On the heels of the Jaguars division title and now back to back playoff wins, there’s a natural increase in positive attention for not only the players, but for coach Doug Marrone and staff, as well.
To that end, with five NFL head coach openings as of Monday afternoon, we at F.F.I. wonder if Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett isn’t about to be part of the coaching carousel.
Specifically, with the Titans firing Mike Mularkey on Monday, even after making the playoffs and winning a Wildcard game, there are now two AFC South teams that are looking for head coaches. And Hackett, who’s been in Jacksonville for the last three seasons, is obviously familiar with both situations in Nashville and Indianapolis.
Oh, and his specialty is working with quarterbacks (like Blake Bortles the last three years) and, both the Titans and the Colts have high profile former first round pick QBs that make those almost ideal situations for an offensive minded coach.
Hackett is the son of former college head coach and NFL offensive coordinator Paul Hackett, and has pedigree, as an offensive coordinator with Marrone previously at Syracuse and then for two years with the Bills (photo). So, he’s obviously got a track record and a lot of experience.
At 39 years of age, he fits the mold of young, up and coming offensive mind being brought in to help the young star. Look no further than what the L.A. Rams did hiring 31 year old Sean McVay last year at this time.
McVay, who had much less experience overall than Hackett does now, quickly installed a scheme that better prepared and suited second year QB (and former #1 overall pick) Jared Goff. Goff had a fantastically improved 2017, where the Rams won the division and led the NFL in scoring.
The tricky part for Hackett or for Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, or any other coach still involved in active playoff games, is they cannot talk to the Titans this week.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network did have this interesting nugget regarding coaching candidates on who are part of the four remaining playoff teams:
By rule: The #Titans only window to interview coaches still in the playoffs is Jan. 28. They can speak on this date with assistants whose teams are still alive, provided they previously interviewed with other clubs.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 15, 2018
It’s not known if Hackett, or his representatives have had any meaningful discussions with any of the teams with openings. Those, by the way, include the Lions (Matt Stafford), the Giants (Eli Manning) and the Cardinals (QB situation up in the air), too.
But with Indy and now Tennessee both open, and the way the Jaguars repeatedly moved the ball and piled up points on the Steelers Sunday, you have to think that he is a name that gets considered.
Jaguars QB Bortles doesn’t mind you coming over to his place
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:
QB Blake Bortles and LB Telvin Smith address the media following practice. https://t.co/144T5Ng7EK
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) September 19, 2018
“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.
Look who tops debut of our FFI “Power Rankings”
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.
Report- Jaguars LT Cam Robinson has torn ACL
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:
Source: #Jaguars LT Cam Robinson suffered a torn ACL. He had the MRI last night. Brutal loss for an up-and-coming player who is now out for the season.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 17, 2018
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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