Jaguars Rumors

South Notes: Gipson, Quinn, Thomas, Ryan

Texans safety Tashaun Gipson is expected to return to the lineup this week, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Gipson has missed the team’s previous two games after sustaining a back injury in Week 7. Houston has won both games without their starting safety, but set to go up against the Ravens and their dynamic offense, the team hopes to be as close to full strength as possible.

Here’s some more notes from the NFC and AFC South:

  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has relinquished defensive play-calling duties, according to Darin Gantt of NBC Sports. It appears that assistant head coach Raheem Morris and linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich are now responsible for sharing the duties. Given Atlanta’s atrocious start to the season defensively, it makes sense that the staff decided to make a change. While the team remains just 2-7 on the season, they are coming off their strongest performance of the season in a dominating 26-9 victory against the Saints.
  • Two AFC South rivals could be welcoming back some depth in the coming weeks. Texans tight end Jordan Thomas and Jaguars linebacker Jake Ryan have both returned to practice for their respective teams, according to Howard Balzer. Both players were placed on the injured reserve with a designation to return earlier this season. They will now be allowed to practice for up to 21 days before they must be added to the 53-man roster or must return to the injured reserve for the remainder of the year.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/6/19

Today’s practice squad moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Signed: DE Chuck Harris

Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets

  • Signed: OL James Murray

Pittsburgh Steelers

Jaguars To Start Nick Foles

Nick Foles is the Jaguars’ new starting quarterback, head coach Doug Marrone announced. Foles is ready to rock after recovering from a broken collarbone and Minshew’s rough outing against the Texans in London cost him the No. 1 gig.

It’s not one game,” Marrone said of the QB situation on Sunday, after the Jags took the L in London. “It’ll be a body of work.

Foles’ body of work, which includes a Super Bowl ring, trumped Minshew’s largely impressive, but occasionally rocky, rookie season. There’s still hope for Minshew, but the Jaguars gave Foles a hefty contract this offseason for a reason. The veteran probably gives the Jaguars their best shot to win right now and turn their 4-5 season around.

Foles’ longstanding relationship with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo probably played a role in the decision as well. DeFilippo saw the Super Bowl LII MVP at his very best and believes that he can eek out an encore in 2019.

Thanks to the four-year, $88MM deal he signed with Jacksonville in the offseason, Foles is under contract through the 2022 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Cut LB Malcolm Smith

The Jaguars are cutting veteran linebacker Malcolm Smith, per a team announcement. The Jags signed Smith at the end of October, and he lasted two games with the team. He did not register a statistic with Jacksonville, and he appeared in 29 special teams snaps.

The last couple of years have been rough for Smith, who memorably took home the Super Bowl XLVIII MVP award as a member of the Seahawks. He signed a two-year, $7.5MM pact with the Raiders in March 2015, and though he was a full-time starter for the Silver-and-Black and compiled over 100 tackles in both of his seasons in Oakland, advanced metrics were not terribly fond of his play.

Nevertheless, he was able to parlay his strong raw statistics with the Raiders into a five-year, $26.5MM deal with the 49ers in March 2017. But he missed the entire 2017 campaign due to a torn pectoral muscle, and he was cut by the 49ers before the start of the 2019 campaign despite having agreed to a pay cut earlier in the year. The 30-year-old will now look to catch on with another club in need of veteran LB depth.

In a related move, the Jags signed fellow linebacker Joe Giles-Harris to their practice squad. Jacksonville cut Giles-Harris over the weekend to make room for wideout Michael Walker, but they clearly want to keep him in the fold.

More transactions could be in the offing, as the club has an open spot on its 53-man roster and on its practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Could Chargers Relocate To London?

The 2019 four-game London series has come to an end, and it was by all accounts a smashing success. As Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic writes, television ratings and merchandise sales across the pond are on the rise, and the attendance figures and the energy of the crowds during this year’s series show that the UK may be ready to embrace American football on a full-time basis.

For a few years now, we have heard about the possibility of an NFL franchise permanently moving to London, and Bonsignore writes that the possibility of relocating the Chargers to London has been broached among league personnel. Further, Bonsignore says that while the Bolts are fully committed to moving to their brand new $4.5 billion stadium with the Rams in 2020, owner Dean Spanos would at least listen if the NFL wanted to discuss the possibility.

