Bortles on Jags: ‘I think everything you need to win a Super Bowl in this league is in that locker room’

On Wednesday, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone announced that QB Blake Bortles will be the starter in the season finale against the Texans on Sunday.

Bortles, who replaced an ineffective Cody Kessler last Sunday in the Jaguars’ win over the Dolphins, started the first 11 games for the team before losing his job to Kessler back in November.

For the 26-year-old Bortles, who signed a three-year extension last offseason, this could be his last game with the Jaguars.

“Obviously, I am here right now, and I have one more chance, one more opportunity to play this week and finish this year out and then they are in control of what happens for me next,” Bortles said on Wednesday. “Whatever happens, I will be ready.”

The 2018 season was supposed to be the year the Jaguars took that next step after losing to the Patriots in the AFC title game last season. It started well at 3-1, but then they went on an seven-game losing streak, and the season was pretty much over. However, even though the team struggled this year, Bortles believes there is enough talent in Jacksonville to win a Super Bowl.

“I think everything you need to be a successful team and win a Super Bowl in this league is in that locker room,” Bortles said. “Obviously with the coaching changes made, there is some stuff there to figure out, which is up to them. I think everything you need to be successful in this league is in this locker room, so it feels like we are a lot closer to being good than we are having to rebuild.”

It should be interesting to see what happens with Bortles in 2019. He is under contract with the team, but Jacksonville may have to make a change at the quarterback position. Whether that is through the draft or free agency, the Jaguars probably need to find an upgrade at the QB position. We’ll see where this team will go next, but at this point,  there is not enough talent to win a Super Bowl in Jacksonville.

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Jags QB Kessler: ‘Hoping to get the guys to rally around me and turn this thing around’

On Monday, the Jacksonville Jaguars fired their offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Later in that same day, the team named backup QB Cody Kessler the starter for their upcoming game against the Colts on Sunday. The 25-year-old Kessler will replace Blake Bortles, who has struggled mightily this season. In 11 games, Bortles has thrown only 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Even though Bortles lost his job, he has been supportive, according to Kessler.

“Blake has been great. We have already talked a couple times and even in the meetings and stuff he has been in there helping me out,” Kessler said. “I told him if there is anything I miss or something that might be better done this way or something you have seen before, just let me know. He was the same way back. He said if there are any questions you have or anything I am right here, and I am going to help you out. We have really built a relationship over the time I have been here. There is really no one else I would like to have in the quarterback room helping me out as well.”

For Kessler, this is an opportunity to try to jumpstart the 3-8 Jaguars, who are on a seven-game losing streak, and a chance to jumpstart his career.

“As a competitor, I am excited. It is tough to get opportunities in this league,” Kessler said on Wednesday. “To have one, I am very excited. We have had a close quarterback room, so when things happen like that it is part of the business, but at the same time it is a little rough. Just moving forward on this side. It is a great opportunity for me this week. Hoping to get the guys to rally around me and turn this thing around. I am really looking forward to it.”

Kessler, who is 0-8 as a starter, did replace an ineffective Bortles in Week 7 against the Texans, but the third-year quarterback has not started a game since 2016 when he was a rookie with the Browns.  At that time, the Browns were struggling like the Jaguars are right now; something Kessler noted today.

“In Cleveland, that was a while back; it wasn’t the greatest situation there. There was a lot of adversity,” Kessler explained. “A lot of tough things. It is kind of the same thing here right now, 3-8 and a lot of frustration. At the same time, I have always believed it is a new week, a new opportunity.  Getting these guys to really play for me is something that I really want to prove this week and show them I am ready to go. I don’t really care about the record. I am just going out there [with this] as an opportunity. I want to go out there and ball and just have some fun.”

With their playoffs chances pretty much done, the Jaguars are playing for pride. Sometimes changes will rejuvenate a team, and maybe the changes at offensive coordinator and quarterback will do just that for Jacksonville. We’ll find out on Sunday against the Colts.

Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone discusses quarterback situation

Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone decided to bench QB Blake Bortles in the third quarter in the Jaguars’ 20-7 loss to Houston on Sunday. Cody Kessler replaced Bortles and led the Jaguars on one scoring driving.

The Jaguars are currently on a three-game losing streak after starting the season 3-1. In those three games, Bortles has thrown only two touchdowns and was intercepted five times. Last week against the Texans, Bortles lost two fumbles.

