The Jacksonville Jaguars have renewed excitement after a good 2019 NFL draft weekend. However, they once again are dealing with questions involving one of their young star players. And, dealing with whether or not that player is part of a growing list of disgruntled players in North Florida.
Linebacker Telvin Smith, one of Jacksonville’s defensive leaders during their playoff run of 2017, has been a no-show during voluntary workouts over the last couple of weeks. And, the team’s front office continues to say that they have not had any dialogue with him. And further, that they don’t want to talk about the situation.
Dave Caldwell on if he expects LB Telvin Smith to be a part of the team in 2019: “We’ll see. I don’t want to get into hypotheticals.” #Jaguars
— Phillip Heilman (@phillip_heilman) April 27, 2019
Jacksonville invested $45 million in a contract extension in 2017 for the former fifth round pick out of Florida State. However, they also reworked Smith’s deal a year ago by giving him $8 million in the form of a roster bonus, but lowering his cap number and thus, freeing up cap space for 2018.
Also, half ($5 million) of Smith’s salary for 2019 was guaranteed last month.
Could Smith now be unhappy, because he thinks the team might be looking to replace/release him? Seems, crazy, when you consider that they have given him a huge bonus and he’s still in the prime of his career.
Smith led the Jaguars with 134 tackles, four of them for losses with a sack and two interceptions a year ago. He is vital to the middle of defensive coordinator Todd Wash’s defense.
Yet, coach Doug Marrone met with RB Leonard Fournette recently at the Jaguars facility, and seemed to clear the air with the talented third year back. This despite Fournette causing problems off the field, including his arrest earlier this month on traffic violations.. Marrone also told the media that while Pro Bowl DB Jalen Ramsey is staying away, again, from voluntary off season work, that he has also spoken to Ramsey.
Yet, when the question was asked about communication with Smith for the same? The answer was, “none.”
Finally, the Jags didn’t draft an inside linebacker this weekend in Nashville. So, that’s not part of the discussion, either.
There is one person who can clear it up and quickly, if there truly isn’t a problem, and he’s just working out on his own?
That’s Telvin Smith.
Jags WR Marqise Lee returns to practice
After losing veteran Alfred Blue in the first half of the 24–10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury, the Jaguars are looking for offensive depth. In some fortunate news, WR Marqise Lee is off of the PUP list and has begun practicing today, roughly one year after suffering from knee damage that sidelined him for the entire 2018 season.
Head coach Doug Marrone made the announcement before practice on Saturday.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 17, 2019
First Coast news reporter Ben Murphy got a video of Lee at practice receiving a pass from QB Nick Foles.
— Ben Murphy (@BenMurphyTV) August 17, 2019
Last year, Lee was injured in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Falcons. He was hit by reserve defensive back Damontae Kazee on this play after a reception.
— Kevin Boilard (@247KevinBoilard) August 25, 2018
Lee suffered a torn ACL and went on injured reserve missing the entire season.
Lee became more prominent in Jacksonville’s pass offense in 2017 with 56 catches for 702 yards and three TDs. The Jags are surely going to rely on him this season which could mean he’ll see the field a bit in their third preseason game to get him readjusted to competitive game play.
However, they might not want to risk another potential injury before the season begins. We could see it going either way. We do know that he’ll be a great weapon for Nick Foles to utilize this season.
The return of Lee is coming off the heels of some other good news for the Jags announced earlier this week. Starting left tackle Cam Robinson was also removed from the PUP list on Monday after suffering a torn ACL in Week 2 last season. He has since made enough progress participate in some individual drills and should be ready, along with Lee, for their season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
In other injury-related news, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Leonard Fournette, backed up by Thomas Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.
Jaguars searching for RB depth after second preseason game
With preseason game number two in the books, it’s apparent the Jaguars have real issues with running back depth due to injury. This after veteran Alfred Blue left the first half of the 24 – 10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury and did not return.
Blue carried the ball four times for just five yards has Jacksonville offense once again sputtered behind a makeshift offensive line. Coach Doug Marrone was so concerned about that line situation and their ability to protect/block that starting quarterback Nick Foles and running back Leonard Fournette never saw the field for a single play during Thursday night.
That means that veteran at Thomas Rawls (above Thursday) was called upon to carry the ball a little more, and he did so, seven times for 19 yards including a long run of 11 playing in the first half.
Rawls is a 5th year veteran who had some modest success with the Seahawks, including rushing for 830 yards his rookie year in 2015 with a 5.6 yard per carry average. His numbers tapered off in 2016 – 17 with ankle and foot injuries, as he only played in 21 games in those two years. Rawls was later released and picked up by the Bengals, but injured again last season, and never carried the ball in Cincinnati.
Obviously, the Jaguars are wanting to implement Fournette, as the primary ball carrier, but they will need someone else to spell him on a series or two. Also, Fournette has had durability questions, as he missed parts or all of eight games last year with a hamstring injury.
The Jags were also hoping to bring along Temple rookie running back Ryquell Armstead, but after he carried eight times for 22 yards last week, he suffered a concussion in the preseason opening loss to the Ravens. Armstead hasn’t practiced since, and is still being evaluated with no further update Thursday.
Speaking of updates, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Fournette, backed up by Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.