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Source- Jaguars contemplating sitting RB Fournette through bye week

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By our headline alone, if you are a fan of the Jaguars and/or a fantasy owner of his, you may not want to read more on the injured hamstring and status of Leonard Fournette.

Then again, of course you do.

With Jags coach Doug Marrone already Wednesday ruling Fournette out again early in the week prior to Sunday’s game with the Cowboys, there is obviously concern about the re-injury of his right hamstring.

Fournette suffered the re-injury at some point in the second half after carrying the ball 10 times for 30 yards in the Jets home game two weeks ago.

Fournette hurt the hammy originally in week one at the Giants. And, the Jaguars had taken the risk of putting him back in the lineup after sitting him for the Patriots and Titans games, the previous two weeks. This as opposed to, waiting at least one more week to let it heal and then have him try to play in Kansas City last week.

So, that backfired on Jacksonville, and has cost Fournette at least two more games (Chiefs last week and now, Cowboys this week).

And we say “at least,” because we have a source that we’ll describe as “having knowledge of the Jaguars thinking” that says to us: because of the re-injury to the hamstring after only two games rest last time, and an upcoming trip to London to play the Eagles followed by a bye week, the Jags may consider sitting their top running back through the end of October.

Now, the source didn’t say this was definitive, because it’s gong to be contingent on Fournette being evaluated mid-next week, prior to the game with the Texans. However, if he’s not significantly better, then Fournette will likely be inactive for that game, as well.

Then becomes the question: would you fly him (along with the team) all the way to London for the game with the Eagles in hopes that he’s able to practice and play at Wembley Stadium vs. sitting Fournette for a fourth straight game, and getting the bye week?

Then, you would have Fournette’s hamstring on five weeks rest and rehab for the November 11th division road game at Indianapolis and beyond.

Again, we get that it’s drastic to think he would miss four straight games and six of seven total, but if we are talking possibly re-aggravation by playing against Houston or in London, then it’s basically a completely lost season at that point.

Another factor is: how well does newly signed veteran RB Jamaal Charles do starting with the this week and beyond in helping T.J. Yeldon share the load and possible success?

If that tandem does well, and the Jags beat the Cowboys, there’s less pressure to rush Fournette back, too.

Again, next week will be critical, but don’t be surprised is the Jaguars go “overly cautious” to have a fully healthy Fournette for November and December.

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Zach Lauer
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Jacksonville Jaguars

If Jaguars are going with QB Cody Kessler, they better stick with him

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

There’s not much going right right now in Jacksonville. It’s obvious that the offense is sinking to the bottom of the sea like an anvil. However, after a third straight loss and four out of five, where the Jaguars offense has gone nowhere, it may very well be time for starting quarterback Blake Bortles to take a seat.

Oh, he already took a seat in the second half of Sunday’s latest loss 20 – 7 to the Texans. And rightfully so, as Bortles was putrid again throwing just 6 – 12 for 61 yards and lost two fumbles. And, the sputtering Jaguar offense was shut out for the third consecutive week in the first half.

Coach Doug Marrone bluntly declared the quarterback position “open” in his post game press conference.

So, it’s a week of uncertainty for the Jaguars, as they get ready to head to London to play the Eagles.

But, as much as it seems like the logical, if not even the “no risk thing to do,” to start Cody Kessler next Sunday, here’s a quick word of caution:

Be ready to stick with it.

The reason?

The Jaguars season is teetering on the verge of becoming completely lost, and currently, it appears that it only needs only “one final straw to break its back.”

Sure Kessler could succeed, but he could have the same or even worse results this week at Wembley. But, if Marrone is not willing to stick with him, Jaguar locker room that already had players screaming at each other Sunday, as the media came in, may be done in 2018 once and for all.

Kessler does have six career starts for Clevleand in the 2016 season. And maybe the “spark” that we briefly saw on a TD drive in the second half will turn into something more.

And look. It’s no secret that Bortles existence as the Jags quarterback was in serious Jeopardy last August, but he played solidly, if at times not great, football during what turned out to be a magical turnaround 2017 season.

And Bortles did respond well after a shaky first postseason victory over Buffalo to play brilliantly in Pittsburgh in the upset of the Steelers. And then, he played good enough football to have the Jags in position to win the AFC Championship game at New England the following week.

Heck, the Jaguars quickly gave him a contract extension with a bunch of guaranteed money for this season, because of that January performance.

