Jags’ Wilson: ‘Pretty much since Sidney [Jones] ‘s got here, he’s been doing just a great job’

The Jacksonville Jaguars have struggled mightily over the past few weeks, and last Sunday, the team lost its fourth game in a row after falling to the Texans 30-14.

While losing four straight is awful, it’s not all bad for Jacksonville.

Fourth-year corner Sidney Jones played well for the team and had an interception and four pass defenses against the Texans last Sunday. Jones, who was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round in 2017, was signed to Jacksonville’s practice squad in early September after being waived by Philadelphia.

The 24-year-old Jones struggled with injuries during his time in Philadelphia, and due to injuries and poor play, Jones started only eight games in three seasons with the Eagles. Coming out of the University of Washington, Jones was expected to go in the first round, but he would tear his Achilles tendon at his pro day, which caused him to drop to the second round. 

According to Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone, Jacksonville really liked Jones coming out of college.

“I think that it’s unfortunate; coming out of college, we all really liked him. Obviously, a lot of teams liked him,” Marrone said on Thursday. “He went high in the draft, and then he had an injury, and sometimes when you have those injuries, it just takes a while to get back. Even when he first came here, I don’t know if he was completely [healthy]. I don’t want to say that he was still injured.

“I just think the confidence that you need when you come back from an injury, especially when you’re a young football player like Sidney is. Then all of a sudden you see him moving better, you see him break, and you see him doing things, and you’re like, ‘Wow, this is great. I’m excited for him,’ and then to see him go on the field. I remember talking to him telling him how excited I was for him to go out there and be able to show what he can do because I’m sure he’s probably disappointed with the injury situation that happened earlier that he wasn’t able to go out there and preform at his highest level.”

Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Walsh was also impressed by what he has seen out of Jones, and according to Walsh, Jones will get more opportunities to impress.

“You’ve seen the success that he had last week, and a lot of that was in off coverage, and I still think his strength is up in press,” Walsh said. “So, we’re very excited [about] how he played last week, and I think he’s encouraged for how he played. You’ll see a lot of him, obviously, this week. And hopefully, he’s going to have the same type of success this week. We’ve got a good group of wideouts we’ve got to defend…

[“He] fits into what we do and, like I said, he played a heck of a game last week.”

Jaguars S Jarrod Wilson added: “Pretty much since Sidney [Jones] ‘s got here, he’s been doing just a great job. Obviously, we’re a press corner team, so I think he does a really good job of getting hands-on, and he’s long outside, that’s not typical of every corner. [He was] able to get his hands on a couple balls on Sunday, which definitely helped it [the defense].”

You have to be happy for Jones. This opportunity in Jacksonville is a big one for him. He will get a chance to play, and in the NFL, you can’t ask for anything more. Now, if he continues to play at a high level, Jones will have found a home in Jacksonville.

 

Jags’ Schobert on COVID-19: ‘For me, right now, it’s always on the forefront of your mind

After three weeks of no postponements due to COVID-19, the NFL is now starting to get hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, Titans-Steelers was postponed until Week 7, and Patriots-Chiefs was moved to Monday after players tested positive for COVID-19. This week, after more positive tests, the Broncos-Patriots has been moved to Monday night, and the Bills-Titans was moved to Tuesday night. 

With the postponements, there has to be some concern around the league about the NFL’s ability to get through the 2020 season, and on Thursday, Jaguars LB Joe Schobert discussed the influx of positives test for COVID-19 throughout the league.

“It always gives you pause when you see something like this happen,” Schobert said. “Obviously, we’ve luckily been out of that crisis [that] I suppose Tennessee’s dealing with right now and a couple other teams that had some cases pop up. But I mean, it’s just the status of the world right now. We spent the whole offseason, not knowing what we were going to be doing if we were even going to be having a season.

“For me, right now, it’s always on the forefront of your mind because whenever you go and check your phone, you see a news flash of a new guy in Tennessee testing positive or their next week game potentially being postponed or forfeited or whatever the NFL decides to come up with if things keep happening. So, it gives you pause because NFL is our business and getting on the field and playing football is what we do for our living. Obviously, it gives you a moment’s pause, but I think, as professionals and in our environment here in Jacksonville, we just have to keep doing things the way we’ve been doing then.”

