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.

Jags’ Robinson named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month

Jacksonville Jaguars RB James Robinson has been named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for his performance in September, the league announced today. 

Robinson has started all three games for the Jaguars and leads the team in scrimmage yards (339), rushing yards (210) and TDs (three). An undrafted rookie out of Illinois State, Robinson became the first undrafted player in NFL history to post at least 300 scrimmage yards and multiple TDs through three career games, and his 339 scrimmage yards are the most ever by an undrafted player through three career games. His 339 scrimmage yards and 210 rushing yards are both the most in team history through a player’s first three games. 

Robinson has improved with every game, totaling 90 scrimmage yards (62 rushing, 28 receiving) in Week 1 vs. Indianapolis, 120 scrimmage yards and one TD in Week 2 at Tennessee (102 rushing, 18 receiving) and 129 scrimmage yards (46 rushing, 83 receiving) and two TDs in Week 3 vs. Miami. 

 Among rookies, Robinson ranks first in touchdowns, first in first downs (16), tied for first in rushes of at least 10 yards (six), second in scrimmage yards, second in rushing yards, fifth in receiving yards (129, first among running backs) and sixth in receptions (10, second among running backs).

 Robinson becomes the second consecutive Jaguars player to win NFL Rookie of the Month in the opening month of the season, joining QB Gardner Minshew II, who earned the award in September 2019. 

 

Colts’ Rivers on loss to Jaguars: ‘It’s a frustrated locker room because we expected to win the game’

Coming into the 2020 NFL season, the Indianapolis Colts had high hopes. The team added QB Philip Rivers, and many had Indianapolis as one of the favorites to win the AFC South, but against the team that many thought would be one of the worst teams in football, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Colts would lose on the road 27-20 on Sunday.

“I’m frustrated because you know what type of team we are, you know what type of team we have, you know the type of players we have in this locker room,” Colts LB Darius Leonard said after the game. “Like I said, it doesn’t matter what you have on paper; you have to find a way to get the job done. I know, especially defensively, we had too many miscues, too many mistakes, especially by me. I’m a leader on this team, and there were a couple times I messed up on. One run I was playing for the slant, and they run the ball for 10 yards. It’s just things like that that we can’t have. We’ve got to go to the film, got have a quick turnaround on Sunday, got to stop the run, and got to do everything we have to do to get a win.”

Colts quarterback Philip Rivers added: “It’s a frustrated locker room because we expected to win the game, but it’s also a very motivated and looking-forward locker room that we know what we’re capable of and it’s just a matter of keeping your head down and moving forward.”

In his Colts’ debut, Rivers was okay. He threw for 365 yards with one touchdown, but two costly interceptions. Indianapolis out-gained the Jaguars by over 200 yards(445-241), but that does not matter when you don’t win.

“I think us as players, just from my time with [Head Coach] Frank [Reich], he’s always going to do his best to shield us from the blame when he can,” Rivers said. “But, shoot, ultimately the ball’s in my hand… 

“I know we went for a couple of fourth downs, but we didn’t punt today and [had] 500 and something yards of offense. But the name of the game is to score more points than the other team. We didn’t get that done. It’s early in the season. Obviously, we have a long way to go and a lot of areas we can improve in, but I think we’ll get that done. So a lot of positives today, but ultimately, it wasn’t enough.”

It’s early in the season, but seeing Rivers, who threw 20 interceptions last season, turning the ball over, is not a good sign for Indianapolis. However, Colts head coach Frank Reich is not concerned.

“I don’t have any concern,” Reich said. “Obviously, the first interception, that was on me. It was a bad call. It was the wrong call. We set the formation the wrong way, and it was on me. They played a two-man trap which they haven’t shown. It was not on tape, and obviously, we watched a lot of tape on them. Good job by them on mixing it up. I made it even harder by putting the formation in the boundary and made it easier for them to make that play. It was just bad by me. Philip made some unbelievable plays on third down, some plays to keep drives alive. For us to score the points that we scored, I have no concerns about Philip. We have to play better on offense.”

This was a bad loss for the Colts, but they have 15 more games to get it right, and that starts next week in the home-opener against Minnesota.

