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Jaguars sign fullback Eric Kettani; waive/injured Fendi Onobun

Aug 20, 2014 -- 2:25pm

The Jacksonville Jaguars signed first-year fullback Eric Kettani and waived/injured tight end Fendi Onobun (knee), the club announced today. 

 

Kettani, 5-11, 240, was originally signed as a rookie free agent by New England in 2009 and had to leave training camp in July of 2009 for military commitments.  He was reinstated to the Patriots roster in September of 2011 and spent part of the season on the club’s practice squad.  Kettani spent the entire 2012 season on Washington’s practice squad and was with Kansas City for the 2014 offseason before he was waived on May 12.

 

A native of Kirtland, Ohio, Kettani was a four-year letterman at Navy where he rushed for 2,091 yards and 15 touchdowns on 395 carries.  He led the team with 982 rushing yards as a senior on 190 carries.  As a junior in 2007, he compiled 880 yards along with 10 touchdowns. Kettani was a three-year letterman at Lake Catholic High School in Ohio where was named the Cleveland Plain Dealer Defensive Player of the Year.  

Jags May be Following "Marino" Plan with Bortles

Aug 20, 2014 -- 9:13am

By: David Levin (@DavidLevin71)

After listening to Jeff Prosser Tuesday morning on "The Drill," I tend to agree with his assessment of Blake Bortles and the fact the rookie needs to impose his will on this team, the same way Russell Wilson did in 2011 with the Seattle Seahawks. While Jaguars' management may not be willing to concede that Bortles has been more impressive in preseason games, it's apparent to myself and most fans.

It reminds me of a situation in South Florida about 31 years ago.

Dan Marino was the Dolphins first pick in 1983, but sat on the bench behind David Woodley (Yes, David Woodley) for the first six games of the 1983 season. Now, the Dolphins were a better team and the NFL was a different league back then. But the premise was the same.

Woodley was an average NFL quarterback who was more a game manager than anything else. While Chad Henne is a better passer, leader and manager (much like Don Strock), he still gives you something in the huddle.

But he was no Dan Marino.

As a rookie, Marino set several records: he posted a 96.0 passer rating, he was selected to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, he had the lowest percentage of passes intercepted with 2.03, he was the only rookie quarterback to lead a conference in passing, and he had the highest passing completion percentage with 58.45. The Dolphins finished the season with a 12-4 record and advanced to the AFC divisional playoffs, where Marino threw two touchdown passes in his playoff debut. However, he also threw two interceptions as the team lost to the upstart 9-7 Seattle Seahawks, 27-20.

At some point, because we know the first half of the Jaguars season is brutal, Gus Bradley and Dave Caldwell will have to make a choice – should the team stick with Henne, who they think gives the team the best chance of winning now, or put the kid in and see what he can do? If he is as polished as he looks and as ahead of schedule as he might be, Bortles may be a Marino-type solution. But personally, I think he is more Ben Roethlisberger than he is Marino. Still, that is pretty high praise for someone just 21 and just drafted into the NFL.

The desire of the fans to move Bortles into the fire is understandable, but it is not warranted, yet. Let’s see what he does against the Lions this week and Atlanta next week before a true decision can be made. I still don’t think it happens.

Maybe the six week rule is the one to follow, not the one in Seattle where Wilson did force his will on the team and head coach Pete Carroll.  Bortles isn’t Wilson. He isn’t Roethlisberger and he certainly is not Marino. He is a kid with a lot of talent who could change the Jaguars’ fortunes. When the team and management want to change those fortunes remains to be seen. Hopefully, it is sooner rather than later.

Jaguar Fans Have Been Spoiled

Aug 18, 2014 -- 10:06am

By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)

Face it Jaguars fans, we have been spoiled the past 14 seasons.

The one thing we could count on being “right” with this team was the solid play of Brad Meester. Walk into the stadium, sit down with our favorite beverage and let the center go to work. Now, we have to hope we can find solid play in the middle of the line for our run game and pass protection to become effective.

You cannot blame Meester for retiring after 14 years in the trenches, but right about now, we all wish No. 63 was in the huddle, calling line plays and making the team and fans feel a little more secure. When someone comes to work all that time, brings his lunch pail and does his job, you become accustomed to it. What Jaguars fans would like to see is one of these young lions step up – whether it is Mike Brewster, Jacques McClendon or even the rookie Luke Bowanko - and prove they can replace a cult hero here in town. Yes, it is a tall task to take on.

