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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars – three things to watch tonight against the Falcons

Roy Cummings

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Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone wouldn’t mind seeing a few of his projected starters, including quarterback Blake Bortles, play a few snaps in tonight’s preseason finale against the Falcons.

For the most part, though, he’ll avoid that temptation.

As much as Bortles, running back Leonard Fournette and cornerback Jalen Ramsey could use the work, Marrone will allow this game to be the scrum of scrubs that it usually is.

Marrone, though, still has at least one starting position battle to decide so at least one projected starter will get some snaps in this game and he may actually get a lot of them.

With that in mind, here’s a look at three specific areas of play or players who will bear watching tonight as the Jags get ready to pare their roster to the 53-man limit on Saturday.

 

Left guard

 This is the one position battle that remains undecided and if someone doesn’t decide it tonight it could have implications all across the line. The Jaguars are hoping that either incumbent starter Patrick Omameh or challenger Luke Bowanko will prove tonight that he is far and away the better option here. If that doesn’t happen the Jaguars may have to consider moving Brandon Linder back to left guard and putting Bowanko at center. That may seem like a worst-case scenario given that Bowanko has played so little football the last two years, but the Jaguars need to be strong in the middle of the line if they’re going to make their power running game work so this is a critical decision they have to make.

 

The wide receivers

 Rookie Keelan Cole and young journeyman Shane Wynn are in a battle for what may be the last spot on the depth chart here. Though Cole has dropped a couple of passes the last two games, both have played well enough to earn a spot, with Cole catching five passes for 132 yards and a touchdown and returning a punt 31 yards while Wynn has caught six passes for 60 yards and returned a kick for 48 yards. The Jaguars are pretty deep at the receiver position but there’s talk they may want to trade Allen Hurns. The play of Cole and Wynn is one reason why those rumors may be accurate and another good game from both tonight could greatly impact the way the Jaguars fill out this position at the start of the season.

 

The cornerbacks

 The Jaguars have the makings of one of the best corner contingents in the game thanks to the presence of cornerbacks Ramsey, A.J. Bouye and Aaron Colvin. There is still a fourth corner spot that has to be filled, though, and given the fact none of the aforementioned regulars has been allowed to play regularly while rehabbing from injuries this preseason it’s an important one. Tyler Patmon and Brian Dixon have received the bulk of the playing time here so far in exhibition games and that will probably be the case again tonight. There may only be room for one of these two to make the team, though, so that last roster spot could come down to who picks off a pass or simply does the best job in coverage.

 

 

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

Jaguars hire former Redskins coach Gruden as OC

Florida Football Insiders

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It didn’t take long for the Jaguars to come up with a new offensive coordinator and it will be a very familiar name to fans of the NFL and in specific, in Florida. Former Redskins coach and Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has been hired buy coach Doug Marrone to assume play-calling duties.

NFL Network insiders Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport had the news first on Tuesday night, that the Jags had settled on the Redskins coach who was fired during his sixth season back in October:

Gruden, the younger brother of Raiders coach Jon Gruden, was fired in October after the Skins 0-5 start and while in his sixth season in Washington. He mostly struggled for the Redskins to have success with a 35-49-1 overall record. However, they won the NFC East in Gruden’s second year (2015) with a 9-7 record, but were beaten at home in the Wildcard Weekend by the Green Bay Packers.

Gruden worked his way up to his first head coaching job after having been the offensive coordinator for Marvin Lewis for three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. There, he worked with quarterback Andy Dalton and spectacular WR A.J. Green and his final year (2013), the Bengals were 6th in overall offense and fifth in scoring.

The Jaguars had also reportedly interviewed former Giants head coach, Ben McAdoo, and had also been considering former Cowboys and Rams offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, for their vacancy. Coach Doug Marrone fired first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo after just one season last week.

While the team termed it “mutually parting ways,” DeFilippo was quickly hired by the Chicago Bears last Wednesday, as a quarterback coach. And, obviously going from an NFL offensive coordinator job to a QB coach is not a lateral move.

Back to Jay Gruden. He is best known in our state for having been outstanding Arena Football League quarterback leading both the Tampa Bay Storm and the Orlando Predators franchises to Arena Bowl Championships.

Later his career Gruden was a player coach for the Orlando franchise, while also working during the NFL seasons in the fall as an offensive assistant under brother with the Buccaneers, including their 2002 Super Bowl win.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars interviewing former Redskins coach Jay Gruden for OC

Florida Football Insiders

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Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars continue to look for a new offensive coordinator in an interesting name with Florida connections has emerged.

Fox Sports NFL Insider Mike Garafolo reported on Sunday that former Redskins head coach and longtime Arena Football League star player and coach in the Sunshine State, Jay Gruden is on their radar:

Gruden was fired in October after an 0-5 start and while in his sixth season in Washington. He mostly struggled for the Redskins to have success with a 35-49-1 overall record. However, they won the NFC East in Gruden’s second year (2015) with a 9-7 record, but we’re beaten at home in the Wildcard Weekend by the Green Bay Packers.

Gruden worked his way up to his first head coaching job after having been the offensive coordinator for Marvin Lewis for three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. There, he worked with quarterback Andy Dalton and spectacular WR A.J. Green and his final year (2013), the Bengals were 6th in overall offense and fifth in scoring.

The Jaguars have also reportedly interviewed former Giants head coach, Ben McAdoo, and are said to also be considering former Cowboys and Rams offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, for their vacancy. Coach Doug Marrone fired first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo after just one season last week.

While the team termed it “mutually parting ways,” DeFilippo was quickly hired by the Chicago Bears Wednesday, as a quarterback coach. And, obviously going from an NFL offensive coordinator job to a QB coach is not a lateral move.

Jacksonville’s offense sputtered at times this past season, although it was handicapped when prized free agent quarterback Nick Foles was hurt in the first game of the season and missed 9 weeks with a fractured collarbone. Rookie sixth round pick, Gardner Minshew, was good at times in relief and helped Jacksonville win six games overall with his play.

Back to Jay Gruden. He is best known in our state for having been outstanding Arena Football League quarterback leading both the Tampa Bay Storm and the Orlando Predators franchises to Arena Bowl Championships.

Later his career Gruden was a player coach for the Orlando franchise, while also working during the NFL seasons in the fall as an offensive assistant under brother Jon Gruden with the Buccaneers.

Of course, the elder Gruden is now the coach of the Raiders again, and they are slated to move to Las Vegas for this fall. And, it’s entirely possible that Jay Gruden could be joining his brother with them, as well.

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