On Monday, Marrone named Bortles the starter for Week 8 as the Jaguars prepare to travel to London to battle the Philadelphia Eagles.

Today, Marrone addressed the quarterback situation in Jacksonville:

(On why he chose Bortles)

“I met with both quarterbacks after [my podium session Monday].I don’t know what time, but it was in the afternoon. I made a decision to go with Blake [Bortles] [as the starter] and like I said, looking at his leadership, looking at a lot of things that he can do and we’re excited about that and going. I think we have a good understanding of what needs to be done. But in the same sense, it’s hard for me as a coach to control the message of what’s going on in the outside. It’s not just at that one position, it’s everyone.”

(On what was the tone of the conversation he had with Blake Bortles on Monday)

“I’ve always said that I’m going to keep the conversations with the players private, but it was a good conversation. I think most of my conversations with the players are matter-of-fact. It’s a lot easier to do it when the emotion of how we feel about what’s going on is gone. And that’s everyone, including myself. Make no mistake – and you realize this – there is frustration. If everyone comes out one time and just blasts everything then that’s kind of chaotic when you do it. When you think about it and you do it, you start every conversation and you have to believe this because it is a team sport … You start everything where the first thing you do is you look yourself in the mirror and you say, ‘Look, I have to do a better job.’ I think when that happens, you open it up and it goes. I think I talked to the players – I have to do a better job. We all have to do a better job. We’re not doing what we need to be doing and it’s all of our responsibility. I know obviously ultimately in this room, it falls on me.”

(On what gives him confidence Blake Bortles will play better)

“Because I’ve seen it before. I think I’ve seen it before. It’s going to go a lot back to that position [QB] a lot of times, but I don’t want anyone to lose sight of what I said after the game, meaning that I made that move because it’s the only real move you can get to grab attention and grab focus. The problem that you have when you make that decision as a coach? Make no mistake about it, I did it for that reason so I can evaluate things better and get a better feel, but when that decision is made and you tell people about that decision, the next thing it’s going to do from a standpoint of everything outside of the building is it’s going to open everything up. It’s going to put the focus on the quarterback, and that’s where I have to do a good job of everyone here being like, ‘OK, is that a part of it?’ Sure, we need better play. But the bigger picture is that we all need to play better. That’s what I have always tried to communicate to the team, and I think that’s hard to do from a standpoint of when you get out here publicly. It’s a better story when it’s the quarterback stuff. But that’s the nature of the business, I get it. I don’t have any issues with that.”

(On reports that Cody Kessler will be getting first team reps this week)

“I’m going to go back to what I said on Monday. I sat here, looked you guys all in the eye, said that whoever the quarterback was at that time is going to take starter reps. I believed in that my whole entire life. I answered the question on Monday. I will answer it again – Yes, Blake will take all the starter reps. Does that mean Cody doesn’t take any reps? He will take the normal reps that he did the last six weeks, seven weeks.”

(On if the QB backup takes any reps with the first team offense)

“Last week we got him [Kessler] a little bit, a couple of second team guys, two to three. The only time I really adjust reps is for injuries. When I put someone in there, I put them in there with the belief that they are going to play. The only time I ever look at someone where they might be on a short-term period is when the starter is injured and now the starter is going to come back and play. That’s the only time I look at things that way. But as far as everybody that’s on the field, I put them in there with the belief that they’re going to be able to get the job done and continue it and turn this thing in the right direction and keep playing well and win football games.”

Jags DE Calais Campbell: ‘I still believe in Blake(Bortles)’

Jaguars QB Blake Bortles has been struggling the past few weeks, and today Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone had to do something about it. With the Jaguars trailing 20-0 in the third quarter, and with Bortles(9-12, 61 yards) struggling, Marrone decided to go with backup QB Cody Kessler.

“I just literally did it to try to get a d*** spark from this football team,” Marrone said after the game. Kessler(21/30, 156 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) did lead Jacksonville on one scoring drive, but it was not enough as the Jaguars were beaten soundly by the Texans 20-7 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville on Sunday.

The Jaguars(3-4) have lost three in a row after starting the season at 3-1, and according to Marrone, Bortles was not very happy about the move.

“He was pissed, I mean he was pissed. You know? That’s good,” Marrone said after the game. “He should be pissed. He’s pissed at me, and he should be. I have no problems with that.  If it was any other way, that would be a problem.”

When asked if Bortles was still the starter, Marrone had this to say.