One of the things this franchise did in the offseason was make sure the offensive line would be more competitive. Zane Beadles was signed from Denver. Brandon Linder and Bowanko were drafted. The team took a shot at signing Alex Mack to replace Meester. Even with the return of Luke Joeckel at left tackle and additions all along the line, there are still issues to be addressed – most notably with the center position. Maybe the Jaguars should think about the free agents who are still on the market, most notably Kyle Cook, Ryan Cook and David Baas, if he can stay healthy.

The Jaguars are a team which is comprised of young, growing talent with a few older veterans to provide leadership and show the way to victory. With those centers still on the free agent wire, one of them could provide help, leadership and potentially solidify the line until other changes can be made. Remember, this is not team we expect to make the playoffs, rather get better. This is the kind of move that makes the Jags better.

This football team was not built in a day and it will continue to watch players walk in and out of the lockerroom. Now would be a good time to bring someone in (even make a trade) and see if another free agent can help make this team better. 

Jags Receiving Corps Showing Promise

Aug 15, 2014 -- 10:43am

By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)

It isn’t rocket science. Player breaks from the huddle, lines up on the outside or the slot. The ball is snapped and the quarterback delivers a strike to the wide receiver across the middle.

After watching the Jaguars receivers last night, it’s hard to argue the plays completed to Marquis Lee, Allen Hurns and Mike Brown weren’t drawn up that way.

We have talked so much about how the receiving corps has been abused this of season by both suspension and injury, but in the game against Chicago, regardless of the last quarter loss to the Bears, this trio showed what every coach wants to see in young players – promise.

Lee caught a touchdown from Chad Henne on Thursday night, which helped both players in their perception with the media and the fans. Henne looked more comfortable in the first half, possibly shutting up the likes of those who say he should be replaced by rookie Blake Bortles. Lee’s four catches and a score from Henne erased doubt he did not work hard enough in the preseason opener.

Mike Brown seems to catch everything thrown his way and looked more comfortable this week after two key drops against the Buccaneers. Hurns just continues to impress us with his effort, size (6’3”) and his desire to be the best out there on the field. He reminds me of a taller John Taylor of the 49ers from days gone by.

If all three of these receivers are doing their job and moving chains, scoring touchdowns and keeping the fans happy, then why are we so worried about our receivers now? Add to the mix the return of Cecil Shorts and Allen Robinson and the play of Kerry Taylor and the Jaguars have a unit that is young, speedy and solid, if not spectacular.

The Jaguars have won in the past with less.

The Jaguars first unit looked solid last night, coming out with Henne behind center and moving the ball. He received 30 snaps on the night, which was quite impressive since he was done before the end of the first half. Blake Bortles was again impressive in his performance on the night. But neither passer would have been as solid as they were (yes, there were some imperfections in each quarterback’s game) if not for dependability in the wide receivers (and tight end Marques Lee).

While the pregame show on ESPN was divided on who should be the starter against Philadelphia, it was clear they all agreed that Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley had a “plan” and system that would produce a winner in Jacksonville.

It appears right now, that recipe starts with Henne. If it ends with him has yet to be determined. 

What to Watch for Against Bears

Aug 14, 2014 -- 3:17pm

By: James Johnson (@SportsGrind_Don)

Man has it been a while since I posted on 1010xl.com and I couldn’t be happier to be back! With our beloved Jags a bit of a preseason spotlight on ESPN tonight at 8:00 PM EST, I felt it would be the perfect time to drop in and give my personal thoughts on some things Jags fans should look out for when the kickoff begins. So without going any further, let’s get right into it!

#1 Henne vs Bortles.

The number one thing I’ll be personally looking for heading into this game would probably have to be the performance of Chad Henne, as the Jaguars 1st overall pick Blake Bortles (who completed 7 of his 11 attempted passes for 117 yards) outshined him this past Friday. Though it’s been established who the starter is among the two, another lackluster performance like the one Henne had last Friday plus another interesting performance from Bortles will only add intrigue to how Bortles will perform once he does get his shot to play with the starters this preseason. That said, Henne could really use a solid showing which indeed would aid him to avoid a potential QB controversy come week 4 of this preseason.

#2 Toby Gerhart to see the field for the first time this year?

