Fantasy Now: Denard Robinson

November, 26, 2014
Nov 26


After a disappointing Week 12, is Denard Robinson poised for a bounce-back effort this week?

Jaguars planning to take new approach to offense

November, 26, 2014
Nov 26
Jaguars reporter Mike DiRocco says coach Gus Bradley wants his offense to focus more on its core plays for opponents and not new plays.
Reading the coverage of the Jacksonville Jaguars ...

Linebacker Telvin Smith says he doesn't believe in the rookie wall, and his recent play seems to prove that: He led the Jaguars with 12 tackles and recovered two fumbles in Sunday's 23-3 loss to Indianapolis. Smith told the Florida Times-Union's Hays Carlyon that if he starts to think about the length of the season then he'll start to feel sluggish.'s Brian Billick ranked the top 10 rookie receivers and he had Tampa Bay's Mike Evans No. 1. Allen Robinson came in at No. 10, but Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns did not make the list.'s Doug Farrar also ranked the rookie receivers, but he only did eight. Evans also was his No. 1, but no Jaguars rookie made his list.

After another frustrating loss, receiver Cecil Shorts discussed the Jaguars' passing game, rookie quarterback Blake Bortles, and whether he thinks the team can get on a roll to finish the season during a Q&A with the Times-Union.

The Jaguars' conservative play calling against the Colts did nothing to help Bortles, writes the T-U's Ryan O'Halloran.

The Associated Press writes that the Jaguars aren't making excuses for Bortles' poor play over the last month.



Wake-up call: Wednesday, Nov. 26

November, 26, 2014
Nov 26
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Here's a preview of what to watch for on Wednesday regarding the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Defensive end Andre Branch is expected to practice today for the first time since suffering a groin injury against Cleveland on Oct. 19, which means he should be on track to return to the lineup on Sunday against the New York Giants. The defense will certainly be boosted by his return but Chris Smith and Ryan Davis played well while he was out.

There was a lot of buzz and talk about the return of tight end Marcedes Lewis to the lineup last Sunday, but he had just one catch for minus-5 yards. He was targeted only three times, as well. It should be different this week.

The weekly buzz video, in which I explain what coach Gus Bradley meant when he said he wanted to take a closer look at the offense, will post at 11 a.m. ET.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Ridiculous. Sick. Amazing. Crazy. Phenomenal.

Those were all used to describe the one-handed (three-finger, actually) catch that New York Giants rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr. made against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. It certainly was the highlight of the weekend, not only among the league’s banner crop of rookie receivers, but the entire NFL.

Beckham caught 10 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns in that game. It was the third time he has surpassed 100 yards receiving in the past four games. Beckham has 41 catches for 609 yards this season and most of that has come in the past four games (31 for 503 yards).

Here is the latest look at the class or rookie receivers, which includes two Jaguars. They are ranked by targets, which is a true measure of how much a receiver is utilized. We’re using the qualifier of having a minimum of four targets per game (48 targets needed to qualify):

Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina (97 targets): The Panthers had a bye so he wasn’t able to pad his stats of 52 catches for 768 yards and eight touchdowns. His catches and yardage are second among rookie receivers and his eight TD catches is tied for the lead.

Sammy Watkins, Buffalo (89): The Bills were all over the Jets in a 38-3 rout, but Watkins contributed only three catches for 35 yards. He now has 48 catches for 684 yards and five touchdowns.

Allen Robinson, Jacksonville (80): He’s out for the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his right foot and finishes with 48 catches for 548 yards and two touchdowns. He has just one drop.

Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia (77): He caught six passes for 77 yards in the Eagles’ 43-24 victory over Tennessee. He has 50 catches for 635 yards and six touchdowns and is tied with two other players on the list for the fewest drops (one).

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay (77): He was targeted nine times but caught only three passes for 47 yards in the Bucs’ 21-13 loss to Chicago. One catch went for a touchdown, though, and that tied him with Benjamin for most TD catches by a rookie this season (eight). He has 49 catches and his 841 yards leads all rookies.

John Brown, Arizona (71): He was a non-factor in the Cardinals’ 19-3 loss to Seattle, catching just three passes for 61 yards. He has 37 catches for 529 yards and five touchdowns.

Brandin Cooks, New Orleans (66): He is out for the rest of the season with a broken thumb and finishes with 53 catches for 550 yards and three TDs.

Jarvis Landry, Miami (64): Landry had two touchdowns among his seven catches for 50 yards in the Dolphins’ 39-36 loss to Denver. He has 49 catches for 450 yards and five TDs.

