obligated to pay him for this week

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport also says the Jaguars are holding firm in their belief that they can get two future number one picks in exchange for Ramsey.

However, that would be highly unlikely, as most teams know the Jacksonville is looking to rid themselves of the defensive back. And, Miami trading number one pick Minkah Fitzpatrick earlier in the week for a single number one pick with a swap of other mid round draft picks this year and next year, seems to have set the market.

This is particularly because, Fitzpatrick is still relatively inexpensive for the rest of this season and the next two years. However, Ramsey in the final year of his deal and if the team trading for him assumes his fifth year option his price tag, it will Skyrocket to a $13.7 million salary next year.

There is a further complication that Ramsey might reject wanting to sign a long-term deal with that team that acquires him and therefore, he essentially becomes a rental player for the remainder of this year.

Marrone further said that he spoke to Ramsey after his Tuesday news conference and team practice and they they were ready to go with Thursday’s game. The Jags are 0-2 and already in a “must win” mode for the NFC South early.

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