“It’s open,” Marrone said. “Who’s the starter at right tackle?  Who’s the starter at center?  Who’s the starter at receiver? Who’s the starter?  Everything is open. We’ve lost three straight games, and we can’t stop shooting ourselves in the foot for lack of a better expression. “

While some fans and media may not believe Bortles is the guy to take this team forward, Jaguars DE Calais Campbell still has faith in him.

“I still believe in Blake.  I understand Coach’s decision, and I respect it,” Campbell said after the game.  “At the same time, I believe in Blake. He’s just got to take care of the ball.  It’s as simple as that. Cody came in and played a great ball game.  I wish we could have won the game and it would have been incredible. But he did bring a little spark.  I have seen that in practice, and I was confident in him.”

It does not get any easier for the Jaguars as travel to London to battle the world champion Philadelphia Eagles, who lost a tough one to Carolina on Sunday.

Fortunately for Jacksonville, the division is still within reach, but Bortles/Kessler and the defense have to play much better if they want to get back to the playoffs this season.

Jags’ Bortles on Mahomes: ‘I know our defense is fired up to play against him’

The talk of the NFL has been the play of Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, who has thrown 14 touchdowns with no interceptions. and more importantly, Mahomes and the Chiefs are 4-0, which puts them atop of the AFC West.

This Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars(3-1) at Arrowhead should be another huge challenge for Mahomes and the Chiefs, who were able to beat the Broncos 27-23 at Mile High on Monday night.

The Chiefs lead the league in points per game(36.7), while the Jaguars lead the NFL in points allowed per game(14.0), which means something has to give on Sunday.

While Jaguars QB Blake Bortles is impressed with Mahomes, he knows how important this game is for the Jaguars defense, and he knows he has to play his part to keep the Chiefs offense off the field.

“I know our defense is fired up to play against him,” Bortles said. “I’m fired up, and our offense is fired up to keep them off the field. It will be a challenge; it will be a tough day, we will have to be locked in and on top of everything in order to win.”

Bortles watched Mahomes on Monday night and was very impressed by some of the things he did against the Broncos.

“I have seen some of the clips and stuff that he’s done. He’s fun to watch. He’s exciting, he can make plays, he throws it all over the field, he can throw it with both hands,” Bortles said today. “I think any time you see stuff like that, it’s cool. He is playing extremely well.”

The Chiefs have playmakers all over the field on offense such as Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt, and Travis Kelce. Something that Jaguars S Barry Church is looking forward to playing against on Sunday. Church believes the Jacksonville defense has the pieces to challenge the Kansas City offense.

“They have options at every level like slot, outside receiver, tight end, running back and a quarterback that can throw it a hundred yards,” Church recently said. So, that’s going to be a great challenge for us, but I think we have the players that will step up and be ready for the challenge.”

Although it’s only Week 5 in the NFL, this game could have some huge postseason implications in terms of home-field advantage in the playoffs, which makes Sunday’s game even more critical for both teams.

 

Titans’ Jurrell Casey: ‘We knew to put the game in Bortles’ hands’

Tennessee Titans Pro Bowl DT Jurrell Casey has been very critical of Jaguars QB Blake Bortles.

“As long as Bortles is back there if the ballgame is in his hands, he’s going to choke,” Casey told 104.5 The Zone in Nashville back in January.

Today, putting the ball in Bortles’ hands worked as the Titans defense stifled the Jaguars’ offense, which helped Tennessee beat Jacksonville 9-6 at TIAA Bank Field.

The Jaguars(2-1) have now lost three in a row to the Titans(2-1) after getting swept last season by Tennessee.

After the game, Casey, who sacked Bortles on Sunday, told reporters that Titans wanted to keep Bortles in the pocket and see if he can beat them with his arm:

“We knew to put the game in Bortles’ hands, and that was our game plan coming in; give the game to Bortles,” Casey said. “We found ways to get to him and last year they did a good job protecting him and picking up blitzes. We wanted to keep Bortles in the pocket, and we knew he likes to scramble.”

The game plan worked to perfection. Bortles threw for a paltry 155 yards, and was sacked three times as Tennessee limited the Jaguars to just two field goals, so until Bortles proves otherwise, the Titans game plan will probably not change moving forward.

 

 

WHAT IF…CHEAT SHEET: WEEK 1 AT NEW YORK GIANTS

WHAT IF…CHEAT SHEET: WEEK 1 AT NEW YORK GIANTS

Sunday, September 9, 2018

1 p.m. ET // MetLife Stadium // East Rutherford, N.J.