However, right now, it doesn’t seem like Bortles will be around for 2019, much less longer term.

So if you’re now saying he’s not good enough to help you get out of this tailspin against Philly and beyond, you’re going to have to stay committed to Kessler trying to make it work.

That’s because if  you go to Kessler, but end up benching him after one game and going back to Bortles, Marrone will be signaling that they don’t have much of a clue and much belief in anyone to save the situation.

That’s worse than giving Bortles one more shot at this point.

It’s a shot late August 2017 that worked for Bortles and the Jags.

It’s the shot Kessler should get, in full, to turn it around, this year.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Gameday- Jaguars try to bounce back at home against hot Texans

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Jaguars (3-3) at Texans (3-3)

When: Sunday  1 p.m.

Where: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville

Spread: Jaguars by 4 points (Courtesy of Vegasinsider.com)

What to watch:

Can the Jaguars run?

Another week and more uncertainty about who and how the Jaguars will get their run game going. It was a dismal offensive showing in Dallas and a 40 – 7 loss.

As you probably know by now, Leonard Fournette is still inactive and out for another game with his injured hamstring. This is the fifth time in six games that he is not available for offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and the attack.

Reserve running back T.J. Yeldon has filled in solidly but not spectacularly. Veteran Jamaal Charles was signed two weeks ago but carried just five times for five yards in the lost to the Cowboys.The Jaguars did trade for Cleveland running back Carlos Hyde on Friday giving up a mid-round pick in next year’s draft. Hyde will not be available to help them in this match-up, but perhaps in the future.

The Jaguars have to try to get some kind of run game going to help set up the play action of quarterback Blake Bortles.

Stopping DeShaun Watson

In the Jaguars season sweep of the Texans in 2017, they had the good fortune of not playing the Texans top weapon on offense, quarterback DeShaun Watson (above) either time. Watson had not yet taken over the starting role in the opening game, when Jacksonville blew Houston out. He then was injured for the season with a torn ACL, when the second meeting came around later in the year.

Watson has now helped lead the Texans to three consecutive victories and is still a threat with both his arm and his wheels. It will be important for the Jaguars front seven to keep him not only in the pocket but also from making great runs on broken plays.

Get the Swagger back

There is no doubt that the good will and momentum of a great 2017 is gone. The Chiefs and the Cowboys pounded it out of the Jaguars the last two games.

Jacksonville is back at home, and they have to give the home fans something to cheer about early and often in this game. Whether it is a big hit defensively, a big play on offense or both, the Jags have to get something going to get out of their funk.

The Texans have won three straight, have other play-makers besides Watson like J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins and they aren’t just going to roll over.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars acquired RB Carlos Hyde from Browns Friday

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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Desperate to kick-start their offense, the Jaguars continue to overhaul their banged-up backfield. On Friday, Jacksonville acquired running back Carlos Hyde from the Cleveland Browns.

Hyde, a former second-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers, had signed with the Browns in March on a three year $15.2 million deal. And, he had modest success in Cleveland’s first six games, with his best game coming in week 3 against the Jets where he ran for 98 yards on 23 carries and scored two touchdowns.

The Jaguars are parting with a fifth round draft pick in return for the former Ohio State Buckeyes star to give them a “shot in the arm” offensively.

We have well-documented that the Jaguars run game is undermanned and underwhelming. With Leonard Fournette still battling an injured hamstring and already ruled out for Sunday- meaning he will miss his fifth game in the last six, Coach Doug Marrone and staff are looking for answers on the ground.

A week ago in Dallas T.J. Yeldon had 8 carries for 41 yards and newly-acquired Jamaal Charles carried five times for just 5 yards. Yeldon has been limited in practice with a nagging ankle injury, and Charles is approaching 32 years of age and there is still concerned about how much he has left to offer.

With Hyde being acquired on Friday afternoon, he will be first be able to be active and able to help next week, when the Jaguars head to London to play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Hyde is slated to make $5.5 million dollars on this year’s cap, including the prorated 3.5 million signing bonus in the deal he did with Cleveland. The Jaguars are now going to be responsible for a little more than half of that money with 10 games to go in the regular season.

As for their offense, it has registered just 21 points in the last two games- both blowout losses to the Chiefs and the Cowboys. And, off of three losses in four games, if the Jaguars don’t get something going quickly, it may not matter which running back is in the backfield for the stretch run.

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