GM Caldwell Says It’s Not Likely WR Blackmon Will Be Back in 2015

Jacksonville Jaguars v Denver Broncos

Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon has had major issues the entire time he’s been with the Jaguars, and now it appears if he’s going to keep playing in the NFL, it will have to take place elsewhere.

Jacksonville GM David Caldwell said today that the Jaguars have not spoken to Blackmon and that it’s not likely that he will be back with the team this season.

“I have not heard anything and I guess I harbor a little bit of hope but realistically I think when you’re away from the game for two-and-a-half years what you were once is not what you probably will be,” Caldwell said. “Your skills do erode and especially if you’re not staying in tip-top shape and you’re not in football shape.

“I don’t know to expect but I would say common sense would probably be if you haven’t played football in two-and-a-half years apparently that’s not a priority for you.”

Blackmon, whom the Jaguars took with the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft, hasn’t practiced or played since Week 8 of the 2013 season. That was when the NFL suspended him indefinitely for his third violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. He must apply for reinstatement and then go through a nearly two-month long vetting process before he can hope to get back on the field.

According to the attorney who handled Blackmon’s most recent court appearance, Blackmon completed a voluntary drug rehab program in 2014. He was in court in Edmond, Oklahoma, on Nov. 20, 2014 to plead no contest to misdemeanor marijuana possession.

That plea was the result of his July 23, 2014 arrest, when Edmond Police Department officers stopped him for a traffic violation and said they could smell the odor of marijuana coming from his car.

That was Blackmon’s third arrest, and his second in Oklahoma. He was arrested in Texas in 2010 on a misdemeanor DUI charge (later reduced to underage alcohol possession) after police officers caught him speeding outside of Dallas. He was arrested again in May 2012 – less than a month after the Jaguars drafted the former Oklahoma State standout — during a traffic stop in Stillwater, Oklahoma, after a breath test allegedly showed his blood alcohol content to be three times the legal limit.

That arrest put him in the NFL’s substance abuse program.

Blackmon caught 64 passes for 865 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie, but he failed an offseason drug test and was suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season. Blackmon returned for Weeks 5-8 and caught 29 passes for 415 yards and one touchdown before the NFL suspended him indefinitely following his third violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy.

The Jaguars have not cut Blackmon and Caldwell has said numerous times the team has no plans to do so. Blackmon’s spot on the reserve/suspended list means he doesn’t count against the roster limit or salary cap and the Jaguars do not have to pay his salary. His contract paused upon his suspension, so he would have 2 1/2 years left on his deal with the Jaguars if he were ever to return to the NFL.

Jaguars DE Chris Clemons Misses the First Day of Camp

New York Giants  v Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars defensive end Chris Clemons did not report for the first day of training camp according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.

Head coach Gus Bradley insisted that Clemons was missing due to a personal issue but this is a guy who also failed to participate in the voluntary portion of the offseason workout, presumably because he is unhappy with his contract and with his reduced role as a situational pass rusher.

“If you would ask me if it’s concerning, I would say, ‘Yeah,’” Bradley said. “This one is a little concerning. My hope is we can work through this. I talked to him last night and again this morning. Hopefully we can come up with a decision to speed this up a little quicker. I don’t see this as a situation that’s extended. We’re sensitive toward [it being a personal issue], but we also need some urgency.”

The “Biggest Gut-Punch Loss” in Jaguars History? SI Goes Back To 2008 for Their Pick

New England Patriots Kevin Faulk

Sports Illustrated has put out a piece on the “Biggest gut-punch loss” for each and every franchise, the Jags included.

The game that the author the piece, Doug Farrar, picked is an interesting one – the teams 2008 playoff loss to the Patriots, a game that saw the undefeated Pats top the Jags led by Byron Leftwich.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Jan. 12, 2008, AFC divisional round—Patriots 31, Jaguars 20

Outside of the Giants, who played them close in the regular season and beat them in Super Bowl XLII, the 2007 Patriots may have found their most serious challenge in the divisional round of their 18–1 season when they faced the Jaguars. Jacksonville kept the game close until the third quarter, when Tom Brady faked that a snap went directly to running back Kevin Faulk and instead threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker for the go-ahead score. Brady was at his most efficient, completing 26 of 28 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns on short passes while the Jags put half their defense on Randy Moss. That was the last time the Jaguars made the postseason.

