Jags’ Boselli to get Hall of Fame ring on October 9

The Jacksonville Jaguars will celebrate Tony Boselli, their first Pro Football Hall of Fame member, on Sunday, Oct. 9 during halftime of the Jaguars game against the Houston Texans.

Boselli was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame along with the rest of 2022 class in August, becoming the 355th individual in the history of the game and the first Jaguars player to receive the honor.  While Boselli has already received his gold jacket and bronze bust, his illustrious career will be capped off when Pro Football Hall of Fame President Jim Porter and Jaguars Owner Shad Khan present him with his official Pro Football Hall of Fame ring during the halftime ceremony.

In addition, the weekend will also mark the world premiere of “71,” a brand-new documentary produced by the Jaguars about the life and career of Boselli.

The Jaguars Production department has captured hours of behind-the-scenes footage in Canton and interviewed more than 20 individuals from throughout Boselli’s life to create the film.  Members of the Jaguars Founders Class, individuals who have held season tickets since the team’s inaugural season in 1995, should check their email for an exclusive email invitation to a free screening of the film.

Jacksonville will also welcome nearly 100 former players back to TIAA Bank Field for Legends Weekend.  The team will host a series of events for former players including a screening of “71.”

Wentz, Commanders, overcome adversity to defeat Jaguars

The past three years have been full of ups and downs for Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz, and Sunday was the same. 

In the first half, Wentz, who was starting for his third team and three seasons, was solid as he threw two touchdown passes and the Commanders led the Jaguars 14-3 at halftime. But, in the fourth quarter, with the Commanders leading 14-12, things got a little crazy. Wentz threw two interceptions on consecutive drives, and the Jaguars took a 22-14 lead.

However, against his former coach Doug Pederson, Wentz bounced back and led Washington on two scoring drives, including a 49-yard touchdown pass to Terry McLaurin and a 24-yard touchdown connection with rookie Jahan Dotson as Washington defeated the Jaguars 28-22 in the season-opener at FedEx Field.

Wentz completed 27-of-41 passes for 313 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions, and he became the first quarterback in franchise history to throw four-plus touchdowns in his first game with the organization.

After the win, Wentz discussed the bad stretch in the fourth quarter.

“It was an ugly stretch, obviously,” he said. “Any time you get back-to-back, turnovers. That’s never fun. First one I threw, the guy made a good play, but that was a bad decision. The second one made a play came outta nowhere. Tough break, ideally just dirt that one, but yeah, it’s a tough stretch there to bounce back from, but guys did a good job. Everybody was rallying around each other, and obviously, we got it done.”

Commanders head coach Ron Rivera added on Wentz: “Well, first off(interception), he comes to the sideline after the second one and kind of beat the ground a little bit. But we both looked at each other, and I said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna have to win this.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I will.’ And just walked away. He said it so confidently, and that was good to see..  So I think because of who he is and because of his ability to be able to brush things off, I think that’s a pretty strong person.”

Despite the picks, Wentz stayed confident in himself and the team.

“I got nothing but confidence in them, and I know they look at me, and they have nothing but confidence in me,” Wentz said. “And so when you feel that, obviously it’s a tough feeling, but at the same time, it’s who else is gonna be if it’s time for us to step up and, and get it done. Like I said, we rallied together, and they picked me up. I picked them up. It was huge for us to come out and do that the way we did that.”

Clearly, Wentz is going to have to clean up the interceptions. The two picks were unacceptable, but most importantly, he overcame them, and Washington got the win.

Notes: 

-Wentz was the first Washington quarterback to throw for 300-plus yards and four touchdowns
in a single game since Kirk Cousins did so on December 26, 2015 against the Philadelphia
Eagles.

-Wentz is the first Washington quarterback to throw for four-plus touchdowns in a Week 1
contest since Billy Kilmer did so in 1975. The only other Washington quarterback to accomplish
the feat was Sonny Jurgensen in 1968.

Commanders’ Rivera on Wentz: ‘I think we have a guy that we can now establish and rally around’

It’s hard to win in the NFL when you don’t have stability at the quarterback position, and for the Washington Commanders, finding that franchise quarterback has been tricky.

Over the last five seasons, Washington has had a different starting quarterback, and 2022 will make it the sixth consecutive season as quarterback Carson Wentz will start for the team when they host the Jaguars in the season-opener on Sunday.

Wentz is on his third team in three seasons, and he’s trying to prove he can still be a franchise quarterback. The 29-year-old is talented and was on course to be league MVP in 2017 until he tore his ACL late in the season. 

According to Commanders head coach Ron Rivera, Washington has a quarterback they can rally around. 