Minshew: ‘I’m very excited for our young guys who really stepped up’

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew was almost perfect against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. The second-year quarterback was 19/20 with 173 yards and three touchdowns as the Jaguars defeated the Colts 27-20 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville.

Minshew became the fourth player in NFL history to throw at least three TD passes and complete at least 95.0 percent of his passes in a single game.

“I’m just super grateful,” Minshew said about his near-perfect performance. “My mindset today was just to play one play at a time. I have got an offensive coordinator that is calling good plays, receivers that caught the ball, an offensive line that is giving me time, and a running game that really got us ahead of the chains. I’m just trying to do my job one play at a time, and I’m very grateful for the opportunities and the people around me.”

For Minshew to perform at a high level, he needed help from his young core, including rookie WR Laviska Shenault Jr., who had three receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown.

“Laviska [Shenault Jr.] is awesome,” Minshew said. “He’s one of those guys that plays receiver, but he runs the ball like a running back, and we just find ways to get the ball into his hands. Even the touchdown to DJ [Chark Jr.] worked because they were worried about Laviska catching the ball when we were pumping it down to him. I’m very excited for him, and I think he’s going to continue to work and stay humble, and I think he’s going to do really good things for us.”

Also, rookie free agent RB James Robinson was huge for Jacksonville on Sunday. He ran for 62 yards and had one reception for 28 yards.

“All week, really all camp, we knew what we had in James, and we knew he could do it,” Minshew said. “I’m so happy for him, a guy who really got overlooked in the whole process. He is a guy that I identify with. Coming out of high school, a very productive player, but didn’t get recruited like he should. Super productive in college, but didn’t get scouted like he should. He’s a great football player, and I’m super glad he got the opportunity to get out there, and he made the most of it.”

Winning helps young players and young teams, and Minshew discussed how vital wins are for a young team.

“It’s huge,” he said. “Until you actually do it, there’s a part of it. You have to prove it to yourself. We had a lot of rookies and second-year players step up and make huge plays for us today. When they are playing with confidence, you love a young team that plays with confidence. They have the energy. They got that swag about them. I’m very excited for our young guys who really stepped up and made some huge plays for us today.”

Not many expected the Jaguars to win on Sunday, including Las Vegas, who had Jacksonville as  8-point underdogs against the Colts. However, Minshew played well, the young players stepped up, and the Jaguars start the season on a positive note.

Jags’ Minshew on being named captain: ‘That’s one of the highest honors you can have’

Year two of “Minshew Mania” starts on Sunday for Gardner Minshew and the Jacksonville Jaguars against the Indianapolis Colts. The second-year quarterback, who was 6-6 as a starter for the team in 2019, comes into 2020 as one of Jacksonville’s leaders, and on Monday, Minshew was named one of the team’s eight captains.

According to Minshew, being named captain is a tremendous honor. 

“It means everything,” Minshew said on Wednesday. “That’s one of the highest honors you can have is being voted on by your peers to represent them and to be their captain. Of all of the awards you can win, that’s one that really, to me, means a lot. It means the most because that’s really how you are with the guys around you and their opinion of you, and I think that’s the best judge of somebody.”

Wide receiver D.J. Chark added this about Minshew: “[It’s been] just from confidence of filling in, to just being his team—being the captain. I think that’s a big jump because you know that the guys in the locker room support you and they want you to succeed. [As] opposed to wishing that somebody else was quarterback and things like that. So, I think that’s the biggest thing that transfers on the field—translates to the field because when you’re dropping back, everybody on the team wants you to succeed. So, I think that’s the biggest thing and the confidence that he has.”

Minshew came out of nowhere for the Jaguars last season. The former 2019 sixth-round pick was not expected to play much at all last season, but injuries happened, and after getting his chance in 2019, Minshew threw for 3271 yards and 21 touchdowns, and while some were surprised by his play, Minshew said he prepared for that moment his whole football life. 

“It was something that I’ve been working for and preparing for really as long as I’ve played football,” he said. “It’s on a bigger stage now with higher competition, but the game’s still the same, the relationships you have are still the same, the preparation’s still the same. So, I think it’s something I’ve been preparing for a long time.”