While this was a tough loss, most would pick to the loss to the Titans in the AFC Title Game in 1999, a loss that was the 3rd of the season to Tennessee, and their only 3 losses of the season.

 

Video: Jaguars and Packers Expected to Play in London in 2016

Green+Bay+Packers+v+Jacksonville+Jaguars+ZpeQNrSTLORl

The Packers are expected to play the Jaguars in London in 2016. Damon Amendolara and Jason La Canfora discuss.

 

Jacksonville’s quest to snap their playoff drought since the 2007-08 season starts at training camp, where fans can see the first on-field action at the Florida Blue Health & Wellness Practice Fields. Flights to Jacksonville through Hipmunk.com are quick to reserve, in addition to Jacksonville hotels starting from $61 that makes Hipmunk any NFL fan’s No. 1 travel resource.

Jaguars GM Caldwell Says QB Bortles Suffered From “Dead Arm” Last Season

Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans

The Jaguars are expecting quarterback Blake Bortles to make a significant jump in his second year, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports.

For all the focus on fixing the deteriorating mechanics that plagued the Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback, who threw 17 interceptions and took 55 sacks in his trying rookie season, the shoulder problems that increasingly threw things out of whack down the stretch in 2014 shouldn’t be overlooked.

But the way Bortles came through it all mentally seems to have only strengthened the team’s resolve that their surprise decision to draft him third overall was the right one.

“People don’t realize that as you look later in the season, he was on injury report,” general manager Dave Caldwell said after the team wrapped up its offseason program last month.

“You’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do to survive. It wasn’t anything that was ingrained in him (mechanically). He knew he was doing it. But in order to drive the ball 15 yards, there were some things that he needed to do to get the velocity on the ball.”

Bortles’ shoulder didn’t require surgery, said Caldwell, who referred to it as a “dead arm” suffering from inflammation, forcing a reduction in practice reps after roughly 17 months straight of throwing through the quarterback’s last year at Central Florida, the pre-draft process and his first NFL season.

A toe injury suffered in a December loss to the Baltimore Ravens exacerbated things by disrupting Bortles’ footwork but didn’t stop him from making a start four days later against the Tennessee Titans (one of the Jaguars’ three wins).

“We wanted a guy that played with no fear, was very aggressive in his mindset and (had a) very strong mindset,” Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said. “To go through a season like that … that would affect quite a few people. But he took on all those challenges, and he didn’t flinch.”

Bortles’ health wasn’t solely to blame for his struggles. He even downplays the injuries’ impact, saying he “wouldn’t blame anything on it. I was fine to play” — not that the Jaguars would expect the laid back 23-year-old from nearby Oviedo, Fla., to say anything else. It hasn’t done much to slow Bortles’ work this offseason, either.

After giving the arm some rest, he traveled to California for a week that turned into two months of rebuilding his mechanics with noted quarterback whisperer Tom House. Bortles also put in time with free agent Jordan Palmer, who trained him for his pro day last year.

Caldwell said those sessions made a tangible impact on how Bortles is throwing the ball. Bortles hopes tightening his motion and learning how to better use his whole body can help him keep his arm healthy, too.

“We know, come game day, he can do the stuff — the off-schedule things, the out-of-the-pocket stuff — that’s part of the reason we drafted him,” Caldwell said. “But now that this is looking the way it’s supposed to, it’s encouraging.”

In 14 games (13 starts), Bortles threw for just 11 touchdowns. His 69.5 passer rating was the worst among QBs with at least 150 attempts. He cracked 200 yards passing just twice in his last six starts — a stretch that coincided with the loss of his favorite target, Robinson, to a broken foot.

Asked if it was a good thing he played at all, Bortles answered, “Yeah. I learned a ton. … For me, it was good to get out there and kind of take live bullets and learn on the go and figure things out as they came.”

Of course, attacking NFL defenses late in the season should be far easier with a live arm.

“A lot of it was good until some of those (injuries) happen,” said Caldwell. “Now he’s gotten healthy, and he’s gotten back to really taking care of his body. I just asked him today, ‘How’s your body feel compared to this time last year?’

“He said it’s night and day, man.”

