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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jalen Ramsey officially questionable for Sunday

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The intrigue continues around disgruntled Jags defensive back Jalen Ramsey and his status for Sunday’s home game with the New Orleans Saints.

Ramsey is officially listed as “questionable” for Friday afternoon by the team after participating on a limited basis, again, with what he and the team insists is a bad back.

ESPN Jaguars beat writer Mike DiRocco reported that Ramsey will be receiving treatment both Friday afternoon and Saturday to make sure he can play for the first time since the Jaguars defeated the Titans three weeks ago on Thursday night football:

“He’s been able to progress a little bit,” Jags coach Doug Marrone said Friday after practice. “He’s out there working hard trying to get more and more done each day. Today we got a little bit more done than yesterday. So we’re just taking it step by step.”

We continue to write and qualify the “back injury” that Ramsey has, because of the soap opera that Ramsey and the team have undergone, since he requested to be traded a month ago.

This includes, Ramsey and his agent telling the team he had “the flu” two weeks ago, but then, the team also excusing him two days later to be with his girlfriend for the birth of a second child.

Ramsey then, rejoined the team three days later, flew to Denver (with the supposed bad back) and then, was inactive for the first time in his Jacksonville career. Then, he flew all the way back to North Florida with the team late that night.

Next, after not practicing last week with the listed “back injury,” Ramsey flew to Houston instead of accompanying the Jags to Charlotte. The team announced that he was excused to see a back specialist on Monday, but Ramsey was also photographed on social media socializing with Texans QB Deshaun Watson on Sunday evening after Houston’s home win earlier that day.

This cast further doubt about the seriousness of the “back problems” vs. him wanting out of Jacksonville. And, the Jags trying to figure out a trade vs. risking injury by playing him, etc.

Ramsey returned to practice Wednesday. And then, Jags owner Shad Khan said in an interview with the financial website, “The Street” on Thursday that Ramsey will be playing Sunday after he and his disgruntled Pro Bowl defensive back had met and cleared the air this week.

Now, we stay tuned to find out if Ramsey will be on the field Sunday afternoon?

The Jaguars certainly could use him to help cover one of the top pass catchers in the NFL right now, in Saints WR Michael Thomas.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars interviewing former Redskins coach Jay Gruden for OC

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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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Jacksonville Jaguars

AFC Championship game another reminder of Jaguars fall

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Two years ago, the Jaguars were 72 hours away from playing the New England Patriots for a spot in Super Bowl 52.

Now, 24 months later, you can’t help but reflect on what the Jags had and how quickly it all came unhinged.

That Jaguars team had magically won the AFC South with a 10-win turnaround regular-season. Now, the qualifiers are:  QB Andrew Luck was out for the year with shoulder surgery for the Colts after they had dominated the division in his tenure.

And, further, the Jags did not play the Texans in either game against QB DeShaun Watson. This, as he was still on the bench as a rookie in the first meeting in game one of the year. And, he had torn his ACL by the time Jacksonville played Houston in the second matchup.

When you couple that the Jaguars also playing the winless Cleveland Browns, their schedule definitely fell in their favor to help get to 10 victories.

And without a doubt, they played an ugly low-scoring home playoff game on the Wild Card Weekend against an offensively challenged Buffalo Bills team.

Still, a playoff win is a playoff win, and that earned the Jags a chance to play the Divisional Playoff matchup at Pittsburgh the following week.

And, that Sunday in the “Steel City” Blake Bortles looked like one of the best quarterbacks in the league with decisive accurate throws. Plus, Leonard Fournette was pounding the Steelers between the tackles for a couple of scores (above).

And then on the defensive side, Dante Fowler was attacking the quarterback, and Telvin Smith was anchoring the middle of the defense, plus, returning a fumble for a touchdown.

And, Jalen Ramsey was locking down Steeler receivers in one-on-one coverage in a wild 45-42 upset win.

That was then.

And, just two years later all but Fournette out of those players mentioned above, are now no longer with the team.

The Jaguars defense being hit the hardest by trading Fowler and Ramsey in separate deals to the Rams and then, Telvin Smith abruptly retiring in the prime of his career in the off-season.

Gone too is the man, VP of Football Tom Coughlin, who couldn’t get along with several of those players just mentioned above and got himself fired in less than two years after his team played for the whole thing.

He was fired with two weeks to go in the season by owner Shahid Khan, and  just 34 months after his heralded return to North Florida to resurrect the Jags. Khan has elected to keep coach Doug Marrone and GM Dave Caldwell despite them following 2017 with 5-11 and 6-10 seasons.

Jacksonville jettisoned Blake Bortles last offseason opting for high-priced free agent quarterback, Nick Foles. However. Foles never really got 2019 underway with a broken collarbone in the first quarter of game one and the team had to turn to Gardner Minshew, a rookie 6th round pick to lead them for a lot of the year.

So even headed into 2020, it’s uncertain who the signal-callers going to be?

Further, with those defensive names above gone and an aging Calais Campbell too, about the only thing a Jags fan can count on is young pass rusher Josh Allen. And, it looks like, he will be one of the most counted on Jaguar Defenders for years to come.

It’s also ironic that the Jaguars counterpart in the AFC South, the Titans have basically been winning down the stretch of this season and now and the two road playoff games at New England in Baltimore with Jacksonville’s 2017 formula. That would be: a strong running game to set up the rest of the offense and physical opportunistic defense more holding the other team in check.

Will the Titans be able to get over the hump and shock high-powered Kansas City, where are the Jaguars failed to knock off Tom Brady and the Patriots when they had their Super Bowl shot?

We are about to find out at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday.

And it’s understandable if Jaguar fans are watching Sunday and wondering how far they are away from that level of play and that big of a game at this point?

And more importantly, how much longer it will take them to have another shot at playing for an AFC title anytime soon?

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