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Naysayers still point to Blake Bortles holding back Jaguars for 2018

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If the Jaguars are to sustain what they did in 2017, there are a couple of keys: strong defense, and power running featuring Leonard Fournette. However, the one variable, arguably the most important one for the upcoming season, is quarterback play.

And that’s where the concern over Blake Bortles is causing some to already foresee disappointment in North Florida this upcoming season.

Now, the Jags already made their short term decision on the former first round pick shortly after being eliminated in the AFC Championship Game by the Patriots giving Bortles an extension. Still, as we wrote, that deal is heavily front loaded for 2018, and if the Jags want to move on, it won’t be that costly in the future.

And Jacksonville rewarding Bortles hasn’t convinced some from being outspoken, that when “push comes to shove” later in the year, the fifth year QB will be their undoing.

As John Reid wrote in the Florida Times-Union this weekend. Vegas doesn’t have the “warm and fuzzies” for what Bortles can do this year.

Reid talked to oddsmakers from Las Vegas and prominent on line betting sites, and one in particular went right to Bortles, what will likely hold Jacksonville back:

″The Jaguars don’t put up a lot of big points,″ said Pat Morrow, the head oddsmaker for BovadaLV. ″They struggled a lot with passing the ball last year. Bortles was very inconsistent. ″I think for teams that have a good breakout season like that the NFL can be very humbling as well. They will usually punish them with a couple of tougher games if you’re team with that kind of success.″

And another dour opinion Bortles helping the Jags excel came from Jon Avello of Wynn Sports Book in Las Vegas:

″It’s always a competitive division. At one time, it was the Colts and then everybody else. And now it’s everybody else and then the Colts. I’m not a big Bortles fan, but whatever needs to be done he’ll do with his legs to win a football game. They’re so good in other spots that if they don’t make any other mistakes they’ll be OK.″

And this item from USAToday.com last month also calls into question whether Bortles has the skills and ability to help Jacksonville sustain or go further than last year.

The quarterback in any NFL market is the most scrutinized and criticized position. And, fans and observers of the Jags will be no different.

Sure, Jacksonville is expected to win some games, in spite of Bortles not giving them much. Heck, they won their home playoff game in January with the Bills with him dismally unable throw the ball.

Yet, the present day NFL almost makes it mandatory that your quarterback have the ability to carry you in certain situations and the biggest games.

And Bortles has yet to do that.

So, it’s not unfair that some believe he won’t this, or any other year.

Still, VP of Football Tom Coughlin, head coach Doug Marrone and most importantly, offensive coordinator Nate Hackett not only believed in Bortles last year (when they could’ve dropped him), and they were proven right.

Will they still be standing behind him as this season unfolds and concludes?

That’s a whole different story.

 

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Why is Jalen Ramsey Twitter feuding with NFL Network analyst?

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There is no mistaking that Jaguars defensive back Jalen Ramsey is talented, and in 2017 he was named as an All-Pro by his peers and most recenlty in the player polled “Top 100.” So, that’s a validation that doesn’t need a whole lot else.

Yet, an NFL Network analyst and a former NFL defensive back himself, is questioning part of his game.

And, Jalen Ramsey got annoyed. Like, really annoyed.

It all began when, Bucky Brooks, who hosts a successful podcast and appears regularly on the NFL Network questioned another player, DB Casey Hayward of the Chargers, and whether he was a “transcendent talent” in coverage.

The exchanges with Hayward on Twitter Thursday went on for a bit and then, Ramsey jumped in here:

 

And, when Brooks tweeted about Ramsey and why he was drafted two years ago in the top five by Jacksonville, things cranked up on social media:

Next, Ramsey questioned whether Brooks believes Ramsey is only a product of the Jaguars “defensive system” and not of his ability to shutdown the opposing team’s top wideout, one on one:

Brooks referenced former fellow Noles All American and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders as one of those rare “lock down” corners, and of course, that someone that Ramsey, two years removed from FSU, wants to be compared to with his own game.

Brooks then explained further about his own analysis and teams/GMs/personnel executives thinking:

In the end, Ramsey, who is not bashful about expressing his opinions on or off the field, finally gave some props to Brooks for having an informed opinion:

The bottom line is that analysts get paid to analyze. And the good ones are always soliciting the opinions of others, who are actually coaching and working in the NFL Front office.