Jaguars Lose Top Draft Pick Dante Fowler To Torn ACL

NFL Draft

Dante Fowler Jr., the Jaguars No. 3 overall selection by the Jaguars in the 2015 NFL Draft, sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the team’s first rookie minicamp practice Friday, the team confirmed. He is expected to miss the 2015 season.

Fowler, who played collegiately at the University of Florida, went down holding his left knee during a team drill midway through the practice at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields. He was rushing the passer in a team drill, and though he was being blocked by tryout right tackle Watts Dantzler, there didn’t appear to be significant contact between the players.

Fowler, who had been working early in practice at the team’s Leo pass rusher positon – the position the team expects him to play in Bradley’s defense – left the field with the help of trainers. He did not appear to be putting significant weight on the leg.

Trainers attended to Fowler before he was taken inside EverBank Field – which is adjacent to the team’s practice fields – on a cart.

Jaguars Select Ohio State DT Michael Bennett in 6th Round

Ohio State Buckeyes v Indiana Hoosiers11-23-2013

The Jaguars have selected Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Bennett in the sixth round of the NFL draft.

The Jaguars took Bennett with the 180th overall pick, getting a productive college player who should provide depth along the D-line.

Jacksonville will be without starting defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks for at least the beginning of training camp. Marks tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the season finale and is working to return this fall.

The 6-foot-2, 288-pound Bennett started every game the last two seasons for the Buckeyes. He is the second defensive linemen selected by the Jaguars in the draft, joining Florida defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. Jacksonville chose Fowler with the third overall pick Thursday night.

With the NFL Draft complete, it’s now up to Jaguars fans to do their part by showing up games at home or on the road. Hipmunk.com can be any fans No. 1 travel resource, with flights to and from Jacksonville, as well as hotels in any major city near any stadium, including four Jacksonville hotel options under $70 per night.

Jaguars Take DL/OLB Done Fowler Jr. With Third Pick of NFL Draft

2015 NFL Scouting Combine

The Jags went big on their defensive line on Thursday with the third overall pick, taking Done Fowler Jr., a guy who lines up at defensive end, but can really play a number of positions.

As Jon Gruden said – ‘he’s a long armed freak show.’

Let’s hope. Here’s a scouting report on Fowler.

Coming out of St. Petersburg, Florida, Fowler joined the Gators as a top recruit for Will Muschamp. Fowler was expected to star in the same role in Muschamp’s defense that had previously produced the likes of Brian Orakpo and Sergio Kindle. Fowler lived up the billing as he turned into a dynamite player for the Gators.

Fowler was a First-Team All-SEC Freshman-Team selection in 2012 even though he was a backup. Fowler recorded 47 tackles with 10.5 tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks that year. Fowler won a starting job as a sophomore and flashed the ability to be special. He racked up 50 tackles with 10.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, one pass batted and three forced fumbles for 2013. Fowler played well against good competition, but his first year as a full-time player displayed some bouts of inconsistency.

Fowler took his game to another level in 2014 as he totaled 60 tackles with 8.5 sacks, 15 tackles for a loss, one pass broken up and a forced fumble. The junior killed East Carolina’s offensive tackles in bowl season as he recorded three sacks and put quarterback Shane Carden into the turf roughly. Fowler had four tackles with a sack against Florida State to close out the regular season. He also made big impacts against Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and LSU. Fowler fought through some double-teams in 2014 and showed a consistent motor.

At the Combine, Fowler was excellent. He ran very well with a 4.61-second time in the 40-yard dash. Fowler also had one of the fastest times in the first 10 yards of any front seven defender at 1.59 seconds. In the field drills, he displayed quick feet and athleticism.

Fowler looks like he has the potential to become a double-digit sack-artist in the NFL. He is very fast and athletic off the edge. Fowler beats tackles around the corner with his speed and will dart back to the inside or use a spin move. He also is tough. Fowler has some shock to his hands and uses them to shed blocks and bull rush effectively on occasion. Fowler is a versatile edge rusher who can rush standing up, putting his hand in the ground, or moving over the interior linemen. Florida moved him all over the front seven, and he was tough for offensive linemen to block.

Fowler is physical with blockers while being an occasionally violent hitter. Routinely, he would put quarterbacks and running backs into the turf hard while showing the ability to make some momentum-changing plays.

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