Almost immediately after the Jags signed free agent RB Toby Gerhart from the Minnesota Vikings, it was predicted that he’d likely be the starter for the team at his respective position. Months passed and those predictions turned out to be true as Gerhart had a solid showing at the Jags OTA’s and Training camp. Monday of last week however, the news broke that 5th year veteran would be held out of a few of the team’s upcoming practices due to a hip flexor issue. Needless to say, he missed the preseason opener against Tampa Bay but returned to practice this week and it looks like we possibly might see him in action for the first time tonight.  Though the Jags may take it easy and go the safe route by giving him limited carries (as they should), it will be interesting for the fans to see him on the field as he will likely be the teams go to offensive weapon this season.

#3 The Jaguars Interior OL.

This was clearly an area of concern coming into 2014 with longtime veteran center Brad Meester retiring and the guards beside him in Uche Nwaneri and Will Rackley being cut. After Friday’s showing of our new interior OL…I’d say it’s still an area of concern as 3rd year veteran center Mike Brewster struggled mightily against Tampa’s DL and so did OG Jacques McClendon. On top of his struggles with the Bucs DL, Brewster also sent multiple snaps over the head of Chad Henne raising potential concerns as to if he’s the best option for the team heading forward at the center position. Both he and McClendon have been battling at the position during camp (and still are) as neither have really separated himself from the other, and if that wasn’t bad enough the team also had rookie OG Brandon Linder (who had a solid showing against the Bucs) take a few snaps at center. One can only hope that there will be improved play over time at this spot on the OL. Tonight would be the perfect time for someone to take the spotlight among the three or the Jags might be in for a long ride in 2014.

#4 The defense need to continue where they left off.

Almost from the first snap of last Friday’s game it looked as if the Jaguars hard work and investments on the defensive side of the ball might’ve paid off…. but then again it was just one game and a preseason game at that. I’d like to see this defense pick up where they started last week and wreak havoc yet again because I must say I was quite pleased with their showing. Jags DT Sen'Derrick Marks who had a very good season last year, continued to show that he is indeed one of the leaders of this team as he absolutely SHREDED the Buccaneers OL. His performance was so good that it earned him the highest grade of the week on Profootballfocus.com   . I look for him to have yet another solid night against a Chicago Bears OL that struggled last week, and is still trying to find their way.

2014 free agent additions Red Bryant (who also graded positive on PFF) and DE Chris Clemons also had solid nights as Bryant was unblockable and Clemons came away with a sack. They’ll look to continue to build from their performances alongside Marks and I firmly believe we won’t be disappointed.

Lastly, I also encourage everyone to watch out for a couple of Jags backup DL in rookie LEO Chris Smith, backup free agent addition Ziggy Hood, and UDFA Deandre Coleman as they too had good nights and look to be solid depth options for this young ascending defense.

#5 The Jags young WRs unit vs the Bears secondary.

Heading into last Friday’s game the position that most would say the Jags were thinnest at was the WR position as they lost both Allen Robinson and Tandon Doss relatively early  in the process of training camp. The Jags also recently lost their #1 WR in Cecil Shorts to a hamstring injury in late July. As of yesterday, he was starting began to work his way back onto the field as he reportedly practiced full speed with the training staff for the first time since the injury. Needless to say he won’t be ready for tonight’s game, but it does look like he’ll be able to join his teammates sooner rather than later. Lastly, the team will also be without 2nd year WR and return specialist Ace Sanders up until week 4 of the regular season as we all know due to suspension. With those 4 out, second round rookie WR from USC Marqise Lee will definitely be given the nod to start just as he did Friday and he will certainly look to improve from last week’s showing. He reportedly had a bit of trouble “with his his role” in the offense according to Gus Bradley this week, but I believe things will slow down for him the more he plays. Lee will be likely joined by 3rd year veteran Mike Brown (who struggled with drops against the Bucs) as the second starter on the depth chart as he too will look to bounce back from a shaky showing against Tampa. Behind them will be UDFA/ Training Camp star Allen Hurns who looked rather impressive week 1 of the preseason with his limited statistics of 2 catches for 43 yards, and also 2nd year WR Kerry Taylor who flashed as well. I personally will be watching how the four younsters will fare against a very good DB unit of veterans in both Charles “Penut” Tillman and Tim Jennings, as well as 1st round rookie CB Kyle Fuller (who has impressed at camp), and 10 year veteran CB Kelvin Hayden. Without a doubt, the Bears DBs as a unit is one of the best in the league on paper and it will be interesting to see how the Jags young and relatively inexperienced WR core to will perform against one of their teams strongest positions.  

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