In a memo to all 32 clubs, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell warned teams if they don’t follow the league health and safety protocols that games could be forfeited. According to Schobert, if teams have to forfeit games or the season is canceled, it could impact players financially.  

 “Forfeiting games or just canceling the season would obviously not be great because then you don’t get paid for any of those forfeits or [if] the season’s canceled you’re not going to get paid anymore for the season,’ he said. “So, you don’t want it to get to that point because, like I said, it is our job. Obviously, we get paid very well in the entertainment industry as football players. There’s a lot of people out in the world who have normal every day, regular jobs who are being affected and have been affected by this as well. The forfeiture of games and potentially canceling the season is something that’s on your mind just from a financial standpoint and your family’s standpoint.”

The NFL will complete the season, but it won’t be easy, especially as we approach flu season. However, the league will do everything in their power to make it happen, so again, expect the season to be completed.

Brady named NFL Player of the Week, NFC Offensive Player of the Week

Tom Brady’s performance against the Charger is receiving a lot of recognition. Earlier on Wednesday, Brady was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week, and later in the day, Brady named the FedEx Air Player of the Week for Week 4, marking the 11th time Brady has won this award in his career.

The 21-year veteran became the second quarterback in team history to win both awards in the same week.

Against the Los Angeles Chargers, Brady completed 30-of-46 passes for 369 yards and five touchdowns, earning a 117.0 passer rating in a 38-31 Buccaneers win. The win marked the 222nd of Brady’s NFL career, surpassing his former teammate Adam Vinatieri for the most wins by a player in NFL history. To secure that milestone win, Brady helped Tampa Bay overcome a 17-point deficit, marking the 34th time that Brady has led his team to a win after trailing by 10-or-more points – the most-such comeback wins in league history.

Brady’s team-record-tying five touchdown passes were the most by any player in Week 4, while his 369 passing yards ranked second in the league. He threw for 300 yards and five touchdowns in a game for the seventh time in the regular season, tying Peyton Manning for the second-most such games in NFL history. He also tied Manning for 300-yard passing games, notching the 93rd of his career.

Eagles’ Pederson: ‘Finally overcame some of the mistakes yesterday to put ourselves in a position to be in first place in the NFC East’

After four games, the Philadelphia Eagles have not been very good, but they play in the NFC East, and after beating the 49ers on the road 25-20 on Sunday night, Philadelphia(1-2-1) is now on top of the division. 

While it’s hard to call any game in Week 4 a must-win, Sunday’s contest was pretty close to that for Philadelphia. According to Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, the team felt relieved after defeating San Francisco.

“The guys were excited in the locker room, high-fiving, jumping around, hugging each other, what you would expect after a win,” Pederson said on Monday. “I think these guys have been obviously beaten down the last few weeks, not only by our opponents, but by what they are seeing and reading and being talked about outside of the building. I think you can just see the relief, right, or just kind of getting that win.”

The first quarter of the season is in the books, but even with all the lows, there still is hope in Philadelphia. On Monday, Pederson reflected on the first month of the season. 

“I think the one thing that’s really stood out this first month is just how resilient this football team is,” Pederson said. “We have not played our best football; I don’t feel. We’ve kind of shot ourselves in the foot in the first three, four weeks here.

“Finally overcame some of the mistakes yesterday to put ourselves in a position to be in first place in the NFC East. But there’s a long road ahead. We’ve got to learn from the first four weeks, but at the same time, learn from it and carry it forward. We’ve just got to keep working, and this is what I appreciate about our guys is they come to work every day no matter what the circumstances, no matter what the situation. They practice. It’s always been a next-man-up mentality, and they go to work, and that’s what I’ve learned, and that’s what’s going to carry us these next four weeks.”

Injuries have hurt the Eagles in the first month of the season, including injuries to both tackles on the offensive line and injuries to their top two wide receivers in Jalen Reagor and DeSean Jackson. Furthermore, Carson Wentz has struggled in the early part of the season, but the Eagles have found a way to stay afloat at this point. 