“Well, I think we have a quarterback. I do,’ he said Monday. “I think we have a guy that can help us. I mean, not to say we didn’t have some quality quarterbacks. Again, we did some pretty good things with when we had Alex Smith playing for us. I thought that was a great job by him, and again, I thought last year Taylor [Heinicke] did the things that he needed to do to help us. But I think we have a guy that we can now, you know, establish and rally around and build off of, which is what we tried to do in the off-season, as far as making sure we had a stout offensive line to protect him and in the playmakers and again, I’ll always refer to that cuz I think that’s what you have to do. Now in our circumstances, in our situation, I think we have a guy that, you know, we can establish and, and build around.”

Doug Pederson, who drafted and coached Wentz for five seasons in Philadelphia, says the seven-year veteran displays a ton of confidence.

He’s athletic, a big guy, and if you get a chance to tackle him, you’ve got to get him on the ground; he can make you pay with his legs,” Pederson said about Wentz. “I think he does play with a lot of confidence, honestly, and those guys around him will definitely support him.”

Kerrigan named assistant defensive line coach:

The Washington Commanders announced today that Ryan Kerrigan has been named assistant defensive line coach. Kerrigan will fill the role previously held by Jeff Zgonina who was promoted to the role of defensive line coach in training camp after the team fired Sam Mills III.

Kerrigan signed a one-day contract on July 29th, retiring as a member of the Burgundy and Gold. He is the Commanders all-time official sack leader.

Jags’ Pederson talks the signing of Luton, McCourt

The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed QB Jake Luton and claimed K James McCourt off of waivers from the Los Angeles Chargers, the team announced today.

In addition, Jacksonville waived K Ryan Santoso, who was inconsistent this summer and made only 3 of 6 field goals in three preseason games. 

McCourt, an undrafted rookie free agent in 2022, spent six years at Illinois (2016-21), spending his first three seasons as a reserve before taking over as the primary kicker in 2019. He connected on 18 of 23 field goals in 2021, including tying a school record with four 50-plus yard field goals.

Jaguars coach Doug Pederson is impressed by what McCourt brings to the table.

“It’s impressive,” Pederson said about McCourt’s leg strength. “That part of it we like, and obviously the consistency is what you look for in kickers, and it will be a good opportunity for him. For us, just keep going through the process; we’ve still got a little bit of time before kicks mean something. It will be a good opportunity for him.”

Last week, the team signed E.J. Perry and waived Luton, who spent training camp with the Jaguars in 2020 and 2021 and has appeared in two preseason games with Jacksonville in 2022, but today, they brought him back; Pederson explained the decision.

“I just want to get C.J.(Beathard) 100% healthy,” Pederson said. “It just looked and appeared on film that he wasn’t 100 percent healthy coming off his injury from the spring, and this gives him time to get healthy, and it’s a great opportunity for Jake to get some more time and be seen and get some more reps. Hopefully, he can take advantage of that.”

In three career regular season games, all in 2020 with the Jaguars, Luton completed 60 of 110 passes for 624 yards and two TDs.

The kicking game is essential, and it’s sometimes overlooked, so clearly, the team did not feel comfortable with Santoso.

Regarding Luton, it appears Jacksonville is trying to protect Beathard and get him healthy for the season while, at the same time, allowing Luton to get some valuable reps as the team has joint practices coming up with the Falcons this week before they play their final preseason game against Atlanta on Saturday. 

With the joint practices, and Jacksonville playing its fourth preseason game, you wonder if Trevor Lawrence and Beathard will play on Saturday, which means Perry and Luton will possibly battle it out for a practice squad spot as the team is not expected to carry three quarterbacks on its active roster.

Jags’ Allen: ‘It feels good to be a part of a professional locker room’

In 2021, the Jacksonville Jaguars struggled from the start to the end; they won only three games and fired their head coach Urban Meyer 13 games into the season.

Meyer, who won big on the collegiate level, had many hiccups last season, including being seen on video dancing with another woman who was not his wife after staying back in Ohio following the team’s tough loss to Cincinnati.

In addition, former Jaguars K Josh Lambo accused Meyer of kicking him before practice last August, which Meyer denied.

However, Meyer, who many felt treated NFL players like college kids, is gone, and Doug Pederson, who won a Super Bowl with the Eagles in 2017, is the head guy in Jacksonville.

According to Jaguars LB Josh Allen, the team now has a “professional locker room.”

 “It feels good to be a part of a professional locker room, not only in the locker room but also when you talk to the coaches,” Allen said. “It’s a professional setting. You have to hone in to the details. If you’re not listening to the details, it’s not getting onto you; it’s telling you what’s right and what’s wrong. As guys, as grown men, we’ve got to understand that, and he puts it in a way we can understand it and grow. He’s not getting on us, he’s letting us know what’s real, and he’s talking to us like grown men. With that, nothing but respect. We want to grow. We want to be great, and plus, he has the respect in his resume. We want to be an organization where we can get to that point someday. If we do things right and we listen, I feel like we can get to that point.”