And further, if Ramsey keeps “locking down” the likes of the Texans DeAndre Hopkins, and the Colts T.Y. Hilton, who he sees twice a year, then he will continue to get the respect he wants. And, he’ll get the second contract dollars that come with it, too.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL Network will show Jaguars preseason game at Minnesota nationally

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a tremendous surprise turnaround season that included a division win and two playoff victories, the Jaguars have everyone in North Florida buzzing for 2018. And the NFL Network is interested enough that it has announced it will be showing their second preseason game, at the Vikings, to the nation on Saturday August 18th.

This information was included in the NFL’s announcement that NFL Network will televise a total of 15 preseason games live, nationally:

The Jaguars will practice against the Vikings in Minnesota on Wednesday and Thursday (8/15-16) prior to playing the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Minnesota, who won the NFC North and made the NFC Championship Game last year, signed arguably the top free agent on the market last March. That’s when they inked former Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins to a massive three year fully guaranteed $84 million deal.

Jacksonville will open the preseason the previous week against the NFC South champion Saints at newly renamed TIAA Bank Field in North Florida.

The good news in addition to the practice time with the Vikes, most of the starters on both sides of the ball will see action into the second quarter, if not halftime of the second preseason game.

This will be good work for QB Blake Bortles and his new assortment of targets like WR Donte Moncrief and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who both signed with the Jags in March.

And for the stout Jaguars defense led by DT Calais Campbell, LB Telvin Smith and CB Jalen Ramsey (all of whom made the Pro Bowl last year) will get a good opening half challenge from Cousins, and receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. It will also be curious to see if second year former FSU star running back Dalvin will be fully recovered from his ACL tear. And, we’ll see if the Vikings want to give him some work or rest him completely in August.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars DT Marcell Dareus involved in two sexual assault allegations

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars traded for defensive tackle Marcell Dareus last year to re-unite him with former head coach Doug Marrone and give him a fresh start on living up to his first round draft pick expectations.

Unfortunately, less than a year later, Dareus is involved in not one, but two sexual assault complaints.

First, it was learned Wednesday afternoon that a woman in Houston, TX, has accused Dareus of having unprotected sex with her in April, while she was unconscious. And she further claims that Dareus gave her a sexually transmitted disease. The unidentified woman filed a civil lawsuit seeking $15,000 in damages.

“News 4” in Jacksonville reporter Chris Parenteau had more on that allegation:

News 4 reported on it’s evening newscast Wednesday that there’s no criminal complaint with Houston Police against Dareus at this time.

The accuser’s attorney did give this statement to the station Wednesday afternoon:

“There are civil and criminal laws in both Florida and Texas that address circumstances where someone knowingly exposes another to sexually transmitted diseases. As of now, we are not aware that any criminal charges have been filed in this matter. Our focus is on protecting our client’s right to recover damages for the severe physical and emotional harm that’s been caused to her.”

The situation is further confused by the accuser in the Houston case admitting to having consensual sex on multiple occasions with Dareus after the alleged incident.

Meanwhile, there is another allegation that came to light on Wednesday, involving Dareus and others, that an alleged sexual assault occurred at a Tampa mansion in January of 2017. In a civil complaint originally filed in December of last year, an unidentified Las Vegas woman says that Dareus and members of his “entourage” sexually assaulted her after a night of partying.

The woman accused Dareus formally in an amendment to her civil suit in Hillsborough County Court in January. Dareus and his lawyers are trying to get the lawsuit dismissed at an August 9th hearing.

Dareus played in 12 total games for the Jaguars after the trade with the Bills. He had one regular season sack, but excelled in the playoffs with sacks in the Pittsburgh win and the narrow loss to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. He had 10 total tackles in the three post season games.

The 28 year old Dareus, a first round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, is scheduled to make $10.2 million dollars this season in Jacksonville.

The Jaguars only comment to the media on Wednesday evening was that they were aware of the allegations and monitoring the situation.

Dareus’ agent had not returned calls or emails seeking comment from them or Dareus on the civil lawsuits and sexual assault allegations.

Obviously, in addition to the seriousness of the allegations, even in civil court, the NFL will likely be investigating the situation soon under the league’s personal conduct policy.

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