The Eagles by no means have solved all their issues. Plus, their next two games are against Pittsburgh and Baltimore, which means Philadelphia easily could be out of first place in NFC East by next Sunday. However, for now, they lead their division, and they still have time to fix what’s wrong. 

 

Jaguars’ Chark: ‘if we win every game moving on or don’t win every game moving on, we’re not going to quit’

The Jacksonville Jaguars(1-3) are starting to become the team that many thought they would be when the season started. After beating the Colts in Week 1, the Jaguars have now lost three straight, including falling to the Cincinnati Bengals(1-2-1) on the road 33-25 on Sunday.

One of the reasons Jacksonville has lost three straight is the play of the defense. Coming into Sunday’s action, the Jaguars were surrendering 28 points a contest and allowed Bengals rookie QB Joe Burrow to throw for 300 yards and allowed the Bengals to rush for over 200 yards, including 151 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the ground from Joe Mixon..

 “I mean, I’m frustrated,” Jaguars DT Abry Jones said after the game. “I mean, that’s obvious. We all play this game to win. Like you said, I’ve been through this more than most, and I want something to change. Am I disappointed in guys? No, because I’m still rooting for everybody on this team, rooting for everybody on this defense. I know the type of players we have, and I know the type of talent they have, and I know how hard they work, so I’m never going to be disappointed in them. I’m just going to keep on encouraging them, keep having their back.”

With the losses mounting, Jaguars WR D.J. Chark, who had eight catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, wants the team to stay connected.

“The mood in the locker room is basically [that] we have to stick together and [ignore] the outside,” Chark said. “I know we get home and we look on Instagram, we look at Twitter and a lot of times we are the laughingstock because people love making jokes when they’re not in the fire with us. But at this point, it’s forget them. When I go out there and play, I’m playing for those 53, 56 guys [on the roster].

“I don’t care, I’m going to put my body on the line, and that’s just what we have to do, and I feel like that’s the feeling, and if it’s not, that’s what the feeling is going to be. We just have to go out there. I don’t care if we win every game moving on or don’t win every game moving on, we’re not going to quit, for sure, and that’s the mindset we have to have. Somebody’s going to have to feel us.”

The last two weeks against the Dolphins and Bengals were an excellent opportunity for Jacksonville to get wins. However, based on what we’ve seen in the past few weeks, Jacksonville could be who we thought they would be, but as Chark said, the team has to find a way to stay together. 

Jags’ Taylor on Robinson: ‘I knew he would be a special player’

When the Jacksonville Jaguars released RB Leonard Fournette in August, many were surprised and wondered what running back would step up for Jacksonville. Fortunately for the Jaguars, undrafted rookie RB James Robinson has been that guy.

In three games, the 22-year-old Robinson has rushed for 210 yards with three rushing touchdowns, including a one-hundred yard game in Week 2 against the Titans. Also, Robinson is averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Additionally, Robinson has 10 catches for 129 yards. What he is doing has surprised many, but not Jaguars RT Jawaan Taylor, who saw flashes from Robinson early on.

“[He’s a] great overall guy, a great locker room guy,” Taylor said about Robinson on Monday. “He’s been doing a lot of great things for us in this offense with [Offensive Coordinator] Coach Gruden, so we’re excited to have him around. He’s been doing great and adjusting to the game plans and knowing what to do and how to do it. [He’s] just trusting the offensive line and what Coach Gruden calls, and he just goes with it. He’s a great guy.

 “I noticed it in camp just seeing how explosive he was in camp and how dialed in he was to everything we’re wanting to do. I noticed it from very early on, and I knew he would be a special player.”

Robinson has been running the ball well and making plays outside of the backfield, but the one thing that impressed Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone was Robinson’s blocking ability, which Marrone discussed on Monday.

