Off their win in Minnesota last Saturday, the Jaguars return home to take on the Falcons Saturday night.
Here are the story lines that we are watching:
Returns of Fowler and Ramsey
After being suspended a week for their behavior after a post practice altercation almost two weeks ago, defensive end Dante Fowler and cornerback Jalen Ramsey that caused them to miss the Vikings game, they are back with the team.
Fowler specifically is on thin ice, and needs to put the off field stuff behind him. This is especially because, he will be suspended by the NFL for the regular season opener at the Giants. The former Gator and first round pick, Fowler is expected to see some playing time throughout the first three quarters. Because of a shoulder injury, he’s not played a snap in the preseason.
Meanwhile, Ramsey is also back, but may not have to see as much action in this one. He did play briefly in the Saints game two weeks ago. We’ll see how much defensive coordinator Todd Wash wants him out there against the Falcons passing attack.
Top Guard Andrew Norwell expected to debut
The Jags prized free agent, Norwell (above), who signed the most lucrative deal for a guard in NFL history, has been slowed by a calf injury, and held out of the first two preseason games.
He expected to see the field Saturday night. And the Jaguars and their fans want to see him paired with second year left tackle Cam Robinson on the left side of the line. Norwell’s specialty is run blocking and for Leonard Fournette, T.J.Yeldon and company, they are counting on some holes to be opened not just in this game, but obviously, once it all begins for real in September.
The test from Matt Ryan and the Falcons
Traditonally, Atlanta has been explosive. Although without offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in 2017, they struggled to be their usual high flying selves. Yet, Ryan led them, again to a Wildcard berth and even, a playoff win at the Rams.
The Falcons boast one of the top receiving weapons in all of the NFL in Julio Jones. And while Jones was disgruntled and held out briefly this off season, Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff got him some more guaranteed money for 2018 and smoothed it over for now.
Will Ramsey match head to head with Jones? That will be very intriguing to see.
Also, Atlanta has a one-two backfield of DeVonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman that should see some extensive time.
Jacksonville’s top notch defense wants a good test before the opener and they should get it.
Report- Jaguars to hire former Giants coach McAdoo as QB coach
The Jaguars are trying to fix things offensively and especially, at the quarterback position. And, to that end, they have apparently settled on another hire, involving another former NFL head coach to lead their QB room.
ESPN Giants reporter Jordan Raanan reported Tuesday night the Jacksonville is hiring former New York Giants head coach, Ben McAdoo, to be their quarterback coach:
Ben McAdoo is being hired as the Jaguars quarterbacks coach, per source. The former Giants coach is back in after two years out of the NFL. McAdoo has worked well with Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning in his previous stints.
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) February 12, 2020
McAdoo had been under consideration by head coach, Doug Marrone, for the offensive coordinator vacancy that occurred when the team dismissed John DeFilippo after just one season.
Eventually, Marrone decided upon another former NFC East coach, Jay Gruden, from the Redskins, as the offensive coordinator hire. Gruden, the younger brother of Jon Gruden, is known as an innovator in the passing game.
However, the Jags, including GM Dave Caldwell, were obviously impressed with Macado’s previous work with the Giants and Eli Manning. McAdoo began as an offensive coordinator in New York in 2014 – 15. He was then given the head coaching job, basically at the uriging of the two-time Super Bowl champion QB Manning to take over in 2016.
The Giants finished 11 – 5 McAdoo’s first year as the head coach and made the playoffs. However, the relationship with Eli Manning quickly soured and the team fell apart going 2 – 10 in its first 12 games with McAdoo actually benching Manning late in the 2017 season. McAdoo was fired the week after that benching and has been out of the NFL the last two seasons.
McAdoo will replace QB coach Scott Milanovich, who took over as head coach of the CFL Edmonton Eskimos for later this summer.
The Jaguars still have to resolve their quarterback situation, as they have high price free agent signing Nick Foles, who did not perform well in his first season in Jacksonville. And then, they have fan favorite rookie 6th round pick Gardner Minshew, who did play well at times in relief of the injured Foles and when Marrone benched Foles for the final four games of the year.
Jaguars president Lamping continued to defend two London games
With a fan base that is unsure whether or not Jaguars owner Shad Khan really wants to move half his team’s schedule, if not the team entirely to London, team president Mark Lamping took to the national radio airwaves Thursday morning trying to defend this week’s announcement that they will be playing a second home game in the U.K. this fall.
Lamping was a guest on “Sirius XM NFL Radio” morning show with co-host Bob Papa and Charlie Weis and tried to make clear that playing a second home game in London starting this year, is in the best interest of keeping pro football in North Florida:
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) February 6, 2020
Lamping told the hosts that Khan is “taking all the actions he believes are necessary to ensure the future of the NFL in Northeast Florida,” during the conversation. He went on to discuss Khan’s commitment to land development around TIAA Bank Field and how playing this second home game in London will be able to help with revenue.
Still, it’s totally understandable that Jaguars fans who hear those comments and say, “your words are empty and your actions of moving a second game to London’s Wembley Stadium mean everything.”
And, they would not be wrong to say or think that.
A franchise wanting to stay committed and strong in the market/region where they are, isn’t looking to take 1/4 of the regular season home schedule and play games five time zones away.
The point Lamping was trying to make is the same that Khan did earlier in the week: that the Jaguars make easily $500,00 and maybe north of $1 million more money by selling their home games to the NFL to put on abroad vs. playing in a half empty stadium in Jacksonville,.
The real bottom line with respect to attendance/revenue is: the Jaguars have only had one winning season in eight years under Khan’s ownership. In fact, they’ve lost at least 10 games (including the last two years) in those 7 other seasons, and the losing has caused fan apathy, which therefore results in a lack of revenue.
And, most Jaguar fans were unhappy, or just met with that apathy, Khan’s decision last December to not go ahead and wipe the slate clean from coach Doug Marrone and GM Dave Caldwell, who were part of those last two years. This especially, after firing VP of football,, Tom Coughlin, late in the 2019 season.
The belief from many fans, who post online or call Jacksonville sports radio, etc., is that there’s going to be more of the same of losing in 2020. And then, the owner threatening to move more games every year to London, while still being based in Jacksonville.
For now, the NFL is willing to allow Khan to play more games in the U.K., while being based in Jacksonville.
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