 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS:

If the Jaguars win on Sunday at NYG…

  • The Jaguars have won consecutive Kickoff Weekend games for the first time since 2010-11.
  • The Jaguars have won consecutive road games on Kickoff Weekend for the first time since 1997-98.
  • The Jaguars have won their first ever game at MetLife Stadium (1-0 against New York Giants; 0-3 against New York Jets).

If the Jaguars do not allow a TD on the Giants’ first offensive possession…

  • The Jaguars have allowed a TD on their opponents’ first offensive possession just one time in the last 25 games (Dec. 24, 2016 at San Francisco).

 QB BLAKE BORTLES (5):

 If he throws four TD passes…

  • Blake Bortles is the first player in franchise history to throw at least four passing TDs on Kickoff Weekend.

If he throws five passing TDs…

  • Blake Bortles has tied his franchise record and career-high for passing TDs in a single game.

If he throws for at least 300 yards…

  • Blake Bortles is the first player in franchise history to throw for 300-plus yards multiple times on Kickoff Weekend.

If he throws for at least 400 yards…

  • Blake Bortles joins Mark Brunell as the only players in franchise history to throw for at least 400 passing yards in a single game.

If he throws for at least 433 yards…

  • Blake Bortles has now set the franchise record for passing yards in a single game, surpassing Mark Brunell’s mark of 432 passing yards on Sept. 22, 1996 at New England.

CB A.J. BOUYE (21):

If he registers at least five passes defensed…

  • A.J. Bouye now joins Jalen Ramsey (12/18/16) and Rashean Mathis (two occasions) as the only Jaguars in the last 20 seasons to register at least five passes defensed in a single game.

If he intercepts two passes…

  • A.J. Bouye now joins Rashean Mathis as the only players in franchise history to register multiple INTs in at least two games.
  • A.J. Bouye now joins Aaron Beasley (1999) and Deon Digures (1997) as the only players in franchise history to register multiple INTs on Kickoff Weekend.

 DE CALAIS CAMPBELL (93):

 If he registers 1.5 sacks…

  • Calais Campbell has now posted multiple sacks (at least 1.5) in five career games for the Jaguars, tied for the third-most in franchise history, and he has multiple sacks on Kickoff Weekend for the second straight year

If he registers 2.0 sacks…

  • Calais Campbell has now posted 2.0-plus sacks in five career games for the Jaguars, the second-most in franchise history
  • Calais Campbell now joins Tony Brackens (eight) as the only players in franchise history to register at least 2.0 sacks in five or more career games

WR KEELAN COLE (84):

If he registers at least 10 receptions against NYG…

  • Keelan Cole has now set the franchise record for receptions on Kickoff Weekend.

If he registers at least 140 receiving yards against NYG…

  • Keelan Cole has now set the franchise record for receiving yards on Kickoff Weekend.

If he catches multiple TD passes against NYG…

  • Keelan Cole joins Jimmy Smith (multiple occasions), Allen Hurns (9/7/14) and Marcedes Lewis (9/12/10) as the only players in franchise history to catch multiple TD passes on Kickoff Weekend.

If he catches at least three TD passes against NYG…

  • Keelan Cole is the first player in franchise history to catch at least three TD passes on Kickoff Weekend.

 RB LEONARD FOURNETTE (27):

If he rushes for at least 100 yards…

  • Leonard Fournette has now posted 100-plus rushing yards on kickoff weekend in back-to-back seasons after posting 100 yards in his NFL debut against Houston in Week 1 of the 2017 season.
  • Leonard Fournette has now posted his sixth career game with 100-plus rushing yards, tied for the third-most in franchise history.
  • Leonard Fournette has now rushed for at least 100 yards on six occasions, tied with Fred Taylor for the most 100-yard rushing performances through 14 career games in franchise history.

If he rushes for at least one TD…

  • Leonard Fournette has now scored two career rushing TDs on kickoff weekend, tied for the second-most in franchise history. Only James Stewart (three) has scored more career rushing TDs on kickoff weekend.
  • Leonard Fournette has now scored 10 career rushing TDs, tied for the eighth-most in franchise history.
  • Leonard Fournette has now scored nine rushing TDs, tied with Fred Taylor for the most rushing TDs through 14 career games in franchise history.

If he registers at least 100 scrimmage yards…

  • Leonard Fournette has now registered 100-plus scrimmage yards in eight career games, tied for the sixth-most in franchise history.

