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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars Strong ready for new start, but first he has to find his passport

Roy Cummings

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Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire
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The Jacksonville Jaguars leave for their annual trip to London on Thursday. Newcomer Jaelen Strong may not be with them when they leave.

The Jaguars claimed Strong off waivers from the Houston Texans on Tuesday, and it’s safe to say he wasn’t completely ready for all that entailed.

While Strong was ready and willing to move on to another team he wasn’t quite ready just yet to move on to a team headed overseas.

 “I wasn’t expecting to have to leave the country,’’ said Strong, who came to realize on Wednesday that he has misplaced his passport.

 “It’s somewhere in my house,” Strong told reporters. My family is there now tearing my house apart looking for it.’’ 

If they find it the Jaguars will add to their lineup on Sunday a wideout who can stretch the field for them.

That became a need when top wideout Allen Robinson went down with a torn ACL just a few plays into the Jaguars season opener.

That the Jaguars have turned to Strong makes sense. A 2015 third-round pick out of Arizona State, he’s only 23 and immensely skilled.

At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, he has elite NFL size and he ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Just walking walk through the door, Strong’s presence has already left an impression on his new quarterback, Blake Bortles.

 “I didn’t know he was as tall as he is,’’ Bortles said. “That’s obviously a good thing (after) you lose a guy like A-Rob.’’

As impressive as he looks, though, Strong has struggled to make a good impression on the field. He did in Houston anyway.

In 19 games with the Texans, the only team he’s played for in the NFL prior to joining the Jaguars, he’s had just 28 catches.

UPDATE:  The Jaguars finished practice early to depart for London tonight. Strong did not participate due a hamstring injury. And even though his family found his passport, he will not travel with the team for Sunday’s game overseas, but stay behind to rest/rehab.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Can Jaguars get necessary spark from Gardner Minshew?

Florida Football Insiders

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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
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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.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Who will FSU hire and did Jags make right move with Minshew?

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
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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.

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