Jaguars’ Minshew on loss to Lions: ‘We beat ourselves today’

When you are a team that does not have a lot of talent, you can’t beat yourself. On Sunday, at times, the Jacksonville Jaguars beat themselves, including their QB Gardner Minshew, who had two turnovers(interception, fumble), as the Jaguars fell to the Lions(2-3) 34-16 at TIAA Bank Field. 

With the loss, the Jaguars(1-5) have now lost five straight games. As the losses mount, Minshew, who was 25/44 for 243 yards, with a touchdown and interception, is frustrated and looking for answers.

“There’s not a guy on this team that likes losing or even wants to tolerate losing,” Minshew said after the game. “We’re definitely frustrated. It feels like the same story each week. We are trying to figure out what our solution is, we got to start finding it, and the urgency should be at an all-time high. That being said, I believe we have the guys in our building to do it, so we’re just going to have to come back together; I know you all are sick of hearing it, but come back together, have a good week at practice, and just get ready to win one game at a time…

 “Any time you play a game like that, and you just walk away feeling that you beat yourself, that’s super frustrating. Talk about a disciplined team that beat themselves, we feel like we beat ourselves today, and we just can’t do that.”

In addition to the turnovers, the Jaguars had a hard time stopping the Lions. Jacksonville allowed Detroit to rush for 180 yards, and coming into the game, the Jaguars were 26th against the rush and 30th in total defense. However, when asked if defensive coordinator Todd Walsh’s job was in jeopardy, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone had this to say.

“Yes. Yes, as long as I’m here and I’m the head coach, yes, he’s(Walsh) safe.”

When asked about own his status after a 1-5 start, Marrone said the following:

“Yeah, I mean, the realistic part is you never know when it’s going to stop,” he said. “I mean, I’m not going to be one of those guys to say that that’s not something that can happen. I mean, we see what happens around the league, so I acknowledge that. But at the same time, it’s something that I can’t control. So, and I’ve said it before; I really love the coaches we have, and I love the players that we have on this team. And I look at that sense of relationship that I have with them as to make sure that I’m coming in doing the best job I can to get everyone around me better for however long I maintain this position.”

No one expected the Jaguars to be very good this season, but there was some optimism after the Colts’ victory and the close loss to the Titans in the first two weeks of the season. However, at this point, it’s pretty clear that it will probably be a long season in Jacksonville.

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.

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. 

 

 

Jags’ Allen on Minshew: ‘He’s a superstar on and off-field’

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew came out of nowhere as a rookie and played some solid football for the team last season. In fact, the Jaguars had so much faith in the former sixth-round pick that they decided to trade Nick Foles and make Minshew the team’s starting quarterback this season.

At this point, the 24-year-old Minshew is rewarding Jacksonville’s faith in him. After two games, the second-year quarterback has thrown for 512 yards with six touchdowns and 115.7 quarterback rating. In Week 1, Minshew was close to perfect as he completed 19/20 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns in the Jaguars’ 27-20 victory against the Colts. 

Last week, against the Titans, Minshew brought his team back from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit before falling to Tennessee 33-30. On Thursday night, the 1-1 Jaguars have an opportunity to move to 2-1 at home against the 0-2 Miami Dolphins. 

According to Minshew, going 1-1 against the Colts and Titans gives the team a lot of confidence as they prepare for the Dolphins.

“Those were two very good teams, two very good divisional teams we’ve played so far,” Minshew said on Tuesday via a video call. “[We] competed well, had a chance to win both. So, it’s just taking those good things we’ve done and building on those and then trying to fix the stuff that we haven’t done well.”

On the Thursday Night Football stage last season in Week 3, Minshew got his first victory as a starter, and “Minshew Mania” grew from there. According to his teammate, DE Josh Allen, Minshew is now a superstar on and off the field. 

“I think he’s a superstar,” Allen said. “But him on and off the field, he’s a great guy, great quarterback, and he’s also a special human being, and he’s just a guy that you just want to be around. He gives off that energy. My wife loves him, probably more than she loves me, which I’m kind of a little mad at. She thinks he’s a superstar, so I kind of have to check him about that. But that’s just the vibe he gives. He’s a superstar on and off-field, but he doesn’t give off that attitude, and I love Gardner. That’s my guy, G-Money. He signed my gloves, ‘To Josh.’ I’m about to frame this.”

Minshew is not a superstar at this stage of his career, but he is definitely growing as a player. He’s very confident in his ability, and the confidence is spreading throughout Jacksonville’s locker room. Thursday’s night game against Miami is very winnable, and if the Jaguars want to continue to prove they can make some noise in 2020, it’s a game they have to win. 

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. 

Jaguars’ Allen on doubters: ‘They don’t see how well we play together’

No one expected much out of the Jacksonville Jaguars when the season started. On paper, many believed the Jaguars had one of the worst teams in football. However, the Indianapolis Colts might think differently after the Jaguars’ 27-20 victory over Indianapolis last Sunday.

Jacksonville(1-0) got outstanding quarterback play out of Gardner Minshew(19/20, 173 yards, 3 TDs). Furthermore, the Jaguars were opportunistic on defense and created two turnovers. 