While the Jaguars’ expectations are low in 2020, the pressure is on for Minshew to perform at a high level. If Jacksonville is tanking, as some think, this team will probably go in a different direction at the quarterback, especially if Minshew struggles. Therefore, he must be just as good, if not better, in 2020, but for now, it’s time to focus on the Colts.

Minshew is confident the Jaguars want to win in 2020

The Jacksonville Jaguars will look very different in 2020. Gone are Leonard Fournette, Nick Foles, Yannick Ngakoue, Calais Campbell, Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, and Ronnie Harrison, all who were starters on opening day for Jacksonville last season. Coming into this season, Jacksonville will be a young team. With youth, sometimes comes struggles, which could be the reality for the Jaguars.

“Yeah, I think it’s a double edge sword,” Minshew said about the team’s youth on Thursday. “I think experience really does help you learn. I know from my last year, getting those reps is better than any classroom learning or practice learning that you can do. But I’m also very excited; I think with that youth comes a lot of energy, a lot of excitement, and not much ego. I think everybody is coming together in a great way. And more than anything, I’m just excited to get everybody out there for the first time and really see what we’ve got.”

As a second-year quarterback, Minshew is one the young players on the team, and according to Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone, Minshew has improved in many areas, including leadership.

“Just obviously from a leadership standpoint obviously, you see him trying to help his teammates more whereas last year, at this time, he was trying to make the team and not knowing where he stood with the roster,” Marrone said about Minshew. “He’s worked considerably hard over the summer for accuracy and all those other things that every quarterback works on. He worked extremely hard and has taken a ton of reps trying to get all that experience.

“The toughest part about that position is obviously you need a skillset to play that position but the toughest part for, at least in my opinion, is putting them in all the different situations that’s going to occur during the course of a game. You’re constantly trying to manage the emotion of the player wanting to [say], ‘Hey, listen, I’m going to put this thing in the end zone. I’m going to through it in here because we have to score a touchdown.’ [But, you have to say,] ‘Hey listen, if it’s not there and you don’t need a touchdown, check it down, and maybe we can run it in.’ I’ve seen him become much better at the decision-making process of [when] to extend the play, when to throw it away when to take the calculated risk. So the experience of putting him in those positions is something I’ve seen him improve upon greatly.”

After a few trades, which netted draft picks for the Jaguars, many believe that winning is not a priority for Jacksonville this season, but Minshew disagrees.

“I think people see it from afar and see, ‘Oh they’re losing their biggest names,'” Minshew said. “But, that’s not how we feel. And I mean realistically, I know if we’re tanking, Coach [Doug] Marrone, Dave Caldwell and [I] are probably going to be out of jobs. So, I know us three, and a lot of those other guys in the locker room are not going to let that crap happen. So, I feel very confidently in everybody’s desire to win, and that’s absolutely not anything that we envision happening.”

The odds are stacked against Jacksonville, and with all the changes, it should be interesting to see what the Jaguars will be in 2020. 

 

 

 

Jaguars’ Mauro suspended five games by NFL for PEDs

Jacksonville Jaguars DE Josh Mauro has been suspended without pay for the first five games of the 2020 regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances, the league announced on Friday.

Mauro, 29, is eligible to participate in all preseason practices. He will be allowed to return to the Jaguars’ active roster on Monday, Oct. 12, following the team’s Week 5 game at Houston.

Jacksonville signed the seven-year veteran earlier this month. 

Mauro has appeared in 72 career games with 37 starts since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Arizona in 2014. In his six NFL seasons, including four with Arizona (2014-17), one with the New York Giants (2018), and one with Oakland (2019), Mauro has totaled 121 tackles (73 solo), 3.0 sacks, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.

Jaguars sign DT Timmy Jernigan

The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed seventh-year DT Timmy Jernigan, the team announced on Monday.

Jernigan, 27, spent the last three seasons with the Eagles. In 2019, he played in 10 games with Philadelphia and recorded 10 tackles and 2.0 sacks. The Ravens originally selected him in the second round (48th) of the 2014 NFL Draft. He played with Baltimore from 2014-16.

