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The “Lamar Jackson should change positions” take is foolish

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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 DB Jalen Ramsey implied Monday he wants out of Jacksonville

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Frustration is mounting in Jacksonville as the Jaguars dropped their fifth straight game losing Sunday in Indianapolis 29 – 26.

And as the cliche goes, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” However, the literal meaning of that phrase can now being taken by Jaguars fans and media with regards to controversial defensive back Jalen Ramsey taking to social media Monday morning to imply that he wants to get going out of Jacksonville.

Whether it was frustration, trying to be funny or just being honest, Ramsey’s tweeted mid-morning message is definitely going to stir things up. And, the clear indication is that the former fifth overall pick of the Jags in 2016, who’s playing in his third season on his rookie contract, is counting down the days to be gone from North Florida.

This is the latest in a series of headaches for the Jaguars front office and Coach Doug Marrone. It began in the offseason when Ramsey refused to come work out with his teammates during OTAs and instead, elected to remain training in Tennessee with his father at their training facility.

Now, that one is more easily explained and accepted, because Ramsey has trained there throughout his young adult life in the offseason. And ultimately, OTAs are supposed to be voluntary workouts anyway.

Still, the perception was that Ramsey was not wanting to be part of the team concept and around his teammates coming off of a playoff season, when the franchise was hoping to take the next steps.

Then came Ramsey’s decision to not show up at the beginning of Jaguars training camp due to the birth of his daughter. While he informed the Jaguars of his intentions in advance, the fact that Ramsey did not come to participate in practices and preparation for the season for five days of actual practices was another concerning hint that he’s not pleased with the Jags and the situation.

The subject was basically glossed over by the media in Jacksonville, but if winning and getting better with your teammates is a priority and your girlfriend and child did not have any complications during childbirth, why were you not with them within a day or so of the birth?

Next, came and ugly and embarrassing public skirmish at a Jaguars training camp practice, as defensive line teammates Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler got into a shoving match and had to be separated from teammates in full view of fans and media looking on. Ramsey joined in in threatening two different reporters to stop video taping the incident, even though they were perfectly within their right to do so covering the team.

Maronne suspended both Fowler and Ramsey for the entire week of practice with the Minnesota Vikings before playing the preseason game in Minneapolis. Fowler was traded two weeks ago to the L.A. Rams, while in the final year of his rookie contract.

Also, Ramsey’s comments in GQ Magazine and an online article also came out later that same August week  and in the article, Ramsey took shots at quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger, rookie Josh Allen, Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan, too.

This obviously brought unwanted attention to Ramsey around the football world, at a time when the Jaguars would have wanted it toned down.

Now, the Jaguars are facing adversity on the field having lost five in a row to drop to 3 and 6 on the season and in last place in the AFC South.

It’s also interesting timing for Ramsey to be speaking out, half joking or not, because it’s after the trading deadline and the Jaguar still have Ramsay’s exclusive rights to give him a new deal through next season. They also have the option to pick up the 5th Year on his rookie contract, which would be 2020.

Another theory would be: that Ramsey is trying the  “if you complain loudly and long enough they will trade you” route to get out.

There is no disputing that Ramsey is one of the best one-on-one cover corners in football, but as we have asked frequently, at what point do all of the antics and drama off the field outweigh that?

This is especially, when you can potentially get something for him of substance in return or maybe, in a trade Ramsey.

However that’s a question for the off-season for the Jags. For now?

It’s another headache off the field from #20.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars slide continues, as comeback comes up short

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

A valiant comeback in the second half in Indianapolis was spoiled by a late turnover, and unfortunately at this stage for the Jaguars, there’s no such thing as a “moral victory.”

And in the end, the scoreboard read Colts 29, Jaguars 26.

That’s five straight losses for Jacksonville, a team that won the division and two playoff games a year ago, but looks very ordinary and at times, awful when it matters this season.

For example, they were bad defensively for much of the first half of this game Sunday, as Andrew Luck repeatedly riddled them for big throws and touchdowns in the first half  building a 21 – 7 lead.

Still, the Jags showed great moxie in the second half trying to snap their four-game losing streak. Jacksonville put together a 75-yard drive out of the locker room that culminated with Leonard Fournette’s second touchdown of the season and trimmed the lead to 29 – 23.

The Jaguar defense continue to lockdown the Colts in the second half, and linebacker Telvin Smith picked off Luck at the end of the third quarter to keep the Jaguars within range.

After a Josh Lambo field goal had cut the lead to three, Indianapolis was trying to put the game away, but could not run the clock out. Then, they elected to try a 52-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri which the future Hall of Famer missed.

And, that opened the door for the Jags to have one last chance.

However, that chance also got  squandered after Blake Bortles had completed a couple of passes to T.J. Yeldon, and then Yeldon had a 9-yard run down to the Indy 35 making it 3rd and one.

That’s when Bortles completed a pass downfield to Rashad Greene, who was stripped by defensive back Kenny Moore of the Colts. The play was initially called a catch on the field, but replay review later overturned it and allow the Colts to kneel on the ball and run the clock out.

So it was a mixed bag of some good things, but not enough of them.

And the reality for coach Doug Marrone and the team is: five straight losses and a team that was once riding high in the AFC South off a win over the Patriots that made them 3 – 1, has now disintegrated.

The Jaguars five game losing streak has also put them in the basement of the AFC South at 3 – 6.

And that’s not a place where anyone expected them to be.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Gameday- Jaguars must bounce back at Indianapolis

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Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Jaguars (3-5) at Colts (5-5)

When: Sunday 1 p.m.

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Spread: Colts by 3 points (Courtesy VegasInsder.com)

Here’s what to watch:

Fournette is back

Those are three words that Jaguar fans have been waiting for five weeks. And finally second-year running back Leonard Fournette appears to be healthy after missing six of the last seven games with a hamstring injury. Fournette re-aggravated that hamstring injury in October game against the Jets and has not played in the last for Jaguar games. All of those games have been losses, with the Jaguars unable to run the ball and set up their play action passing.

Now, off the bye week, the explosive second-year running back from LSU was able to practice all week and should be a full go for this match-up in Indy. He should make a difference, provided that there’s not another reaggravatation, which would only have the Jags fans throwing up their hands and rolling their eyes.

Get after Andrew Luck

If the Colts are going to continue their success it’s writing on the former number one overall pick. After missing all of last season with shoulder surgery, Luck is rounding into form in the middle of 2018.

Luck has 23 TD passes and just eight INTS as the Colts have won back to back games.

The Jaguars pass rush has got to be ready to go in this one. That means players like Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Telvin Smith and Myles Jack have to pressure, knock down and sack Luck on Sunday or it could be a long day for the Jags.

Play with a sense of urgency

Just like what we wrote in the Buccaneers preview with the Redskins, the Jaguars have seen their 3-1 start evaporate, and with four straight losses, they have to come out Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium playing like their season is on the line.

That’s because, it likely is.

The Jags have to get to nine wins, just like the Buccaneers in the NFC, to have a realistic hope at a wild card spot. Their drought of victories has put them at 3 – 5, and that means they have to start winning, now.

Off their bye week, will they be sharp and well disciplined on both sides of the ball? Will there be penalties, will there be turnovers and will there be mistakes in assignments?

If there are a lot of those, then excitement built off a year ago and the hope for following it up with a playoff season in 2018 will basically be gone.

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