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Jacksonville Jaguars

USA Today season NFL picks likes Jaguars but not other state teams

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

With a few NFL training camps opening up this past weekend and more coming later this week, including in North Florida, West Central Florida and South Florida, the predictions are already rolling in on what the Bucs, the Dolphins and the Jaguars will do this season. And, a writer at USA Today, who has been projecting the upcoming seasons for several years believes in one of the state of Florida’s teams, but not the other two.

Football staff writer Nate Davis published Monday morning the USA Today 2019 NFL record projections by picking all 256 regular-season games and then the 11 postseason games for this year:

Davis really likes the Jacksonville Jaguars chances for bouncing back this season and wrote,

“Should be fascinating to see if they get the Super Bowl MVP Philly version of new QB Nick Foles (above) or the sub-Bortles St. Louis version from 2015, the last time “Saint Nick” started for more than half a season. His reunion with new OC (and former Eagles assistant) John DeFilippo should help. But will Foles get sufficient help from what projects as a limited suite of aerial weapons? And will a defense that’s been beset by distractions reach its vast potential?”

He ends up having Jacksonville with a 10 and 6 record and making the postseason as a Wild-card team. The Jags were the AFC South champs and hosted a playoff game two years ago. This season Davis has them losing out on a tiebreaker to the Indianapolis Colts for the South title.

Davis does not believe as much in the Miami Dolphins. Much like everyone else, he has the Dolphins near the bottom of the NFL due to a lack of quality personnel and a new coaching staff,

A talent-strapped team with a rookie head coach (Brian Flores) and a new QB1 (whether it’s Ryan Fitzpatrick or Josh Rosen … and both will likely get opportunities to start) opens against four straight 2018 playoff squads before hitting the bye. Good chance this campaign is effectively over before it has chance to get off the ground.

Davis has the Fins with only three wins for this season and believes, as most everyone else does, that the Patriots will dominate the East, yet again with an 11-5 record.

Finally, for our state NFL teams Davis is also not a believer in Bruce Arians taking over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as he feels there are still too many holes for the Bucs to overcome,

They had the NFL’s No. 1 passing offense in 2018 but couldn’t run the ball. As good a coach as Bruce Arians is, he’s got a major challenge trying to improve on that formula in such a brutal division while likely getting this one shot at salvaging Jameis Winston or else facing a major reboot in 2020.

A 5-11 finish would match each of the last two seasons and would be Tampa Bay’s 10th losing season in the last 12, if it happens.

As Davis points out the Bucs may very well play in the most consistently tough division in footbal (NFC South) and he interestingly has the Falcons bouncing back to win it at 11 – 5 with the Saints getting a Wild card at 10 – 6.

Davis plays all the way out in the postseason to a surprising AFC pick, the L.A. Chargers, versus the Philadelphia Eagles for the Super Bowl in February in Miami.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jags WR Marqise Lee returns to practice

Abbey Radeka

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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.

First Coast news reporter Ben Murphy got a video of Lee at practice receiving a pass from QB Nick Foles.

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.

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.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars searching for RB depth after second preseason game

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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