As the weekend unfolds, the Jaguars like all other NFL teams are setting there 53 man roster. And, it’s become obvious that they will count heavily on Leonard Fournette and not much experienced depth behind him at running back.
This after the team chose to release veteran Thomas Rawls among their roster cuts Saturday and then, also placed veteran Alfred Blue on injured reserve Sunday due to an ankle injury.
The #Jaguars placed RB Alfred Blue on injured reserve, source said.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 1, 2019
Blue was hurt in the Jags second preseason game and now, cannot be activated until at least week nine of the season under the IR rules.
So, in the short-term, the team will count heavily on rookie Temple running back Ryquell Armstead to be the primary backup for Fournette. It speaks volumes at the moment that Jacksonville thinks that highly of Armstead and also believe that Fournette is going to bounce back from a durability standpoint in 2019.
The former first-round pick out of LSU in 2017 had a fantastic rookie year, but his 2018 was undone by a hamstring injury suffered in week one against the Giants. Fournette missed the second half of that game and all or parts of seven other games due to the injury a year ago.
However, he has a renewed commitment physically that began with offseason work with a former LSU strength coach, who’s now at the University of Wyoming.
And for what it’s worth, Fournette looked fantastic in the one lone preseason game that he played in during week three against the Dolphins.
Back to Armstead. He was a fifth round pick out of Temple, but has also dealt with a concussion earlier during training camp. He saw some carries this August, including six rushes for 40 yards in the preseason finale against the Falcons on Thursday.
That must have impressed coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator John Defilippo enough to keep him as the primary backup to Fournette.
The Jaguars also made a waiver claim on Devine Ozigbo, who had been released Saturday, and they could still end up with another veteran player in the backfield over the next day or two.
Jaguars taking strange risk with playing Jalen Ramsey Thursday
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?
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.
Jaguars coach Marrone confirms Jalen Ramsey will play Thursday
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:
Coach Doug Marrone said that Jalen Ramsey will be suited up tomorrow. Says “Jalen and I have always had a good open relationship… we sat down yesterday and talked about what went on with him and I… that’s behind us right now…” Says Jalen is focused on playing tomorrow.
— Tiffany Blackmon (@tiffblackmon) September 18, 2019
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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