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Jacksonville Jaguars

The “Lamar Jackson should change positions” take is foolish

Florida Football Insiders

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Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Scouting Combine is coming up starting next week, and there are going to be a multitude of players in Indy, who are going to be looked over and talked to, by the 32 NFL teams. And in some cases, a player may be asked about and even to try, to work at a different position.

This is not original or even new, especially, as it relates to quarterbacks. In the past 15-20 years, QB’s like Eric Crouch of Nebraska (Heisman), Tim Tebow of the Gators (also Heisman), and even, Nick Marshall (led Auburn to the BCS Title Game 2013), have been told that they should consider receiver or defensive back, etc.

Crouch chose to take the advice and try to play some receiver and never did much in the NFL. Tebow did not switch, was drafted in the first round by the Broncos and became a lightning rod of criticism in the NFL. And, Marshall tried to play DB, but never amounted to anything after the SEC.

Now, we get to what has really become a silly manufactured debate this week about Louisville’s QB Lamar Jackson, and that very point: playing a different position at the next level.

First, Jackson, who was a “four star” quarterback at Boynton Beach High School before he ever got to Louisville, has been very impressive in college. Throwing the ball! Yes, his completion percentage is a little low at 57% for his career, but he threw for over 7,000 yards in his final two seasons. Oh, and he also threw for 57 touchdowns in those final two years, too.

In addition to wining his own Heisman two years ago, he’s been the ACC Offensive Player of the Year in those last two season, also.

And this doesn’t even take into account, his two 1,500+ yard rushing seasons and 39 more rushing TDs that Jackson has put up.

He’s demonstrated, in a power conference, he can play QB.

So, when ESPN’s analyst, Bill Polian, who used to be the Colts GM and was also with the Bills and a couple other teams as talent evaluator, said earlier this week that Jackson should consider switching to receiver for the Combine and beyond, many eyebrows raised.

Polian made the comments first on the “Golic and Wingo” ESPN Radio show Monday morning. ”Clearly, clearly not the thrower that the other guys are. The accuracy isn’t there.”

The “other guys” are top QB prospects, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, etc.

Polian also went on ESPN TV later in the day and repeated the comments that he should work out at wide receiver for teams coming up. He even compared Jackson to Terrell Pryor of Ohio State, who gave up trying to be a QB and has switched to WR.

However, this is where anyone who has seen both of those two play, and throw the ball in big time college football has the right to “laugh Polian out of the room.”

Seriously, anyone who’s watched Jackson, even once, with touch, downfield zip on the ball, etc. could see he’s better than the “shot put” style throwing Pryor appeared with the Buckeyes.

Polian continued to make embarrassing comments like “short and a little bit slight” as another knock against him. Jackson has been listed by Lousiville the last two years at 6’3, and we’ll see what the official height measurement is at the Combine.

We’re not thinking, he’s “short,” though.

Look, we don’t know if he will go in the first round, but he’s got some Michael Vick and even RGIII type mobility and deep ball capability that should excite a lot of teams.

Maybe, the Jaguars will be interested at the bottom of the first round in April.

There have been several prominent mock drafts, even recently, that have pegged Jackson to Jacksonville or some other team needing a playmaking QB.

One of his staunch supporters is former NFL scout- turned NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah. He scoffed Wednesday night on “NFL Total Access” about the notion of Jackson having to switch to be drafted or succeed:

We love the, “I look forward to playing against ya” line from Jeremiah. That is the right approach with teams. Be professional. Take the high road.

Let your play on tape from college speak for you. Tell them you are anxious to make those same plays for a new team.

Lamar Jackson doesn’t have to switch like Crouch, Marshall or even Pryor did.

His is a QB and it’s his best bet to stick in the NFL.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars QB Bortles doesn’t mind you coming over to his place

Florida Football Insiders

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars are “riding high” early on in the season after an impressive win against New England. Everyone is obviously loose, because of the success in 2017, and now, back-to-back wins to start this year have given a sense of confidence to the young squad.

An embattled fifth year quarterback Blake Bortles is on a serious uptick in his own playing career. Off yet another surprising game Sunday, where he threw for 376 yards and four scores in the 31 – 20 victory, Bortles has plenty of reasons to smile.

And, unusually, he has plenty of reasons to welcome total strangers who come to his door

Yes. You read that correctly.

Bortles made mention earlier this week about fans and even teammates coming to his house, unannounced, to “say hello,” maybe catch up on some Netflix and of course, talk about the success of the Jaguars.

Okay, we made the Netflix part up.

Still, for an NFL quarterback to make mention that he’s welcoming people to come see him at his home to talk up the team he plays for is definitely unusual.

