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Jacksonville Jaguars

After playoff run, what do Jaguars do with Blake Bortles now?

Olivia Stacey



Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars’ remarkable season is in the books, however the debate over Blake Bortles seems to only be beginning.

In May, the Jaguars picked up the fifth-year option on Bortles’ rookie contract. At the time it was a controversial decision. Bortles struggled with inaccuracy, timing and decision-making in his first three seasons. With just 11 wins in three seasons as a starter, many questioned if he had the potential to develop into a franchise quarterback?

As the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, Bortles hadn’t lived up to expectations. Neither had the Jaguars, who were often the laughing stock of the NFL.

But things changed this season. Bortles completed 60.2 percent of his passes for the first time while throwing for 3,687 yards, 21 touchdowns. He also cut down his interceptions to 13.

Bortles’ improvement backed by the Jaguars’ dominant defense, and Leonard Fournette’s running game, led Jacksonville to a 10-6 record and their first playoff appearance since the 2007 season.

Sure, Bortles only threw for 87 yards against the Bills, but he rushed for 88, and won the game with his legs and a fourth-down touchdown pass. The 25-year-old quarterback did enough to keep the Jaguars in it, but the performance left many analysts and fans wondering if he would hold his team back from advancing any farther.

Questions about Bortles future with the team began to resurface.

In their stunning upset against Pittsburgh, Bortles did exactly what he needed to do, leading a pair of critical, fourth-quarter drives to advance his team to an AFC title game. At the end of the day, he completed 14 of 26 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 35 yards on five carries.

Bortles followed that up with a brilliant first half against the Patriots. He finished with impressive stats — a 293-yard game with a touchdown pass and no interceptions against the defensing Super Bowl champions. At one point he completed 12 straight passes and 17 of his first 21 throws overall.

For as well as he played, he wasn’t able to lead a scoring drive on the last four Jacksonville possessions, when the game was on the line.

Once again, it led to a fury of questions. Will it be Bortles or someone else under center for the Jaguars in 2018?

Bortles told the media Monday afternoon in the Jaguars locker room that he wants to be that guy. “I’ve enjoyed my four years here and Jacksonville, and I love to play here as long as they will have me.” Bortles continued, “What they (management) do is out of my control.”

If the team doesn’t offer a better long term deal, Bortles’ salary for 2018 will be approximately $19.1 million (the average of the top 10 highest-paid quarterbacks) for the one year deal.

While Bortles performed well in the AFC Championship Game, critics say he’s still extremely inconsistent, which is why the Jaguars should look at their options. Names like Alex Smith, Tyrod Taylor have been thrown around by some football analysts because of their ability to protect the ball.

However, others feel Bortles has earned the job. After all, the much-improved quarterback won a pair of playoff games. His return would also give the team another opportunity to build off a thrilling 2017 season.

Jacksonville is in a quandary and Bortles is still a bit of an enigma.

Olivia is a multi-faceted sports reporter based in Tampa Bay where she has covered events from the College Football National Championship to the Stanley Cup Final. A native Floridian, she grew up rooting for Tampa’s sports teams, and graduated from East Lake High in Tarpon Springs. Olivia continued her education at the University of Florida where she received her broadcast journalism degree.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Why is Jalen Ramsey Twitter feuding with NFL Network analyst?

Florida Football Insiders



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

Florida Football Insiders



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

Florida Football Insiders



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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