For his career, Jernigan has appeared in 71 games (51 starts) and totaled 132 tackles (70 solo), 29 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks. He started 15 games for the Eagles in 2017 and all three postseason games, including Philadelphia’s Super Bowl LII victory against New England. 

To make room for Jernigan, the team placed DT Rodney Gunter on the reserve/retired list. On Sunday, Gunter announced he was stepping away from the game due to a heart issue.

Jaguars sign Bruce Miller

The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed FB Bruce Miller and waived rookie FB Connor Slomka, the team announced today.

Miller, 33, last played in the NFL for the 49ers in 2015. He released by the team in 2016 after being arrested for allegedly assaulting a 70-year-old father and his son. He was charged with seven felonies. However, he was cleared of all charges.

According to ESPN.COM, Miller was also arrested in March 2015 in Santa Clara on suspicion of spousal battery after his then-fiancée accused him of shoving her and smashing her cellphone during an argument. He denied assaulting the woman and pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge.

The six-year veteran appeared in 77 games (47 starts) with San Francisco from 2011-15 and caught 76 passes for 734 yards and three TDs, adding 28 carries for 62 yards and one TD. In 2013, he recorded a career-high 25 receptions for 243 yards for the 49ers. Miller converted from defensive end to fullback during his tenure with the 49ers.

 

Jags’ Fournette talks Cam Newton, Minshew

Back in April, Jacksonville Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette made it known on social media and ESPN that he wanted the Jaguars to sign then free-agent QB Cam Newton after Carolina released Newton. Fournette’s comments made waves because Jacksonville had pretty much committed to Gardner Minshew as their quarterback after they traded Nick Foles to Chicago.

Here’s what Fournette told ESPN’s First Take about Newton back in April:

“Cam went to the Super Bowl,” Fournette said during an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” on Thursday. “He’s a great guy. I’ve been knowing Cam for a minute now. And like I told some people that talked to me, it’s no disrespect to (Gardner) Minshew. I’m just trying to get into the best position as a team so that we can win. That’s all that was about. Just a friendly competition because that brings out the best in people.”

On Monday, Fournette explained his comments.

“I talked to Gardner [Minshew] during the whole thing that they made it a big deal when I asked for Cam [Newton], and he understood where I was coming from,” Fournette said. “At the end of the day, I want to win. Who doesn’t want to win?

“I came from a 2017 season with a team who was 10-6, we had talent level and then the next couple of years went down the drain. So, I just want to address a lot of things, too, especially since the media came out and said I was an angry guy. Number one, would you be angry if you’re losing week in and week out? That is one of my biggest problems, I do get upset when we lose, and it takes me a while to get over it. I expect, just like anybody else, if you put the work in, you want the W, but a lot of times last year it didn’t go like that. I guess they kind of misinterpreted that, and don’t get me wrong, I was upset from the losing, but that’s just the winner in me. That’s any guy who plays this “”professional level of sports.”

When asked if he noticed anything different about Minshew, Fournette had this to say:

“His hair got long. He’s got a little more toned, most definitely he kind of defined his body out over the workouts he did in the summer so like I said we’ll see how everything comes together once the season comes.”

The 31-year-old Newton signed with the Patriots in July. At this point, after struggling with a shoulder and foot injury, Newton is seemingly healthy. Additionally, Newton, who won the league MVP and led the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2015, will be very motivated to play well so he can get another big contract. When healthy, there are not many quarterbacks as talented as Newton, so you understand why Fournette would want him in Jacksonville.  

Minshew, 24, had an outstanding rookie season. Among rookies quarterbacks, Minshew was second in passing yards(3271), second in touchdown passes(21), and first in wins(6), so he showed a lot of promise. In the short term, yes, Newton might have been the better option. However, some believe he is done. In the long run, Minshew, if he has the goods, could be the team’s franchise quarterback for years to come.  

By season’s end, we will probably know if Jacksonville made the right decision at quarterback, but at this moment, the debate continues.