Clearly, Jacksonville made a mistake when they hired Meyer. He was not the guy for the job. With the addition of Trevor Lawrence last season, there was a lot of excitement around the team, but incident after incident and report after report kept coming out of Jacksonville, none of which were pretty.

Fortunately for the team, it’s a new day and a new year.

Walker is excited to focus on one position in Jacksonville

The Jacksonville Jaguars had the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft for the second year in a row. Last season, they went offense and grabbed QB Trevor Lawrence. This season, they went defense as they selected former Georgia DE Travon Walker.

The Jaguars are hoping to strengthen a defense that was 27th in the NFL in sacks last season and is hoping that Walker, whose versatility allowed him played various positions on the defensive line at Georgia, can help improve the pass rush.

In Jacksonville, Walker will be able to focus on one position, which will probably be defensive end. and he believes that will help him be better on the next level.

“Just to all the people that say that I can’t pass rush or do whatever I didn’t, wasn’t as productive at Georgia,” Walker said at his introductory press conference on Friday. “I’ve never really just played one position consistently, so I feel like I’ll be able to grow as a player once I just focus on one main position…

 “I see myself playing on the edge, five-technique, anything on the outside on the edge. At Georgia, I was just, like you said, I always told my coaches I’d do anything to get on the field, so therefore, I played everything from a zero nose all the way out to a nine, wide, six technique.”

Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson added on Walker: “As Travon alluded to, put him in one spot and let him grow in one spot. And obviously, there is versatility, so as we grow with him and as he understands what we’re doing schematically, we can move him around the defense just a little bit. But it’s just a matter of getting him in here, getting him acclimated, getting him around the teammates, and getting him started with the defense. Really solidify him in one spot and let him grow in one spot.”

Walker will see some familiar faces in Jacksonville, including Lawrence and his former Georgia teammate, corner Tyson Campbell.

“I’d have to say I’m pretty close with Trevor Lawrence,” he said. “I’ve known him ever since high school, so I feel like he’ll be somebody who takes me under his wing. I came on my top-30 visit; he was working out, he ran up to me, so I just feel like we already have that bond. I have Tyson Campbell here as well to help me.”

Walker, who had a career-high six sacks last season at Georgia, says the best advice he received was to be himself, which he discussed Friday.

“They just tell me to be myself,” Walker said. “They tell me to stay humble like I’ve always been, and they know I’m a hard worker. I’m a person who’s going to give it my all. They just tell me to be who I always have been.”

Jacksonville was 28th in points allowed in 2021, and they focused on defense in the first round. The Jaguars grabbed for Utah LB Devin Lloyd with the 27th overall pick. The team hopes that Walker and Lloyd can help improve make their defense more formidable in 2022 and beyond.

Jaguars exercise fifth-year option on DE/OLB Josh Allen

The Jacksonville Jaguars have exercised the fifth-year option on DE/OLB Josh Allen, the team announced Thursday.

Allen will have a guaranteed salary of $11.5 million in 2023.

The 24-year-old is entering his fourth season with the team after originally being drafted by Jacksonville in the first round (seventh overall) in the 2019 draft. He has appeared in 40 games (26 starts) and has recorded 128 total tackles, including 25 tackles for loss and 20.5 sacks, five passes defensed, three forced fumbles and one interception.

Allen was voted as a team captain the last two seasons and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2019. He was the first rookie in Jaguars history to be selected to the Pro Bowl.

In 2021, Allen recorded 15 starts, 71 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks, four passes defensed, one forced fumble, one interception and one fumble recovery. Following the team’s Week 9 victory against the Bills, Allen was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after recording a career-high eight tackles, including two tackles for loss and 1.0 sack, one INT and one fumble recovery.

Jags C Brandon Linder announces retirement from NFL

The Jacksonville Jaguars have placed C Brandon Linder on the reserve/retired list, the team announced today.

Linder, 30, spent eight seasons in the NFL, all with the Jaguars. He’s battled injuries in the last few seasons. Linder suffered a knee injury in 2018 and missed seven games. He missed seven more games with an ankle injury in 2020, and last season, he missed eight games due to MCL and ankles injuries. 

He was selected by the Jaguars in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Here are statements from Jaguars GM Trent Baalke and Linder.

Statement from General Manager Trent Baalke:

“Congratulations to Brandon Linder and his family on an excellent NFL career. Brandon spent the entirety of his career here in Jacksonville and earned the respect of his teammates, the fans, and everyone within the Jaguars organization. He became the first player in franchise history to earn the distinction of a gold jersey patch representative of being a five-time captain. Off the field, he represented the team with pride as an ambassador in the community. For everything he’s contributed both on and off the field, we thank him and wish him the best in retirement.”