Bortles elaborated jokingly to the media Wednesday after the Jaguars practice in preparation for their first meeting this season with the Titans:

“It’s a football town that loves their Jaguars, especially when they are playing well. You know, I don’t have a problem having a conversation with somebody at the door.” When asked whether the fans relate to him, Bortles continued, “I feel as though I relate to the city of Jacksonville and the people who live here….I’ve lived in Florida my whole life. I feel comfortable here. I’ve made a lot of friends here. Made a lot of good relationships. Really enjoyed being here.”

It’s a very juicy twist to the Bortles soap opera from a year ago, when Jags fans were ready to not only come to his front door, but pack all of his belongings and put them on a moving truck to get him out of town.

Yet, Bortles played steady and at times great football in the 2017 season, including Jacksonville’s stunning AFC divisional playoff win at Pittsburgh last year. He also played well in the AFC Championship Game resulting in a narrow lost to New England.

So, it’s understandable that Bortles has got the Jaguars fans filling up on his bandwagon, yet again.

However, one thing is for sure, in the NFL everything is fleeting and directly related to what you’ve done, lately. And with the Titans having swept the Jaguars a year ago, Bortles and his teammates know they have to get that corrected starting with Sunday’s home game at TIAA Bank Field.

Otherwise, any strangers at the Bortles home, who are decked out in black and teal uninvited, may not be as friendly coming up the driveway next week.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Look who tops debut of our FFI “Power Rankings”

Jamil King

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL and college football in full swing, we have had some surprises and shocks.
The whole state of Florida has gone unbeaten in the NFL.

UCF and USF look like they might be the best college teams in the state.

Blueblood FSU has landed flat on their faces, while Miami and Florida each suffered early season defeats.

A few weeks into the season, here are how things are shaping up with our “Power Rankings.”

5. Miami Hurricanes- The Canes came into the season with high expectations after having one of their best seasons in recent memory in 2017. The year didn’t start how they wanted it to with a severe loss to the LSU Tigers, who look like they might challenge the Tide for the SEC West crown. Miami bounced back with wins against Savanah State and Toledo. They will need QB Malik Rosier to improve if they want to win back to back Coastal titles.

4. Miami Dolphins- Surprise number one, so far, are the Dolphins. The Fins are 2-0 for the first time since 2013. The Dolphins have beat the Titans and Jets, so we can’t put them higher than fourth, but the start is impressive. Miami’s defense has been good, and contributions have come from all over, as we wrote Sunday. Ryan Tannehill has been doing a stable job at QB as well. The Dolphins get the 0-2 Raiders this week before two road games against Foe Tom Brady and the also surprising Bengals.

3. UCF Knights- The “National Champions” check in at the number three spot this week. The Knights have cruised to victory twice so far this season. QB Mckenzie Milton looked unstoppable against the UConn Huskies, but wasn’t at his best against South Carolina State. The Knights got unlucky with Hurricanes again this year and lost out on playing an ACC opponent (North Carolina) yet again. UCF will play FAU this week before finally getting to play a power five school in Pittsburgh at home.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Surprise again, with Tampa Bay at number two. Can you feel the “Fitzmagic?” The Bucs sure can, as the 14 year vet has shredded the Saints and Eagles. The Bucs are at 2-0 for the first time since 2010. Todd Monken has done wonders for the offense with the playcalling, as well. With a Monday night date with the Steelers can the Bus keep it going on National Television?

1. Jacksonville Jaguars- The Jags claim the top spot this week coming in at 2-0 as well. The Jags are here partly to last season’s success, but not just that. The defense has done its job so far, but Blake Bortles was on fire vs. the Patriots. If Blake can continue to play the way he did against New England, then this team can become even more dangerous.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Report- Jaguars LT Cam Robinson has torn ACL

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The news is not all good coming out of the Jaguars week two win over the power house Patriots.

Second-year left tackle Cam Robinson suffered a left knee injury in the first quarter and did not return to the game.

And as the NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported first Monday morning, it’s the worst possible news for him:

Tha former second-round pick out of Alabama was anchoring the left side of the line and protecting quarterback Blake Bortles’ blind-side. Jacksonville and coach Doug Marrone were particularly eager to have Robinson develop more with veteran left guard Andrew Norwell, whom the Jags gave a huge contract to in free agency.

Now, Robinson is headed for the IR.

Robinson started all 16 games a year ago, and the first two games this season.

Undrafted four year veteran Josh Wells, took over for Robinson and play the remainder of the game on Sunday.

With the diagnosis of the ACL and Robinson lost for the season, the Jaguars now have to decide whether Wells is the long-term solution, as he’s never started an NFL game before in his career.

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