“So, we started doing some one-on-one pass protection during training camp, and I was like ‘Holy cow.’ I mean, he’ s—and I didn’t realize how good he was at really covering guys up, bodying them up, the strength and the explosion he had,” Marrone said. “So, then I kind of go back, and I went back at the weight room stuff and looked at that. And he’s one of our most explosive players, I found that out during training camp—which weight he can do, as far as his lower body explosion. And then it was just a matter of, ‘Hey listen, is this guy going to be able to hold on to the football when he gets hit in the NFL?’ And I think that he’s proven that.

“So, I knew he could catch, I think he’s a guy that—he can do everything, I mean, he can be a three-down back, he can protect, he can catch the ball out of the backfield, obviously he can run the football. There’s a lot of things that he does, and it’s just, it’ll be interesting to see how he does as the season goes and being able to take care of your body. And that’s the one thing I’ve always admired in this game; I don’t know if you can ever realize unless you’re down on the field, the amount of contact that those guys take, day in and day out, or [on] Sundays. And you talk about appreciation; I have great appreciation for those guys because they’re getting hit, one guy, two guys, three—you know, they’re coming from all over. I know James is working extremely hard to make sure he’s taking care of his body because it is a long season.”

Robinson has been a revelation, and if he continues to play at this level, Jacksonville may have found its running back of today, tomorrow, and years to come. 

 

 

Buccaneers to allow fans at home games starting October 18

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers unveiled plans  to welcome the team’s season pass members for games at Raymond James Stadium beginning with next Sunday’s soft opening against the Los Angeles Charger, the team announced today. Buccaneers season pass members with continuous membership since 1998 or earlier will have the initial opportunity to purchase a limited number of tickets beginning on Oct. 1 in recognition for their loyalty to the team.

Starting with the team’s Oct. 18 game against the Green Bay Packers, seating at Raymond James Stadium will be approximately 25 percent of capacity. At this time, all season pass members who kept their 2020 season pass payments as a credit towards 2021 will have the opportunity to purchase limited tickets for up to two games from the remainder of the 2020 home schedule as part of the Priority Presale. Additional games may be offered in the future based on availability and tenure. Tickets through the Priority Presale for the remainder of the season will go on sale starting on Monday, Oct. 5.

Luxury Suite members will have full access to their suites for all remaining games this season, including the game on Oct. 4. Hall of Fame members and Legends Club members also will be afforded the opportunity to attend all remaining games, with seating and pricing to be determined based on availability due to physical distancing measures.

The team’s decision to open to fans in a reduced capacity was made possible following the executive order signed by Governor Ron DeSantis which moved Florida into the last phase of the state’s reopening plan, coupled with the extensive measures implemented at Raymond James Stadium.

“The safety of all involved has been our No. 1 priority throughout this process,” said Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford. “There simply is no way to replicate the energy and excitement that our fans provide for our players on the field. We remain thankful for the opportunity to experience this great season alongside our most passionate fans at Raymond James Stadium.”

The Buccaneers and the Tampa Sports Authority have developed a comprehensive stadium reopening plan to help ensure the safety of all fans who attend games the remainder of the season. Changes to the fan experience will feature a variety of safety measures including socially distanced seating, the implementation of full mobile ticketing and cashless transactions, the installation of touchless hardware in restrooms, enhanced sanitation measures, and additional food preparation safety protocols at all concessions areas.

“We have been working tirelessly with local and state authorities, as well as medical experts, to ensure a safe environment at Raymond James Stadium,” said Ford. “We are ready and excited to welcome our fans back.”

The Buccaneers will join the TSA and the University of South Florida for a virtual press conference on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 1:00 p.m. to introduce additional elements of the stadium reopening plan.

Wentz: ‘We’re not panicking; we know what we have to clean up, and we will’

For the Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz, the 2020 season has been a struggle. In Week 1 against Washingon, Wentz threw two picks, and on Sunday in the team’s home-opener against the Rams, Wentz(26/43 for 242 yards and two interceptions) threw two more picks as the Eagles were dominated by Los Angeles(2-0) 37-19.

After trailing 21-3 in the second quarter, Philadelphia(0-2) cut the lead to 21-16 at the half and had the momentum. However, with the Eagles driving for a touchdown in the third quarter, Wentz was picked off by Darious Williams in the endzone. After the game, Wentz discussed what went wrong on that play.

