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Jacksonville Jaguars

Sorting out off season priorities for Jaguars, Bucs and Dolphins

Jamil King

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Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars had the turnaround of a lifetime going from worst to first in the AFC South and reaching the AFC Title game. The Miami Dolphins went from a wild card team in 2016 to missing out on the playoffs. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went from a promising season to a disastrous 5-11 record.

With the off season upon us, here’s a quick look at needs are there for each team.

The Jags had the best season by far of the three teams and are the most equipped to make it to the Super Bowl of the teams in Florida, so what’s missing?

The Blake Bortles situation seemed to clear it’s self-up with the Jags having the season that he did. The Jags picked up his 5th-year option this time last year in the case he rediscovered his past form. He didn’t replicate his breakout 2015, but he did do a serviceable job but is it worth $19 million? He’s also had wrist surgery, too. It is definitely complicated.

The Jags also could use a tight end with a couple of names in the free agency market like Trey Burton and Jimmy Graham. The Jags could look to the draft at a guy like Mark Andrews to address the spot. The Jags also will look to re-sign number one receiver, Allen Robinson.

The Dolphins lost their quarterback Ryan Tannehill before the season started and the combination of Jay Cutler and Matt Moore didn’t get the job done. The Dolphins will get Tannehill back, if they want or could cut him off the books and look for another quarterback at the draft or hop in on the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes.

Look for them to keep Tannehill and look to lock up and maybe, overpay Jarvis Landry his favorite target. The Phins also need to address the linebacker spot with either Georgia’s Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds from VA Tech. We wrote before on the Phins history of not picking running backs early and could buck the trend as well.

The Bucs came into the fresh off a good season and were one of the “winners” of the offseason adding D-Jax, Chris Baker, and T.J Ward. We all know wins in the offseason don’t bring wins on the record books, and the Bucs found that out quickly and often.

The Bucs need a pass rusher either in the draft like N.C. State’s Bradley Chubb or free agency with a guy like Ezekiel Ansah. The Bucs could also use secondary help with Brent Grimes potentially hitting the market. They may not get a Trumaine Johnson or Malcolm Butler, but they could sign someone else maybe a guy coming off an injury like Vontae Davis or a cheaper alternative.

At seven in the draft, the Bucs are at the mercy of how the QB needy teams draft and what the Colts do. The Bucs could try to trade up and try to grab Saquon Barkley of Penn State and fill a void at RB or trade up to secure Chubb or Minkah Fitzpatrick of Alabama at safety.

At seven if all else fails can select Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson and sure up the O-line.

Free Agency will come first for all three teams.

Time to decide who you can keep and what you still need there first.

Jamil King is a young draft pick working his way up the depth chart on the F.F.I. roster, who enjoys watching and writing about all of Florida’s football teams.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars QB Bortles doesn’t mind you coming over to his place

Florida Football Insiders

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars are “riding high” early on in the season after an impressive win against New England. Everyone is obviously loose, because of the success in 2017, and now, back-to-back wins to start this year have given a sense of confidence to the young squad.

An embattled fifth year quarterback Blake Bortles is on a serious uptick in his own playing career. Off yet another surprising game Sunday, where he threw for 376 yards and four scores in the 31 – 20 victory, Bortles has plenty of reasons to smile.

And, unusually, he has plenty of reasons to welcome total strangers who come to his door

Yes. You read that correctly.

Bortles made mention earlier this week about fans and even teammates coming to his house, unannounced, to “say hello,” maybe catch up on some Netflix and of course, talk about the success of the Jaguars.

Okay, we made the Netflix part up.

Still, for an NFL quarterback to make mention that he’s welcoming people to come see him at his home to talk up the team he plays for is definitely unusual.

Bortles elaborated jokingly to the media Wednesday after the Jaguars practice in preparation for their first meeting this season with the Titans:

“It’s a football town that loves their Jaguars, especially when they are playing well. You know, I don’t have a problem having a conversation with somebody at the door.” When asked whether the fans relate to him, Bortles continued, “I feel as though I relate to the city of Jacksonville and the people who live here….I’ve lived in Florida my whole life. I feel comfortable here. I’ve made a lot of friends here. Made a lot of good relationships. Really enjoyed being here.”