Allen Hurns, Jacksonville (59): He caught just one pass for 13 yards in the Jaguars’ 23-3 loss to Indianapolis and has 31 catches for 488 yards and five touchdowns.

Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants (57): His monster game (10 catches, 146 yards, 2 TDs) gives him 41 catches for 609 yards and five touchdowns this season.

Taylor Gabriel, Cleveland (57): He caught one pass for 13 yards in the Browns’ 26-24 victory over Atlanta and has 30 catches for 540 yards and one touchdown.

QB snapshot: Blake Bortles

November, 25, 2014
Nov 25
A quick observation of quarterback Blake Bortles and how he played in the Jacksonville Jaguars' 23-3 loss in Week 12:

Bortles played the worst game of his career against the Colts (15-of-27 for 146 yards with an interception) and that continued a trend of poor play over the past five games. Bortles has completed 58.0 percent of his passes and has a Total QBR of 9.1, the worst in the league over that span. That performance has caused fans to start wondering if he's Blaine Gabbert 2.0.

No way.

Bortles has been better through his first eight starts. Gabbert did win one more game (2-6) and threw eight fewer interceptions (five), but Bortles has a better completion percentage (62.6 percent to 48 percent) and Total QBR (21.0 to 19.8) and has thrown for more yards (1,844 to 1,183). Both threw six touchdown passes.

Gabbert also was playing on a better team and had the benefit of a running game. Maurice Jones-Drew led the league in rushing that season (1,606 yards). Gabbert also wasn't throwing to three rookie receivers, playing behind two rookie offensive linemen, and had a healthy Marcedes Lewis (a 2010 Pro Bowler) all season.

Field Yates recommends a running back to start and sit for Week 13.

Inside The Huddle: Rookie QBs

November, 25, 2014
Nov 25


John Clayton shows how the 2014 rookie quarterback draft class has statistically exceeded expectations, but its starting record is only 5-25.

Jaguars Top 10: Defense-heavy again

November, 25, 2014
Nov 25
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Well, that was ugly.

On the offensive side of the ball, anyway. The Jacksonville Jaguars' defense played pretty well in Sunday’s 23-3 loss to Indianapolis, especially in the first half when they held the Colts to just six points. The offense, however, set a season low in points, passing yards (114) and completions (15), and their 194 total yards was their second-lowest output of the season.

The Jaguars had only four drives reach Colts territory, and two of those possessions began with fumble recoveries already inside Colts territory.

So this week’s list of Top 10 playmakers is going to be defense-heavy. Here are the rankings, with last week’s rankings in parenthesis:

1. DE Chris Clemons (NR): He had three sacks and one forced fumble. It was the most sacks he’s had since he had 2.5 against Buffalo on Dec. 16, 2012. The three sacks are also tied for the second most in his career; he had four against Green Bay on Sept. 24, 2012.

2. LB Telvin Smith (NR): It wasn’t always perfect, but Smith recorded 12 tackles and recovered two fumbles -- one at the Jacksonville 7-yard line -- in the most extended playing time of his career (73 snaps). He also had a tackle on special teams. Smith isn’t always sure where he’s supposed to be, but his speed allows him to make up for that and he always seems to be around the ball.

3. DE Chris Smith (NR): He was on the field for only 10 snaps but made a huge play when he sacked Andrew Luck and forced a fumble that the Jaguars recovered at the Indianapolis 12-yard line. He’s getting reps because Andre Branch has been out with a groin injury.

4. DE Ryan Davis (NR): He doesn’t get a lot of playing time, either, but he always seems to make a play. He was on the field for 26 snaps and had a sack in the second quarter that pushed the Colts out of field goal range. Davis forced Luck to fumble but Luck was able to recover the ball. Davis is second on the team with 5.5 sacks on the season.

5. DE Red Bryant (NR): Bryant had three tackles and also forced a fumble inside the Jacksonville 10-yard line that Telvin Smith recovered to stop a Colts drive.

6. DT Sen'Derrick Marks (9): He’s continuing to play at a Pro Bowl level and had three tackles and recovered a fumble at the Indy 12 that set up a field goal.

7. CB Aaron Colvin (NR): The Jaguars coaching staff has to be pleased with what they say from the rookie making his season debut after missing the first 10 games while recovering from a torn ACL. Colvin played 37 snaps and, according to Pro Football Focus, allowed only three completions for 46 yards. He lined up on veteran receiver Reggie Wayne in the slot on his first play and had solid coverage as Luck threw too far ahead of Wayne for an incompletion.