“On the interception, [the Rams defense] made a great play. I got out on the naked there to the left, and they had us covered pretty well,” Wentz said. “I got pretty aggressive and tried to force one in there. [Rams CB Darious Williams] made a great play. I have to be smarter in that situation. Overall, offensively, we know we’re right there. At the end of the day, we had two interceptions and the fumble. Turning the ball over is really killing us the last two weeks. Those are the things we know we can clean up. But other than that, we truly feel that we’re right there. We’re just missing some things, timing of some things. We’re not panicking; we know what we have to clean up, and we will.”

At 0-2, the Eagles have an uphill battle in terms of making the playoffs. According to oddsshark.com, since 2007, 98 teams have started 0-2. Only 12 (12.2 percent) turned it around to make the playoffs, but according to Wentz, Philly can turn things around.

“We’re obviously frustrated,” he said. “You never want to start 0-2. Last week, the way we lost to Washington, starting 0-1, is obviously not what we want and not how we expect to finish ball games. And then today, coming out behind again, [is] not where you want to be. But we know there’s enough things through two games, offensively speaking, that we can put on the tape and know we’re right there [and] just missing some things. We’re right there, don’t panic, we’ll be okay. I’ve always had all the confidence in the world in our defense. Things happen, but we’re not panicking and excited to get back on it.”

Eagles RB Miles Sanders, who ran for 95 yards, but had a costly fumble that sent up a Rams’ touchdown in the first quarter, thinks Philly still has time to get right.

‘”It’s very frustrating,” Sanders said about the team being 0-2. “I’d be lying to you if I said it wasn’t. But like I said, it’s a blessing that it’s a long season. And like I said, we have opportunities week by week just to get better and get some [wins] on the left-hand side of that column.”

There is still a lot of season left for the Eagles, and Philadelphia plays in the NFC East, which appears to be weak at this point of the season. But, Wentz has to be better, and defensively they have to be better.

Jags’ Chark: ‘I think honestly we feel like we can go toe to toe with anybody’

While the Jacksonville Jaguars(1-1) lost on Sunday to the Titans(2-0) 33-30 in Nashville, there were many positives from this game, especially on the offensive side of the ball. 

On Sunday, the Jaguars had 480 yards of total offense. Gardner Minshew threw for 339 yards with three touchdowns, but two costly interceptions. Rookie free agent RB James Robinson had his first 100-yard game(102 yards, 1 TD), and wide receiver D.J. Chark had four catches for 84 yards.  Jacksonville started slow and battled hard in this game, and they were down 14-0 in the first quarter and 30-17 in the fourth quarter before tying the game at 30 midway through the final quarter.

The expectations are low for the Jaguars, but according to Chark, Jacksonville can compete with any team in the NFL. 

 “I think honestly we feel like we can go toe to toe with anybody. It doesn’t matter,” Chark said after the game. “Our offensive line is going to move people off the ball. James is going to run hard. Our receivers are all capable of making plays, and they understand that we expect plays to be made every time the ball is in the air. It’s our ball or nobody’s ball, and Gardner(Minshew) is out there making great decisions.

“I think it’s just the mentality that we have, whether it’s 30-17 or it’s a tie game. We understand that we only control what we can control when we’re out there on the field, and I think that helps the offensive line, but it also helps the defense to know that in years past, when we’d get down, it’s kind of like a snowball effect, but they know even if the team does score, we as an offense have the potential to go score, too. So you just go out there and keep playing like every drive is a new drive.”

Minshew added: “Yeah, I mean, you see their resilience when we’re in there. But we also learned that we’ve got to start faster. We don’t need to be getting down 13 in the first place. I think if we jump out and play every quarter like we played that fourth, we’re going to be a really, really good football team.”

It’s still early, but Jacksonville played two teams(Colts, Titans) that many believe could make the playoffs in 2020 and proved to everyone that they could compete. Obviously, there are no morals victories in the NFL, but Jacksonville has to be happy with how they performed after two games.