It’s a very juicy twist to the Bortles soap opera from a year ago, when Jags fans were ready to not only come to his front door, but pack all of his belongings and put them on a moving truck to get him out of town.

Yet, Bortles played steady and at times great football in the 2017 season, including Jacksonville’s stunning AFC divisional playoff win at Pittsburgh last year. He also played well in the AFC Championship Game resulting in a narrow lost to New England.

So, it’s understandable that Bortles has got the Jaguars fans filling up on his bandwagon, yet again.

However, one thing is for sure, in the NFL everything is fleeting and directly related to what you’ve done, lately. And with the Titans having swept the Jaguars a year ago, Bortles and his teammates know they have to get that corrected starting with Sunday’s home game at TIAA Bank Field.

Otherwise, any strangers at the Bortles home, who are decked out in black and teal uninvited, may not be as friendly coming up the driveway next week.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Look who tops debut of our FFI “Power Rankings”

Jamil King

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL and college football in full swing, we have had some surprises and shocks.
The whole state of Florida has gone unbeaten in the NFL.

UCF and USF look like they might be the best college teams in the state.

Blueblood FSU has landed flat on their faces, while Miami and Florida each suffered early season defeats.

A few weeks into the season, here are how things are shaping up with our “Power Rankings.”

5. Miami Hurricanes- The Canes came into the season with high expectations after having one of their best seasons in recent memory in 2017. The year didn’t start how they wanted it to with a severe loss to the LSU Tigers, who look like they might challenge the Tide for the SEC West crown. Miami bounced back with wins against Savanah State and Toledo. They will need QB Malik Rosier to improve if they want to win back to back Coastal titles.

4. Miami Dolphins- Surprise number one, so far, are the Dolphins. The Fins are 2-0 for the first time since 2013. The Dolphins have beat the Titans and Jets, so we can’t put them higher than fourth, but the start is impressive. Miami’s defense has been good, and contributions have come from all over, as we wrote Sunday. Ryan Tannehill has been doing a stable job at QB as well. The Dolphins get the 0-2 Raiders this week before two road games against Foe Tom Brady and the also surprising Bengals.

3. UCF Knights- The “National Champions” check in at the number three spot this week. The Knights have cruised to victory twice so far this season. QB Mckenzie Milton looked unstoppable against the UConn Huskies, but wasn’t at his best against South Carolina State. The Knights got unlucky with Hurricanes again this year and lost out on playing an ACC opponent (North Carolina) yet again. UCF will play FAU this week before finally getting to play a power five school in Pittsburgh at home.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Surprise again, with Tampa Bay at number two. Can you feel the “Fitzmagic?” The Bucs sure can, as the 14 year vet has shredded the Saints and Eagles. The Bucs are at 2-0 for the first time since 2010. Todd Monken has done wonders for the offense with the playcalling, as well. With a Monday night date with the Steelers can the Bus keep it going on National Television?

1. Jacksonville Jaguars- The Jags claim the top spot this week coming in at 2-0 as well. The Jags are here partly to last season’s success, but not just that. The defense has done its job so far, but Blake Bortles was on fire vs. the Patriots. If Blake can continue to play the way he did against New England, then this team can become even more dangerous.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Report- Jaguars LT Cam Robinson has torn ACL

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The news is not all good coming out of the Jaguars week two win over the power house Patriots.

Second-year left tackle Cam Robinson suffered a left knee injury in the first quarter and did not return to the game.

And as the NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported first Monday morning, it’s the worst possible news for him:

Tha former second-round pick out of Alabama was anchoring the left side of the line and protecting quarterback Blake Bortles’ blind-side. Jacksonville and coach Doug Marrone were particularly eager to have Robinson develop more with veteran left guard Andrew Norwell, whom the Jags gave a huge contract to in free agency.

Now, Robinson is headed for the IR.

Robinson started all 16 games a year ago, and the first two games this season.

Undrafted four year veteran Josh Wells, took over for Robinson and play the remainder of the game on Sunday.

With the diagnosis of the ACL and Robinson lost for the season, the Jaguars now have to decide whether Wells is the long-term solution, as he’s never started an NFL game before in his career.

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