After all, the Chargers have not really been embraced in Los Angeles thanks to a crowded sports market and the presence of the Rams. And while some fans in San Diego have remained dedicated to the club, a large percentage cut ties completely when the team moved to LA, and it’s unknown how many will buy season tickets for the Chargers at their new venue. Per Bonsignore, owners are worried enough about the Chargers’ long-term viability in LA that they would provide necessary support to Spanos should he want to take his club to the UK. That includes transferring the $650MM relocation fee the Chargers still must pay for the LA move to a London relocation, as well as a potential realignment of divisions.

There are plenty of logistical hoops to jump through, but London does offer a legitimate, contemporary venue (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium), as well as the unique opportunity for the Chargers to develop a new, eager fanbase. If Spanos wants it, London could be there for the taking.

Other reporters, however, are skeptical that such a move is plausible. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk points out that Jaguars owner Shad Khan has secured a right of first refusal with respect to a London relocation, so he has to say he does not plan to take his team to London before anyone else can consider it. Further, Florio’s sources suggest that no one from the league has ever talked to Spanos about moving to London, which leads him to believe that the sources behind Bonsignore’s report are pushing some other agenda (like forcing the Jags to make a decision).

Bonsignore adamantly denied Florio’s speculation (via Twitter), but Jason Cole of Bleacher Report says that no one in the NFL has talked to the Chargers about moving to England (Twitter link). Coles concedes that the topic may have been broached among other league personnel, but his source says that the Bolts are definitely staying in the US.

Either way, it’s an interesting possibility to consider, especially since the NFL seems closer to having a permanent London team than it ever has.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Marrone Tightlipped On Jags’ QB Situation

The Jaguars suffered an ugly 26-3 loss to the Texans during the London game Sunday, but head coach Doug Marrone didn’t tip his hand when speaking to reporters after the game. It was widely believed that rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew could hang onto the starting job with a strong performance against Houston, but obviously that didn’t materialize.

Marrone certainly didn’t hint that he was going to go back to Nick Foles, which suggests he’s at least strongly considering sticking with Minshew even after the rough outing. Interestingly, Marrone said “it’s not one game, it’ll be a body of work” that he looks at when making the decision, according to Grant Gordon of NFL.com, which would seem to indicate Minshew’s poor game won’t necessarily be the nail in his coffin. Marrone also added that he’ll likely make the decision sometime right before the team gets back together from their bye week, around next Sunday.

Minshew brought an initial jolt of excitement to the franchise, but he has been inconsistent recently. The Jaguars gave Foles a rich contract this offseason, and he hasn’t even played a full game for them yet. The Jags are now 4-5 after the loss, although they’re still very much alive in a muddled AFC wild card race. Against the Texans, Minshew finished with 309 yards, but it took him 47 attempts and he also threw two interceptions.

It sounds like we won’t know for about another week if Minshew Mania is indeed coming to an end. Foles has the contract working in his favor, as well as his longstanding relationship with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who helped coax a Super Bowl run out of him two seasons ago. The decision could ultimately come down to input from leaders in the locker room, like defensive lineman Calais Campbell. Whoever Marrone decides to go with, they’ll probably be on a pretty short leash and at risk of getting yanked for the other at any time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Gardner Minshew, Nick Foles

Jaguars high-priced QB Nick Foles is expected to be healthy enough to return to the field in Week 11, as Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reiterates (video link). However, Rapoport indicated that if Foles’ replacement, sixth-round rookie Gardner Minshew, played well against the Texans in London today, Jacksonville could continue to roll with Minshew and have Foles serve as his backup.

But there’s a problem: Minshew did not play well in the Jags’ loss to Houston. He completed 27 of 47 passes for 309 yards and accounted for four turnovers (two lost fumbles and two interceptions). As such, and as Rapoport indicated in a follow-up tweet, the Jags will have a tough decision to make in the next week or so (the team has its bye next week).

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports also heard that Minshew had a chance to keep his starting job, but now his immediate future is looking much more uncertain. The Jaguars are on the fringe of the playoff picture, and while it is difficult to envision them as legitimate contenders in 2019, it would also be tough for them to keep the experienced (and well-paid) Foles on the sidelines while there is still a chance at the postseason.

Minshew has injected some life into the Jags’ franchise, but he looked very much like a rookie today, and he has struggled with fumbles all season. He obviously has plenty of promise, but he still has a lot to learn, and he may have to do some of that learning as a backup.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 11/1/19

The latest from the workout circuit around the league:

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

More NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/30/19

Today’s practice squad updates:

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

  • Signed: LB James Vaughters
  • Placed on injured list: LB Fadol Brown

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Signed: TE Codey McElroy

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins