The Jacksonville Jaguars grabbed wide receiver Dede Westbrook in the fourth round of the draft this past spring in the hopes of adding a break-away speed element to their offense.
Midway through the preseason, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone says he has yet to see that “pure break-away, great speed’’ that was supposed to set Westbrook apart from all the rest.
What Marrone has seen out of Westbrook is something that may prove to be even more important to his long-term success.
A 5-foot-11 and 178 pound, Westbrook is a slightly-built, rail-thin player who had a tendency at times during his college career to get spooked when trying to make plays between the numbers.
That’s a bad trait to have, especially for a player projected to work mostly in the slot the way Westbrook is with the Jaguars, but Marrone says Westbrook has looked fine in that area of the field so far.
“He’s shown me that he’s not afraid to go over the middle, and I think that’s a big thing when you look at players that are fast,’’ Marrone said. Sometimes those players shy away from that, but I haven’t seen that with him.’’
He certainly didn’t see it during the Jaguars 12-8 preseason loss to the Bucs last week. While catching six passes for 131 yards in the fourth quarter of the Jaguars 12-8 loss to the Buccaneers last week, Westbrook made several plays over the middle.
Making plays in the middle of the field is one thing. To make those plays there, though, a player first has to get to the middle of the field and that’s something Westbrook continues to work on.
“The thing I’ve been telling him – and he said people have been saying this to him for a while – is that in this league, in order to be successful, you have to be able to get off press coverage,” Marrone said.
“That’s something that a lot of young receivers have to work extremely hard on because in college, guys are spread out all over the place, but in the NFL they’ll walk right up there and they’ll test you.
“And if you show you can’t get off press, then you’re going to get press all day and the quarterback … if they see someone who gets pressed and can’t win, they’re off that progression. So you have to be able to do that, and that’s why you’ve seen us work a ton on press.’’
According to Westbrook, the work has paid off. He told Jaguars.com on Monday that in terms of beating press coverage, “At the beginning of training camp it was bad for me. But now it’s better. A lot better.”
Report- Jaguars to hire former Giants coach McAdoo as QB coach
The Jaguars are trying to fix things offensively and especially, at the quarterback position. And, to that end, they have apparently settled on another hire, involving another former NFL head coach to lead their QB room.
ESPN Giants reporter Jordan Raanan reported Tuesday night the Jacksonville is hiring former New York Giants head coach, Ben McAdoo, to be their quarterback coach:
Ben McAdoo is being hired as the Jaguars quarterbacks coach, per source. The former Giants coach is back in after two years out of the NFL. McAdoo has worked well with Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning in his previous stints.
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) February 12, 2020
McAdoo had been under consideration by head coach, Doug Marrone, for the offensive coordinator vacancy that occurred when the team dismissed John DeFilippo after just one season.
Eventually, Marrone decided upon another former NFC East coach, Jay Gruden, from the Redskins, as the offensive coordinator hire. Gruden, the younger brother of Jon Gruden, is known as an innovator in the passing game.
However, the Jags, including GM Dave Caldwell, were obviously impressed with Macado’s previous work with the Giants and Eli Manning. McAdoo began as an offensive coordinator in New York in 2014 – 15. He was then given the head coaching job, basically at the uriging of the two-time Super Bowl champion QB Manning to take over in 2016.
The Giants finished 11 – 5 McAdoo’s first year as the head coach and made the playoffs. However, the relationship with Eli Manning quickly soured and the team fell apart going 2 – 10 in its first 12 games with McAdoo actually benching Manning late in the 2017 season. McAdoo was fired the week after that benching and has been out of the NFL the last two seasons.
McAdoo will replace QB coach Scott Milanovich, who took over as head coach of the CFL Edmonton Eskimos for later this summer.
The Jaguars still have to resolve their quarterback situation, as they have high price free agent signing Nick Foles, who did not perform well in his first season in Jacksonville. And then, they have fan favorite rookie 6th round pick Gardner Minshew, who did play well at times in relief of the injured Foles and when Marrone benched Foles for the final four games of the year.
Jaguars president Lamping continued to defend two London games
With a fan base that is unsure whether or not Jaguars owner Shad Khan really wants to move half his team’s schedule, if not the team entirely to London, team president Mark Lamping took to the national radio airwaves Thursday morning trying to defend this week’s announcement that they will be playing a second home game in the U.K. this fall.
Lamping was a guest on “Sirius XM NFL Radio” morning show with co-host Bob Papa and Charlie Weis and tried to make clear that playing a second home game in London starting this year, is in the best interest of keeping pro football in North Florida:
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) February 6, 2020
Lamping told the hosts that Khan is “taking all the actions he believes are necessary to ensure the future of the NFL in Northeast Florida,” during the conversation. He went on to discuss Khan’s commitment to land development around TIAA Bank Field and how playing this second home game in London will be able to help with revenue.
Still, it’s totally understandable that Jaguars fans who hear those comments and say, “your words are empty and your actions of moving a second game to London’s Wembley Stadium mean everything.”
And, they would not be wrong to say or think that.
A franchise wanting to stay committed and strong in the market/region where they are, isn’t looking to take 1/4 of the regular season home schedule and play games five time zones away.
The point Lamping was trying to make is the same that Khan did earlier in the week: that the Jaguars make easily $500,00 and maybe north of $1 million more money by selling their home games to the NFL to put on abroad vs. playing in a half empty stadium in Jacksonville,.
The real bottom line with respect to attendance/revenue is: the Jaguars have only had one winning season in eight years under Khan’s ownership. In fact, they’ve lost at least 10 games (including the last two years) in those 7 other seasons, and the losing has caused fan apathy, which therefore results in a lack of revenue.
And, most Jaguar fans were unhappy, or just met with that apathy, Khan’s decision last December to not go ahead and wipe the slate clean from coach Doug Marrone and GM Dave Caldwell, who were part of those last two years. This especially, after firing VP of football,, Tom Coughlin, late in the 2019 season.
The belief from many fans, who post online or call Jacksonville sports radio, etc., is that there’s going to be more of the same of losing in 2020. And then, the owner threatening to move more games every year to London, while still being based in Jacksonville.
For now, the NFL is willing to allow Khan to play more games in the U.K., while being based in Jacksonville.
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