Is it his time? It appears that legendary Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli may be on the verge of pro football’s ultimate honor on Saturday. That’s when the annual pro football Hall of Fame voters congregate at the Super Bowl site to elect the class of 2019.
And it appears that the case were both silly has grown stronger over the course of the last couple of years particularly. More on that in a moment.
First, one of the men that will be in the room is former ESPN reporter and longtime Hall of Fame voter, John Clayton. He spoke with the Jags official website from Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta with the voting process approaching Saturday:
Many in the media believe they're good – very good.
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) January 31, 2019
And, Clayton raises a very valid point that former Broncos running back Terrell Davis was elected to the Hall two years ago with a similar career path cut short by injury will also help Boselli’s case. Davis was a running back that made massive impact for a couple of seasons, where his Broncos teams won Super Bowls.
However, he didn’t have the longevity and “all time” career rushing numbers that his contemporaries like Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders and Marshall Faulk had, who also got in.
And as we wrote previously, there are compelling other cases and reasons, that should also help the 46 year-old Boselli in that room, when the debate begins Saturday morning.
First, he has strong credentials:
Bear in mind that Bosellli was the first ever Jacksonville draft pick, being taken #2 overall in the 1995 draft. And, from the very beginning, he became one of the cornerstone’s of the franchise. In addition to five straight Pro Bowls, he was given the prestigious All Pro selection (there’s only one of those each year) three times, as well. Boselli was such a dominant force that he was part of the NFL’s “All Decade Team” of the 90s playing only five seasons in the decade.
And for Hall of Fame voting purposes, contemporary of his the left tackle position, Orlando Pace, got into the Hall three years ago.
Pace was a former #1 overall pick by the Rams, and had a longer (13 years) career, but not that much more distinguished, individually. His seven Pro Bowls were more than Boselli’s, but he only equaled Boselli’s three All Pro selections.
Yes, Pace was part of 1999 Super Bowl win and had another appearance in 2001, but it’s not as if Boselli didn’t repeatedly play in and play well in several Jaguar playoff wins in his career. This would include the Jaguars appearance in the 1996 AFC Championship Game.
So, they are comparable. And Pace made it in the Hall in year number two.
Yes, there is an argument that Boselli only played in 107 games over 8 seasons due to chronic shoulder problems late in his career. But in putting in Davis, he played in only 78 games over 7 seasons due to bad knees. That’s about two seasons less of games played than Boselli played for the Jags.
So, you cannot use the “quality over longevity” argument for Davis, but still hold it against Boselli two years later.
Now we wait for the debate about Boselli vs. other lineman like Steve Hutchinson, and of course vs. other finalists, too.
Jags WR Marqise Lee returns to practice
After losing veteran Alfred Blue in the first half of the 24–10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury, the Jaguars are looking for offensive depth. In some fortunate news, WR Marqise Lee is off of the PUP list and has begun practicing today, roughly one year after suffering from knee damage that sidelined him for the entire 2018 season.
Head coach Doug Marrone made the announcement before practice on Saturday.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 17, 2019
First Coast news reporter Ben Murphy got a video of Lee at practice receiving a pass from QB Nick Foles.
— Ben Murphy (@BenMurphyTV) August 17, 2019
Last year, Lee was injured in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Falcons. He was hit by reserve defensive back Damontae Kazee on this play after a reception.
— Kevin Boilard (@247KevinBoilard) August 25, 2018
Lee suffered a torn ACL and went on injured reserve missing the entire season.
Lee became more prominent in Jacksonville’s pass offense in 2017 with 56 catches for 702 yards and three TDs. The Jags are surely going to rely on him this season which could mean he’ll see the field a bit in their third preseason game to get him readjusted to competitive game play.
However, they might not want to risk another potential injury before the season begins. We could see it going either way. We do know that he’ll be a great weapon for Nick Foles to utilize this season.
The return of Lee is coming off the heels of some other good news for the Jags announced earlier this week. Starting left tackle Cam Robinson was also removed from the PUP list on Monday after suffering a torn ACL in Week 2 last season. He has since made enough progress participate in some individual drills and should be ready, along with Lee, for their season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
In other injury-related news, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Leonard Fournette, backed up by Thomas Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.
Jaguars searching for RB depth after second preseason game
With preseason game number two in the books, it’s apparent the Jaguars have real issues with running back depth due to injury. This after veteran Alfred Blue left the first half of the 24 – 10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury and did not return.
Blue carried the ball four times for just five yards has Jacksonville offense once again sputtered behind a makeshift offensive line. Coach Doug Marrone was so concerned about that line situation and their ability to protect/block that starting quarterback Nick Foles and running back Leonard Fournette never saw the field for a single play during Thursday night.
That means that veteran at Thomas Rawls (above Thursday) was called upon to carry the ball a little more, and he did so, seven times for 19 yards including a long run of 11 playing in the first half.
Rawls is a 5th year veteran who had some modest success with the Seahawks, including rushing for 830 yards his rookie year in 2015 with a 5.6 yard per carry average. His numbers tapered off in 2016 – 17 with ankle and foot injuries, as he only played in 21 games in those two years. Rawls was later released and picked up by the Bengals, but injured again last season, and never carried the ball in Cincinnati.
Obviously, the Jaguars are wanting to implement Fournette, as the primary ball carrier, but they will need someone else to spell him on a series or two. Also, Fournette has had durability questions, as he missed parts or all of eight games last year with a hamstring injury.
The Jags were also hoping to bring along Temple rookie running back Ryquell Armstead, but after he carried eight times for 22 yards last week, he suffered a concussion in the preseason opening loss to the Ravens. Armstead hasn’t practiced since, and is still being evaluated with no further update Thursday.
Speaking of updates, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Fournette, backed up by Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.