JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jaguars off-season program came to a close on Thursday afternoon.
Head coach Doug Marrone often jokes that his players are out there in “pajamas” at this time of the year. That’s due to the fact players are not allowed to wear shoulder pads during the voluntary organized team activities or mandatory minicamp.
The Jaguars rookies and quarterbacks will report for the start of training camp on July 22 with the veterans following on July 24.
Here are a couple of notes about what we’ve learned about the 2019 Jacksonville Jaguars so far:
Nick Foles is exactly what the Jaguars were hoping for:
The Jaguars $88-million dollar investment is paying off so far. Again, there’s only so much you can see without shoulder pads on. But cornerback A.J. Bouye has noticed a difference with Foles under center.
“There were certain plays that you were making in the past years … You are there and even when you make the right breaks and everything, but the ball is only where the receiver can catch it,” said Bouye about practicing against Foles. “You can see that he is a leader out there, the way he carries his offense. The tempo of the offense is different, they are more upbeat, they are attacking us.”
Even wide receiver Dede Westbrook said that there’s a different vibe in the huddle with a former Super Bowl MVP calling the plays.
One thing that has been noticeable during the off-season program is that Foles attacks the defense down the field and his accuracy is a big upgrade over Blake Bortles.
Leonard Fournette will still be a huge part of this offense:
Yes, Foles will be counted on to lead this offense. However, Fournette will also play a starring role.
“He’s going to be a major reason for where our offense goes,” said offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. “I’m not going to sugarcoat that. Leonard Fournette needs to be a big part of this offense. The harder he works, which he is right now, I think that’s not only going to be good for our offense, but good for our team.”
During OTA’s and minicamp Fournette looked trim, quick on his feet and also showed off his catching ability. Health and maturity issues have been a question with him. So far neither of those items have been a concern this off-season.
Will Jaguars get a deal done with Ngakoue?
This is the biggest question between now and the start of training camp next month. Ngakoue missed most of OTA’s and skipped all of mandatory minicamp.
Statement from Jaguars’ DE Yannick Ngakoue: “I will not be attending minicamp as my contract has not been resolved. I remain committed to Jacksonville, the fans and my teammates. My hope is to be with Jacksonville for years to come.” — Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 10, 2019
“I know what I’m worth,” said Ngakoue during OTA’s last month.
The Jaguars defensive end is in the final year of his rookie deal, which will pay him just over $2 million in 2019. Over his first three seasons, Ngakoue has 80 tackles, 29.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles.
Guys who can consistently put pressure on the quarterback usually get paid. Earlier this offseason, defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence (Dallas) and Frank Clark (Kansas City) each signed new contracts that pay them an average of $20 million per season.
For comparison, Ngakoue stands to only make a total of $3.8 million over his first four seasons in the NFL.
If Ngakoue and the Jaguars don’t reach a deal things will get really interesting. At this point it’s not clear if Ngakoue would extend his holdout into the start of training camp.
We’ll all find out sometime between now and July 24.
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