8. WR Marqise Lee (NR): He was finally able to make an impact since returning from missing Weeks 3-5 with a hamstring injury. Lee caught three passes for 52 yards, including a quick slant that he broke for a 37-yard gain down to the 1-yard line. That’s how the Jaguars had hoped to use Lee against the Colts: get him the ball quickly and let him use his speed to make plays.

9. RB Toby Gerhart (NR): Gerhart had his best day running the ball, gaining 31 yards on four carries, including a 23-yard run on a stretch play. Gerhart also caught three passes for 19 yards. He averaged 7.1 yards per touch.

10. P Bryan Anger (NR): He averaged 49.4 yards on seven punts, including a 64-yarder (tied for his season long), and had three inside the 20-yard line.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Reading the coverage of the Jacksonville Jaguars ...

Coach Gus Bradley was pretty critical of the Jaguars' offense after Sunday's 23-3 loss to Indianapolis. That included some strong words about rookie quarterback Blake Bortles, writes the Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran. "He's young, but we expect more," Bradley said.'s Pete Prisco writes that calling Bortles a bust right now is "stupidity."

The 1-10 Jaguars currently own the No. 1 draft pick, edging out the Oakland Raiders.

Analyst Jeff Lageman takes a closer look at why the offense struggled against Indianapolis in the weekly All Access: Film Room segment on's Kevin Seifert put together an All-ACL team, players who suffered torn ACLs and recovered and rehabbed and went on to play well. Defensive end Chris Clemons made the list. He was injured during the wild card playoff round in January 2013.
Happy early Thanksgiving!

Join us today at 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT for ESPN NFL Nation TV's Spreecast as episode No. 33 gives a Turkey Day preview, revisits Odell Beckham Jr.'s insane three-fingered catch, and discusses several teams' futures given the varying quarterback situations they have inherited this season.

Host Coley Harvey (Cincinnati Bengals reporter) and co-host Mike Wells (Indianapolis Colts reporter) will be joined by Michael C. Wright (Chicago Bears reporter), John Keim (Washington Redskins reporter) and Phil Sheridan (Philadelphia Eagles reporter).

Plus, Rob Demovsky (Green Bay Packers reporter) and Mike Reiss (New England Patriots reporter) will debate in this week's "Main Event" about Sunday's big game at Lambeau Field that will feature MVP candidates Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.

Viewers are encouraged to log in and ask the panelists questions as well as contribute in the chat feature.

Wake-up call: Tuesday, Nov. 25

November, 25, 2014
Nov 25
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Here's a preview of what to expect on Tuesday regarding the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • We are debuting a new item around ESPN's NFL Nation today called QB Snapshot. It's a look at each team's quarterback. What did they do well last weekend? What didn't they do well? How does it factor into the next game? It will post about 1 p.m. ET.
  • The Jaguars' top 10 playmakers blog returns after a week's hiatus because of the bye week. Based on what happened against Indianapolis last Sunday there's not going to be a lot of offensive players on the list.
  • This afternoon also provides the weekly rankings of the rookie receivers. It's based on targets, which is a good way to see how vital the receivers are to their team's offense.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Breaking down the Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive and defensive snaps from Sunday’s 23-3 loss to Indianapolis.

Offense (54 total snaps)

LG Zane Beadles: 54
RT Austin Pasztor: 54
LT Luke Joeckel: 54
QB Blake Bortles: 54
RG Brandon Linder: 54
C Luke Bowanko: 54
WR Cecil Shorts: 51
WR Allen Hurns: 49
TE Marcedes Lewis: 43
RB Denard Robinson: 36
WR Marqise Lee: 35
FB Will Ta'ufo'ou: 16
RB Toby Gerhart: 11
TE Nic Jacobs: 8
WR Ace Sanders: 8
RB Jordan Todman: 7
TE Clay Harbor: 6

Analysis: It was a bit of a surprise that Harbor played only six snaps and was never targeted in the passing game. Even coach Gus Bradley was a bit caught off guard by that on Monday. “It’s a little bit surprising but it has nothing to do with Clay,” Bradley said. The Jaguars went with Jacobs more because he’s a better blocker and the Jaguars’ game plan was to run the football to shorten the game and keep Andrew Luck off the field as much as possible. … Lee was supposed to get an increased role after the loss of WR Allen Robinson and the rookie from USC played a season-high 35 snaps. He had three catches for 52 yards. … Shorts was targeted three times and caught just one pass for 6 yards.