 Statement from Offensive Lineman Brandon Linder:

To the city of Jacksonville,

“Eight years ago, you welcomed me like a family member and have continued to support me unconditionally. I have grown to love this city, where I have put down roots with my family, made lifelong friends, and cultivated my passion for the outdoors. After much reflection, I have realized that the man I currently aspire to be is no longer aligning with the person I must become to play this game. It is at this time that I have decided to close this chapter of my life and retire from the NFL. 

“I started playing football when I was seven, and I have always played with my whole heart for the opportunity to win. I have spent most of my life sacrificing my body, mind, and time in order to fulfill my dreams. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities that were presented to me and all the doors that have opened because of football. I have learned valuable life lessons and have had many unforgettable experiences that I will cherish forever. I am thankful to my teammates, coaches, family, and friends for helping me grow in the sport and support me in becoming a master at my craft.

“To my teammates, I want to thank you for sacrificing yourselves entirely to the sport. The experiences that we have gone through together is why the brotherhood that we have created is so special. I will miss that the most.

“I am grateful to be able to fulfill my goal of retiring a lifetime Jaguar. Jacksonville will remain my home. I am excited to chase new dreams, and I’m looking forward to all of the great things to come in the future.”

 

 

Cardinals, Packers, Jaguars, Saints, Buccaneers to play international games in 2022

The Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play international games during the 2022 season, the league announced Monday.

The Buccaneers, two-time Super Bowl champions, will play in the NFL’s inaugural regular-season game in Munich, Germany, while the Cardinals will play in Mexico City, where they hosted the league’s first-ever regular-season game outside the United States in 2005.

The Packers will make their first international trip, becoming the 32nd NFL team to play in London since 2007. The Saints will play in the UK for the third time, having won on two previous occasions. The Jaguars previously announced that they will play a home game at Wembley Stadium in 2022.

Last year, as part of the League’s expansion of the regular season to 17 games, it was determined that, beginning with the 2022 season, up to four of the teams from the conference whose teams were eligible for a ninth regular-season home game would instead be designated to play a neutral-site international game each year.

Designated international teams in 2022:

Country (City)

Stadium

Team

Germany (Munich)

FC Bayern Munich Stadium

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mexico (Mexico City)

Estadio Azteca

Arizona Cardinals

United Kingdom (London)

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Green Bay Packers

New Orleans Saints

United Kingdom (London)

Wembley Stadium

Jacksonville Jaguars

As previously announced, Munich and Frankfurt were chosen to stage regular-season games in Germany over the next four years.  The first game will feature the Buccaneers.

The Packers will become the 32nd NFL team to play in London since 2007.

The Saints will return to London to play their first game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after having played at Wembley Stadium in 2008 and 2017.

The Jaguars, who played at Tottenham last season, will return to Wembley Stadium for the first time since 2019, having played there for seven straight seasons.

Jags’ Lawrence on being named the starter: ‘I am really excited for the opportunity’

In a shocker(sarcasm), Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer named Trevor Lawrence the team’s starting quarterback for Week 1 against the Houston Texans on Wednesday.

Meyer started today’s press conference with the following:

“Trevor [Lawrence] ‘s going to be the starter in Week 1,” Meyer said. “He will start this week as well.”

Meyer waited the first few weeks of training camp and two preseason games to do the inevitable, which was name Lawrence the starter, and he explained why.

“We wanted him to earn it, as we do with every position,” Meyer said. We felt he has, after the last [game], nice performance. It was good, obviously not great, but we didn’t run the ball very well. I kind of, in my mind, had that as of after the second preseason [game] that we kind of have to get somebody ready to play in three weeks.”

The number one overall pick is excited to be the starter for Jacksonville.

 “It was good, man; we talked about it in our QB room,” Lawrence said. “We have a great group, so I am really excited for the opportunity, but it doesn’t really change anything. We still have the same task in front of us — got to get a lot better individually, as a team, and an offense, so just looking forward to going to work this week. You know it brings some clarity which is nice going forward, but it really doesn’t change much. But, yes, I am really excited for the opportunity and grateful or it.”

According to Lawrence, he got plenty of support from Gardner Minshew and the other quarterbacks on the roster.

 “We more so talked about it in our QB room, and really like I said, we have a great group,” Lawrence said. “You know Minsh [Gardner Minshew] has been awesome and treating me really well. We have had a lot of conversations, and he has been a guy that I have been able to learn from, and CJ [Beathard] and Jake [Luton] and all those guys. We are all in it together; we are all on the same team, and at the end of the day, that is the most important thing. It has been good — moving forward, we are not making it bigger than it is. I am going to be the starter and just have to play well, so that does not change.”

Obviously, this was always Lawrence’s job, and now if Jacksonville is fortunate, this will be Lawerence’s job for many years.