 K JOSH LAMBO (4):

If he makes a FG of at least 57 yards…

  • Josh Lambo has now set a new career-long with that ___-yard FG.

If he scores at least 16 points…

  • Josh Lambo has now set a career-high for points in a game.

If he makes one FG…

  • Josh Lambo has now made a FG in 11 consecutive games, the third-longest streak in franchise history.

If he makes his first FG attempt…

  • Josh Lambo has now made 12 consecutive FGs. Lambo has not missed since Week 11 of the 2017 season (his only miss of the 2017 season).

If he makes at least one PAT or one FG…

  • Josh Lambo has now scored in 11 consecutive games, the 10th-longest streak in franchise history.

 WIDE RECEIVER JAYDON MICKENS (85):

 If he returns a punt for a TD…

  • Jaydon Mickens now joins Reggie Barlow as the only players in franchise history with multiple punt return TDs.

WR DONTE MONCRIEF (10):

If he registers at least 10 receptions against NYG…

  • Donte Moncrief has now set the franchise record for receptions on Kickoff Weekend.

If he registers at least 140 receiving yards against NYG…

  • Donte Moncrief has now set the franchise record for receiving yards on Kickoff Weekend.

If he catches multiple TD passes against NYG…

  • Donte Moncrief joins Jimmy Smith (multiple occasions), Allen Hurns (9/7/14) and Marcedes Lewis (9/12/10) as the only players in franchise history to catch multiple TD passes on Kickoff Weekend.

If he catches at least three TD passes against NYG…

  • Donte Moncrief is the first player in franchise history to catch at least three TD passes on Kickoff Weekend.

DE YANNICK NGAKOUE (91):

If he registers a sack…

  • Yannick Ngakoue has now registered 17.0 sacks in 17 career road games
  • Yannick Ngakoue has now registered 12.0 sacks in his last nine road games

If he registers 1.5 sacks…

  • Yannick Ngakoue has now posted multiple sacks (at least 1.5) in five career games for the Jaguars, tied for the third-most in franchise history

If he registers 2.0 sacks…

  • Yannick Ngakoue has now posted 2.0-plus sacks in five career games for the Jaguars, the second-most in franchise history
  • Yannick Ngakoue now joins Tony Brackens (eight) as the only players in franchise history to register at least 2.0 sacks in five or more career games

 CB JALEN RAMSEY (20):

If he registers at least five passes defensed…

  • Jalen Ramsey now joins Rashean Mathis as the only Jaguars in the last 20 seasons to register at least five passes defensed in two or more games.

 TE AUSTIN SEFERIAN-JENKINS (88):

If he registers at least 10 receptions against NYG…

  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins has now set the franchise record for receptions on Kickoff Weekend.

If he registers at least 140 receiving yards against NYG…

  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins has now set the franchise record for receiving yards on Kickoff Weekend.

If he catches multiple TD passes against NYG…

  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins joins Jimmy Smith (multiple occasions), Allen Hurns (9/7/14) and Marcedes Lewis (9/12/10) as the only players in franchise history to catch multiple TD passes on Kickoff Weekend.

If he catches at least three TD passes against NYG…

  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the first player in franchise history to catch at least three TD passes on Kickoff Weekend.

WR DEDE WESTBROOK (12):

If he registers at least 10 receptions against NYG…

  • Dede Westbrook has now set the franchise record for receptions on Kickoff Weekend.

If he registers at least 140 receiving yards against NYG…

  • Dede Westbrook has now set the franchise record for receiving yards on Kickoff Weekend.

If he catches multiple TD passes against NYG…

  • Dede Westbrook joins Jimmy Smith (multiple occasions), Allen Hurns (9/7/14) and Marcedes Lewis (9/12/10) as the only players in franchise history to catch multiple TD passes on Kickoff Weekend.

If he catches at least three TD passes against NYG…

  • Dede Westbrook is the first player in franchise history to catch at least three TD passes on Kickoff Weekend.

Bortles signs extension to stay in Jacksonville

QB Blake Bortles will stay in Jacksonville after signing an extension with the team until 2020, the Jaguars announced today.

According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the three-year extension is worth $54 million, which covers the fifth-year option and two additional years.

Bortles was scheduled to make $19 million next season, according to the report.

Bortles, 25, led the Jaguars to the AFC title game last season. The Jaguars made the playoffs for the first time since 2007.