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Jacksonville Jaguars

Is Mike Smith the choice in Jacksonville?

Roy Cummings

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The Jaguars appear to have “honed’’ in on their next head coach and at least one prominent NFL insider believes Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith could be their target.

Former Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Sunday night that he believes the Jags want a defensive-minded coach and that Smith could be their guy.

“(Smith) is in the state of Florida already and he’s got very good ties to (Jaguars general manager) David Caldwell, (who is) very good friends with (Falcons general manager) Thomas Dimitroff,’’ Dominik said.

“And I know it hurt Thomas to have to let go of Smitty (when he was head coach of the Falcons) because they are very good friends … and that’s one of the best relationships you can have.

“And so there’s a known commodity there, it’s not a new coach in Mike Smith they’d be hiring, so we’ll see what happens but I feel like Jacksonville is very close to figuring out who (its) next coach will be.’’

Dominik said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Jags make the announcement on a new head coach early this week, perhaps as soon as Tuesday, after the college football national title game is played.

There may be a hitch, though, at least as it pertains to Smith. You see, the Jaguars aren’t the only team interested in Smith. The Chargers have interviewed him, too.

And just like Jacksonville, the word regarding the Chargers is that they too are looking to hire a defensive-minded head coach. It’s possible then that Smith will have his choice of jobs.

If that’s the case, it might come down to which team he believes has the better organization or is closer to winning. It might even come down to where Smith most wants to live.

He’s done the Jacksonville thing before, for five years when he was the Jags defensive coordinator from 2003-2007. San Diego might seem more attractive to him, though he probably wouldn’t be there for long.

The Chargers are expected to eventually move to Los Angeles, so Smith may have to consider all the personal and professional hassles associated with that as well as he makes up his mind.

Either way, it seems possible that the Bucs may soon know, if they don’t already, whether they’re going to have spend the early part of the offseason looking for a new defensive coordinator.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars injury woes continue- LB Myles Jack to IR

Florida Football Insiders

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Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
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The bad news on the injury front for the Jaguars continued on Thursday, when they placed star linebacker Myles Jack on injured reserve.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport had the news first:

Jack missed Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers with a knee injury that was believed to be a sprain suffered in the loss to the Colts two weeks ago. However, the move to IR indicates it may be more serious.

The Jaguars season has unraveled over the course of the last month with injuries to their defense and the team trading away perennial Pro Bowl defensive back Jalen Ramsey to the Rams. Jacksonville had already put DT Marcel Dareus on IR, All-Pro defensive tackle Calais Campbell has been trying to battle through a bad back and DB Tony Harrison has still not been cleared with a concussion.

Coach Doug Marrone has expressed the last two weeks that it has been a struggle for his defense with all of the injuries mounting late in the year.

As for Jack, he had settled in the middle linebacker roll after Telvin Smith abruptly retired in May.

Jack has been solid, but not spectacular, in the middle of the defense registering 7 or more tackles in five games this season. However he hasn’t forced a fumble, has only one interception and half of a sack. Jack also has just three tackles-for-loss at a position that often dictates much more output than that.

The former second-round pick out of UCLA had question marks about his knee coming out of college, when the Jaguars took him in the 2016 draft. However, he has answered critics on his durability by being active for all 59 games of his career up until last week.

Jacksonville will use veteran Donald Payne at middle linebacker for now. Payne played significantly last week against the Buccaneers and has been on and off of Jacksonville roster this season.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Can Jaguars get necessary spark from Gardner Minshew?

Florida Football Insiders

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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
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The Jaguars were back on the practice field on Wednesday and have to rally around their rookie QB, Gardner Minshew, to re-ignite their season. And their opponent, may be the perfect for them, too.

Minshew took over in the second half for an ineffective Nick Foles, as Foles committed turnovers on each of Jacksonville’s first three possessions. Now, he’s back as their starter to see if the 4-8 Jags can salvage some games in December.

Now, the 4-win L.A. Chargers come stumbling to North Florida off a dramatic loss in Denver and yet, somehow, have been listed as 2.5-point underdogs by top sports betting sites.

Philip Rivers and the Chargers, new-look defense is coming to Jacksonville to try and move to 5-8 and make a run at a .500 season. In effect, both of these teams’ seasons are all but over, so they are just playing for pride.  And while mathematically, the Jags are not completely out of the AFC South race, yet, let’s be honest … the Titans and Texans are not going to drop four straight games … and it definitely isn’t looking like the Jags are going to win four straight.

Coach Doug Marrone is clearly in trouble and everything they try is not working. There were plenty of games that the Jaguars could have or should have won, but didn’t. And, now they are sitting on the very bottom of the AFC South with few games remaining.

Onto to the matchup.

The Chargers have owned the Jaguars historically, as they have won in two of the last three and seven of the last ten meetings. But right now, this is a pretty good spot for the Jags.

When we look at standard offense on any given Sunday, the L.A. Chargers are about two points better than the Jacksonville Jaguars on average. The Chargers put up 20.33 points per game against the Jags 18.33. It would be nice for Jaguars fans, if the Chargers performed significantly worse on the road, but they don’t.

They are almost exactly the same level of bad whether at home in Los Angeles or out on the road. And unfortunately, for Jags fans who buy tickets to home games, they have let them down at TIAA Field by performing worse in Jacksonville, to the tune of nearly three points per game. They score just 15.83 on their home field.

The yardage stats are comparable in this one, as the Chargers pass for 255.33 per game, while the Jags pass for 242.50. The Chargers rush for 92 yards per game, while the Jags run game with Leonard Fournette has dropped off to 79.67 average, currently.

On defense, the Chargers are a respectable top ten unit (No. 7 in the league) that allows just 18.50 points per game. They hold teams to 212 yards passing and 97.83 yards rushing.

However, that’s where Minshew will put them to the test. He is far more mobile than Foles and got Jacksonville 11 points in the second half Sunday with them driving for more. That is until the rookie’s killer interception at the Tampa Bay goaline midway through the fourth quarter.

So, most of the numbers point the another Jacksonville loss. That said, the Chargers have lost three straight but have shown some flashes of brilliance. So too did Minshew, who won four games in eight tries earlier this year as the fill-in starter.

If you can avoid this game for your “Survivor Pools” do so … If you are a bettor … stay away.

This is a game where anything can happen, especially with “Minshew Mania” back.

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