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Patriots Belichick repeatedly praised Jaguars Wednesday

David Butler II- USA Today Sports
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It is a regular-season game, but it does have added significance, even for week 2 as the Patriots are traveling to Jacksonville Sunday.

And you know it must be important to Legendary coach Bill Belichick, because everything that he said on Wednesday was nothing but glowing about the Jaguars.

Belichick often makes his opposition out to be greater than an armored tank division, if you allow him to.

And, as Patriots web reporter Paul Perillo transcribed, he was particularly complimentary of Jags QB Blake Bortles’ wheels.

“He runs well. He’s a big, strong kid. He’s hard to bring down. He can extend plays, so just similar to the quarterbacks we’ve seen, really, the past three weeks, not counting the Giants game, but we’ve seen this three weeks in a row with players that have that type of skill and, yeah, he’s definitely in that category,” Belichick said.

Bortles did have a 41-yard run in last week’s game with the Giants and is much more fleet-of-foot than the average quarterbacks but the Patriots see week in and week out. However it is a little much to put him in a category with someone like Cam Newton or a fully healthy DeShaun Watson.

Then a question turn to Jaguars young defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and Belichick, who was in a better mood than that photo above from Sunday, raved about him:

He’s a really good speed rusher that has more than speed, but he wins with speed and he makes you defend the speed and then he sets up other things off of that,” Belichick said. “That’s definitely his go-to move, is his get-off and his edge rush and his speed. But when you overplay that, he’s quick enough to come underneath. He can turn speed into power and he can counter, so he’s certainly got enough to be a problem in a lot of ways.

And, you got the feeling that was only begrudgingly mentioning DB Jalen Ramsey, because unlike the previous answers, he kept it “short and sweet” about Jacksonville’s lockdown corner:

The Jags know they came very close to upsetting the Patriots and making the Super Bowl. However, close doesn’t cut it, and New England with hall-of-famer Tom Brady found a way in January.

And the last thing New England, and their top general are going to do is, give extra motivation to the young an up-and-coming Jaguars this week.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Report- Jaguars DB Jalen Ramsey demanding trade

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The continued soap opera of Jaguars defensive back Jalen Ramsey had another chapter on Sunday and now, the Pro Bowl defensive back has apparently demanded a trade.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport says that Ramsey’s agent contacted the club Sunday night after the team’s latest loss, 13 – 12 to the Houston Texans, wanting his client to be moved:

The latest dust-up involving the former Florida State first round pick and the club happened on the sidelines in the first quarter of the game. That’s when Ramsey was apparently upset the coach Doug Marrone did not challenge a completion to Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on a key third-down with Ramsey covering him.

Television replays showed the ball may very well have been on the ground and the pass incomplete. Marrone and Ramsey had to be separated, not once but twice, after Marrone confronted him on the bench next to teammates:

Then, Ramsey came back to argue with Marrone, while he was standing near midfield resuming his coaching duties. And, he had to be walked back to the bench area by an assistant coach.

The ongoing saga included reports last season that the Jaguars have been shopping Ramsey themselves for possible premium draft picks during a dismal 5 – 11 finish.

Ramsey was also suspended for a week of training camp a year ago for conduct detrimental to the team after he screamed at Jaguars beat reporter Philip Heilman. Heilman was filming an altercation between teammates Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler after a training camp practice.

Ramsey is making $3.6 million for this season, earlier in April the Jags picked up Ramsey’s $13.7 million option for next season.

The Jaguars send a message to their locker room last October when they dealt Fowler, former number 1 pick defensive end out of Florida to the L.A. Rams. So, it is not too far-fetched to think that VP of Football Tom Coughlin and Marrone would do the same with Ramsey soon.

However it’s not likely that something like that would happen this week, as the Jaguars are hosting the Tennessee Titans in the Thursday night game at TIAA Bank Field.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Credit Jaguars Doug Marrone for gambling on two point play

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

All too often, coaches deserve criticism for being way too conservative or not being willing to take any chances. So, when a coach does what Doug Marrone did in the final :30 Sunday in Houston, we say “raise a glass for him.”

To set the scene: the Jaguars had played a pretty subpar offensive game for much of the day behind rookie backup quarterback Gardner Minshew. However, Minshew rallied the team in the final two minutes down 13 – 6 to get into scoring range. This included Minshew scrambling on his own and running 18 yards down to the Houston at 13-yard-line with :52 left.

Then with :30 left, Minshew found second-year receiver D.J. Chark alone in the back of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown to pull Jacksonville within one point.

And that’s when Marrone, the Jags third-year head coach, decided to gamble on trying to win the game, right then.

Marrone called for a two-point play, and it was briefly halted when Texans coach Bill O’Brien called time out. Still, after the brief break and time to think about it, Marrone stuck with his plan and did not try to tie the game with a Josh Lambo extra point.

Instead, out of the shotgun formation Minshew handed inside to power back Leonard Fournette, who was stopped by a Texans double team tackle led by safety Justin Reid, just short of the goal line.

That stop preserved the win for Houston and dropped the Jags 0-2.

After the game was done, Marrone met with the media and almost immediately was asked about the risk he took going for the two-point conversion, especially on a road. Marone answered that he had been contemplating going for two the entire time the Jags were driving inside the final two minutes.

As for Fournette, he said postgame that he felt like he had reached the ball across the goal line, but briefly, to give Jacksonville a 14 – 13 lead. Alas, the officials didn’t see it and replays couldn’t clearly show him getting the ball across.

No matter that goes as a loss, Marrone was trying to win a game that his team had no business being in.

This is especially, with the loss of QB Nick Foles to a broken clavicle last week, and then, not playing the game with the likes of DE Yannick Ngakoue, DB A.J. Bouye, WR Marqise Lee and LT Cam Robinson, who are all injured and still trying to recover.

So, shorthanded, and off a season that fell apart at 5-11 last year, Marrone sent the message to his team: “I want to win, right now.”

But. the Texans stopped it.

Yes, you can question the play call/formation to hand Fournette the ball.

However, you cannot argue with a coach showing guts to go for victory, when his team needs a spark.

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