Defense (74 total snaps)

S Johnathan Cyprien: 74
LB J.T. Thomas: 74
CB Demetrius McCray: 73
LB Telvin Smith: 73
CB Dwayne Gratz: 73
S Josh Evans: 60
DE Chris Clemons: 47
DT Sen'Derrick Marks: 46
DT Red Bryant: 41
DT Roy Miller: 38
CB Aaron Colvin: 37
DT Tyson Alualu: 35
LB Geno Hayes: 31
DT Ziggy Hood: 30
DT Ryan Davis: 26
DT Abry Jones: 24
S Sherrod Martin: 20
DE Chris Smith: 10
LB LaRoy Reynolds: 1
CB Jeremy Harris: 1

Analysis: So much for easing Colvin into the lineup. The rookie ended up playing 43 total snaps (eight on special teams) in his first action since Oklahoma beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 3, 2014. He suffered a torn right ACL during Senior Bowl week practices. … It’s becoming pretty clear that Reynolds is not in the Jaguars’ plans on defense. He played well at the Otto spot during training camp in place of Dekoda Watson but his playing time has decreased to the point where he’s pretty much just a special teams player. … This was a career high in snaps by Smith, who led the Jaguars with 12 tackles and recovered two fumbles.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley obviously doesn't want rookie quarterback Blake Bortles gambling every time he throws the ball.

He doesn't want Bortles being overly careful and debating over and over in his head whether to make a throw, either.

Bradley wants Bortles to walk the gray area in between those two extremes. It may sound vague and seem hard to do, but that's where the game's better quarterbacks exist.

Unfortunately, Bortles appears to be stuck at the overly careful end of the spectrum right now -- and his progress won't continue until he fights his way through that.

"My hope is that fear hasn't entered in the equation for Blake, where he gets in there and he's going, 'Oh, I made an interception' and, 'Oh, I've thrown a couple interceptions. Boy I need to make good decisions and I'm going to hold onto the ball,'" Bradley said Monday afternoon. "We don't want that from him.

"At times he holds the ball a little bit too long. His decision-making is not as quick as we need it to be. I know you can say he's young, but we expect more. We expect more."

Bortles played his worst game of the season in Sunday's 23-3 loss to Indianapolis. He completed 15 of 27 passes for a season-low 146 yards. He had a horrible start: The first pass he threw was behind tight end Marcedes Lewis and intercepted, the second was dropped by Toby Gerhart, and the third was deflected at the line of scrimmage.

Bortles completed just 4 of 10 passes for 34 yards in the first half and his third quarter was even worse: He was 2-for-5 for 5 yards, sacked twice for minus-18 yards, and fumbled once.

Bortles' confidence, however, isn't shaken, Bradley said. Nor is the team's confidence in Bortles now and as the franchise quarterback.

"[Don't] get confused with [a lack of] confidence and being frustrated," Bradley said. "I think he wants to get more and wants to produce more and that part is frustrating. But [a lack of] confidence, I don't see that. He's confident going into it, game plan and things like that, but it's just the execution."

Bortles, who doesn't speak to the media on Mondays, played much more freely when he first got on the field than he has over the past five games. In his first four games (three starts), Bortles completed 67.8 percent of his passes and had a Total QBR of 48.6 (50 is considered an average quarterback). In the last five, however, Bortles has completed 58.0 percent of his passes and has a Total QBR of 9.1, by far the worst in the league over that span.

Bortles threw 12 interceptions in his first six games, including four pick-sixes, and Bradley and offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch have been constantly emphasizing being careful with the ball. The Jaguars' offense doesn't have enough playmakers to overcome turnovers and Bortles' interceptions took away what little margin for error the unit had. It's possible the repeated message of "Don't turn the ball over" has had a more severe effect on Bortles than anticipated.

Maybe his holding onto the ball too long and hesitating on throws is him overcompensating?

"From our coaching staff you don't hear it so much on the field. I think they do a good job with it," Bradley said. "Maybe it came from me when I'm on the practice field with him, me talking to him about good decisions and things like that. But I think there's got to be a heightened sense. You can't sugar-coat it. It's the game of football and it's the NFL and you're expected to play at a high level."

Which is located between the two extremes.

"Blake's a confident guy," receiver Cecil Shorts III said. "That's just his nature. He's a competitor. And from me, I see no fear creeping in."