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Jaguars showed belief in rookie QB Minshew Thursday

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James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
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We know that the Jacksonville Jaguars are fully committed to Nick Foles being their leader at quarterback. However on Thursday, they made an interesting commitment to another new QB, as well.

That’s when the Jaguars not only announced the signing of sixth round pick QB Gardner Minshew out of Washington State, but also the release of last year’s veteran backup quarterback, Cody Kessler:

First on Minshew (shown in the snowy game with rival Washington last year). He was a graduate transfer from East Carolina, and had a fantastic one season for Mike Leach’s “Air Raid Offense” at Washington State a year ago.

Minshew was the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year leading the country in passing yards per game (367.6), and third nationally in completion percentage at 71%. He was fourth in touchdown passes with 38, and Washington State set a school and Pac 12 record with 4,898 yards of offense with Minshew throwing  for at least 400 yards in 6 games.

Finally, Minshew finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting for 2018, as well.

Obviously, Coach Doug Marrone and new offensive coordinator John Defilippo loved Minshew enough not only to draft him, but to believe that he can step in, if needed for the upcoming season. That’s because the Jaguars don’t have another very experienced quarterback with virtual unknowns Tanner Lee and Alex McGough, as the other options at the moment.

The Jaguars turned to Cody Kessler after benching starter Blake Bortles in November, and he went 2 – 2 but was largely ineffective trying to throw the ball. He finished with just 709 yards passing, two touchdowns and two interceptions in five games played.

Obviously, Jacksonville is counting on Foles, who was the Super Bowl 52 MVP for the Eagles in their win over the Patriots. That was with Defilippo having been his quarterback coach in Philadelphia.

The former Eagles backup got $25 million to sign with the Jags in March with a fully guaranteed additioanl $15 million salary for 2020, too.

So, that’s definitely a commitment.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jags coach Marrone acknowledged Wednesday he’s in jeopardy

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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As the Jaguars 2019 season has spiraled downward, their head coach acknowledged Wednesday that there are likely changes coming in North Florida.

Doug Marrone, in his third full season as the Jags head coach, met with the media prior to Wednesday’s practice:

“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.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars injury woes continue- LB Myles Jack to IR

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Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
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The bad news on the injury front for the Jaguars continued on Thursday, when they placed star linebacker Myles Jack on injured reserve.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport had the news first:

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.

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