Even after this victory, the doubters are still out there, which DE Josh Allen addressed on Thursday.

“A lot of good players left our organization, and they really saw that, and they’re just like, ‘Oh, they’re weak now.’ But little do they know, they’re not in the locker room with us, they don’t see the guys that we have, and they don’t see how well we play together,” Allen said. “We’re a family, man, we play for each other, we play as one. And that’s just how our mindsets [are], and I’m just excited to get going again.”

Jacksonville will be tested on Sunday when they go on the road to battle the Tennessee Titans(1-0), who made it to the AFC title game last season. 

Allen discussed what it would mean to beat Tennessee.

“I feel like [there’s] always going to be that doubt when people think about us, and that’s just the status quo we have to change around here,” Allen said. “But we’re really focusing on ourselves and how we play week-in and week-out. Because we’re not really focused on the outside noise, we hear it all the time, since probably Jalen [Ramsey] left that we weren’t going to be a good team and everybody that left after that, it’s just been getting worse and worse. And now, they saw us play last week, and now they’re surprised.

“So, yeah, I think it’s a big game for us, it’s a big game because it’s a divisional game. It’s a game we must have. If you win, if you go undefeated in our division or any division, there’s a good chance you’re going to go to the playoffs. So, we see this as a big challenge because it’s a second divisional game, and starting off 2-0 in that would be major. So, yeah, we’re excited about this weekend, we can’t wait to get going.”

Defeating the Titans won’t be easy, but If the Jaguars can find a way to beat Tennessee on Sunday, all the doubters will indeed become believers.

Jaguars’ Minshew, seven others named team captains

On Monday, the Jacksonville Jaguars announced their eight team captains for the 2020 season. According to the team, captains were chosen based on a player vote.

As he enters his second season(first as a starter), Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew was named one of the team’s captains. 

Here is a complete list of the team’s captains

Offense: QB Gardner Minshew II, C Brandon Linder, and WR Chris Conley

Defense: DE Josh Allen, LB Myles Jack, DT Abry Jones, and S Jarrod Wilson.

Special Teams: K Josh Lambo.

This marks the fourth time Linder has been named a team captain, the second time for Jack and the first time for the other six players.

Jacksonville begins the season on Sunday when they host the Indianapolis Colts.

Jags’ Thompson on when Fournette told team he was released: ‘We thought he was joking’

During his time in Jacksonville, the one thing we learned about RB Leonard Fournette is he liked to have fun, and he told the Jacksonville media this back in August:

“Most of you guys know I’m always joking and playing, that’s just me,” Fournette said. “I think it kind of got out of hand, so I just wanted to get that out there. I’m not a jerk, but when it comes to football and winning, I’m all in for that.”

So, when Fournette told the team that he had been released on Monday, according to Jaguars RB Chris Thompson, no one believed him.

“Yeah, we were shocked about it,” Thompson said about Fournette getting released via a video call on Tuesday. “He came in the room a couple of minutes before our team meeting and let us know that he had gotten released. We didn’t believe it. We thought he was joking because, you know, he laughs and jokes with us all the time. It wasn’t really until [Head] Coach [Doug] Marrone said it in the team meeting that we really believed it. It was a shocker for everybody. The mood was just different that day, or different yesterday at practice, but you know, it’s the NFL, and we just have to rock with the decision that’s being made.”

No Fournette means opportunities for others, including the seventh-year veteran Thompson, Ryquell Armstead, Devine Ozigbo, Nathan Cottrell, and James Robinson. On Tuesday, Thompson, who spent time in OC Jay Gruden’s offense while in Washington, assessed Jacksonville’s running back room.

“In my opinion, I think they can do a little bit of everything,” he said. “They’re good pass catchers. They can run routes pretty good, and their vision is amazing, especially James [Robinson]. I think he’s one of those guys to me, in my opinion, [that] probably has the best vision out of all of us and it’s been great to see a young guy like that be able to come in and be able to make the plays and hit the holes that he’s been able to hit. I’m excited. I’m excited for all [of] the guys. Nate [Nathan Cottrell], he’s the fastest running back that we have right now, so I’m excited for him and his future. Ryquell [Armstead] and Zig [Devine Ozigbo], they’re both guys that were here last year and now with Leonard [Fournette] not being here, they’re going to be able to get a lot more opportunities. From what I saw, from what Rock [Ryquell Armstead] did last year and Zig, especially in that last game against the Colts, I think they have a lot of potential [that] we’re going to see here moving forward.”

Running backs coach Terry Robiskie added this about the team’s running backs: “It looks young, it looks young. It looks energetic, it looks like a bunch of fresh guys, just a bunch of big-eyed guys that [are] looking at the goal, [they] just want an opportunity, they want an opportunity. I think they feel the opportunity is there. A group of guys that [are] ready to go meet the challenge, go prove themselves. Like I said, everybody in life wants an opportunity. I’ve got a group of guys that [have] got a shot, they’ve got an opportunity here and it’s right before them.”

The release of Fournette was surprising, but it was not very shocking. Jacksonville had been looking to trade Fournette for some time, but the timing surprised many, and now it’s up to others to make things happen without Fournette.