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Patriots Belichick repeatedly praised Jaguars Wednesday

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David Butler II- USA Today Sports

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

Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of the key free-agent questions for the Jaguars continues to be whether or not they’re going to allow their best pass rusher, Yannick Ngakoue, to test the free-agent market coming up? And, once again, the player may be giving a clue that he’s going to do just that.

Ngakoue tweeted Wednesday morning the following phrase, which seems to indicate, yet again, that he will be playing somewhere else in 2020:

This goes along with something that we wrote earlier in January. That’s when just a couple of days after the season Ngakoue posted essentially a goodbye message to Jaguar fans. This came on the heels of him having held out for a new contract for the first few days of training camp last August, but not receiving a new deal during the season, etc.

Ngakoue, whose 37.5 career sacks are the most by a Jaguars player after 63 career games, is sure to be a sought-after player from many different teams. GM Dave Caldwell said at the end of the season when asked about re-sgning his star pass rusher, “He is a tremendous player and even a better person. How he handled his business this year was tremendous. But, I would say that’s priority No. 1, to make sure he comes back to Jacksonville. Hopefully, we can get that done. ″

It’s also worth noting that at Tuesday’s NFL Scouting Combine at media availability in Indianapolis, coach Doug Marrone repeated that he wants Ngakoue to remain in Jaguars teal and white:

However, it remains to be seen if Marrone and Caldwell are willing to “pony up” huge money for him or even potentially,  put the franchise tag on him before free agency begins next month?

Ngakoue figures to want a contract close to what the top ends are getting paid right now. Demarcus Lawrence and Frank Clark both signed five-year, over $100 million deals in 2019 and received guaranteed money that exceeded $62 million. That is massive for Jacksonville.

If the Jags opt for the “franchise tag,” then the talented end will be making around $19 million dollars, which is the current average of the top five players at his position. The Jaguars could also put the tag on him and then work on a longer term, salary cap friendly, deal that would replace the tag later in the off season.

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Jaguars confirm they are declining option on DT Dareus

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

At Tuesday’s media session at the NFL Scouting Combine, Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell made official what had been rumored for the last couple of days regarding defensive tackle Marcell Dareus: he will not be brought back for a fourth season in Jacksonville.

Caldwell was a specifically asked about Dareus’ status and gave a quick answer is part of his Q&A session:

Dareus only played briefly in 2019, as he suffered a core muscle injury that sidelined him after only six games and he was placed on injured reserve. The former number one pick of the Buffalo Bills had played for coach Doug Marrone for a couple of seasons in Western New York.

Marrone and Caldwell traded for Dareus during the 2017 season and he helped them with their rise to the AFC South title and two playoff wins. This included Darius registering two sacks and four other tackles-for-loss in the Jaguars three playoff games that year.

Dareus made the Pro Bowl twice in Buffalo in 2013-14.

However, he has not lived up to his hefty contract that was reworked Jacksonville last February. Last season, Dareus made over $8 million dollars and the team would have been on the hook for $20 million this year had they picked up the option. That obviously wasn’t going to happen.

Dareus also has had legal troubles off the field, including a civil suit against him in Tampa for alleged sexual misconduct. As we wrote previously, a woman alleged that Dareus had sexually assaulted her in January of 2018 at a North Tampa Florida home, while Dareus was in town for the Alabama-Clemson College Football Playoff Championship Game.

However, that suit filed in Hillsborough County court was “dismissed with prejudice” last April, which means it cannot be re-filed.

Dareus, if healthy after the core muscle injury rehab, may have some value as a defensive tackle on the free agent market.

As for the Jaguars, they have former #1 pick defensive tackle Taven Bryan to play more in the middle and are trying to decide if free agent-to-be, DE Yannick Ngakoue, can be afforded for their 2020 salary cap?

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