Sep 8, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; General view of Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) helmet on the bench prior to the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Kansas City Chiefs at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars hire ex-Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle

The Jacksonville Jaguars introduced Chris Doyle as their director of sport performance Thursday, eight months after his tumultuous exit from the University of Iowa.

The longtime Hawkeyes strength coach was placed on leave by the school last June after several former players said he contributed to a dysfunctional culture for Black players.

Doyle, 52, and the university agreed to a separation agreement on June 15 that reportedly paid him $1.1 million.

Jaguars coach Urban Meyer said he had no reservations with tabbing the controversial Doyle for the position.

“I’ve known Chris for close to 20 years …” Meyer said during a video press conference. “He was doing sports performance before sports performance became a high priority in college sports. So I’ve known him, I’ve studied him, we’ve had a relationship.

“I’ve vetted him, along with our general manager and owner. I feel great about the hire, about his expertise at that position. So we vetted him thoroughly … I wanted to get the best of the best.”

Pressed about the hire, Meyer repeated the franchise’s vetting of Doyle and said he was “very confident” there would be no issues.

Doyle had been part of Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz’s staff since 1999. He was previously the strength coach at Utah (1998) and Wisconsin (1996-97).

Jacksonville officially introduced the entirety of Meyer’s staff on Thursday, including offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, defensive coordinator Joe Cullen and special teams coordinator Brian Schneider.

–Field Level Media

Dec 13, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone talks on his headset during the second quarter against the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars fire Marrone

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone was fired Monday after the team finished the 2020 season with a 1-15 record.

The Jaguars went 23-43 in four-plus seasons under Marrone. A coaching change completes a hard reset of the management structure of the franchise that included president of football operations Tom Coughlin and general manager Dave Caldwell.

Jacksonville lost 15 consecutive games to end the season and owns the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft.

“As the search for our general manager continues, now the quest begins to find a head coach who shares my ambition for the Jaguars and our fans, whose loyalty and faith are overdue to be rewarded,” Jaguars owner Shad Khan said.

Marrone finished the 2016 season as the Jaguars’ interim head coach following the ouster of Gus Bradley.

Coughlin was hired in January 2017 along with Marrone. Coughlin was fired in December 2019 but Khan decided to retain Marrone and Caldwell at the end of last season with a clear understanding of expectations.

But the Jaguars continued to purge the roster of top talent, trading away the likes of cornerback Jalen Ramsey (October 2019), cornerback A.J. Bouye and defensive lineman Calais Campbell and releasing former top-10 pick Leonard Fournette.

Jacksonville’s roster needs are many, starting with a franchise-caliber quarterback.

Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence is thought to be the top player in the 2021 draft and could help solve some of the team’s concerns on offense.

–Field Level Media

Sep 15, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone reacts during the second half against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Meyer a target to replace Marrone at Jacksonville

The Jacksonville Jaguars “will likely” fire head coach Doug Marrone after Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts, with former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer his possible replacement, NFL Network reported Saturday.

The potential firing, however, comes with a wait-and-see approach. Reports last year also suggested that Marrone would be fired after the season and that personnel move never came to fruition.

The Jaguars have gone 1-14 this season, far worse than their 6-10 mark of a season ago. In four-plus seasons under the 56-year-old Marrone, Jacksonville is 23-42. He was hired after Week 14 of the 2016 season.

The Jaguars did win the AFC South in 2017, Marrone’s first full season, and won a pair of playoff games before falling 24-20 to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

The Jaguars are on the verge of landing the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, and the potential hiring of Meyer would be interesting timing. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence has been predicted as the No. 1 overall selection, although Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields could be Jacksonville’s desired pick.

Fields was recruited to Ohio State by Meyer. Ohio State and Fields defeated Clemson and Lawrence 49-28 in Friday’s CFP Semifinal and will face Alabama in the championship game on Jan. 11 at Miami Gardens, Fla.

Meyer, 56, went 83-9 in his seven years at Ohio State, leaving after the 2018 season for health reasons. Ryan Day took over as head coach of the Buckeyes. Day is also considered “a potential target” of the Jaguars if Meyer elects to stay retired, NFL Network reported.

Meyer was 187-32 overall going back to 2001 with head coaching jobs at Bowling Green (2001-02), Utah (2003-04), Florida (2005-10) and Ohio State (2012-18).

–Field Level Media

Dec 27, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (17) calls an audible at the line of scrimmage against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 28-24. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Rivers, Colts hope to extend season vs. Jaguars

Could Sunday be the last hurrah for veteran quarterback Philip Rivers?

Addressing the uncertain nature beyond the host Indianapolis Colts’ Week 17 game against the skidding Jacksonville Jaguars, Rivers acknowledged the thought crossed his mind.

With the Colts (10-5) needing a victory against the Jaguars (1-14) plus a loss from either the Cleveland Browns (10-5), Baltimore Ravens (10-5), Miami Dolphins (10-5) or Tennessee Titans (10-5) to make the AFC playoffs, Indianapolis’ postseason prospects aren’t the only “What if” swirling around town.

“I guess it’s probably healthy to have that thought because, shoot, you’re not guaranteed anything moving forward,” Rivers said. “But to think it could be the last game, the last game I ever play, certainly. I don’t intend it will be, I don’t hope that it is, but you have to acknowledge it is a possibility.”

Rivers, 39, signed a one-year contract with the Colts in the offseason following a 16-season career with the Chargers franchise. Still, coach Frank Reich admitted this season he could see the Colts bringing Rivers back, were he interested.

Behind Rivers’ 23 touchdowns and 68.2 completion percentage against just 10 interceptions — half his total from 2019 — the Colts rank eighth in the NFL in passing yards per game (259.3) and ninth in scoring at 28.2 points per game.

Rivers will aim to stay upright Sunday with a shuffled offensive line. The Colts, who are coming off a 28-24 loss at Pittsburgh in Week 16, announced Wednesday that left tackle Anthony Castonzo (knee) will be out for the remainder of the season.

Jacksonville earned its lone win of 2020 with a 27-20 home victory against the Colts in the season opener. Rivers was 36 of 46 for 363 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, outshined by Jaguars counterpart Gardner Minshew II, who had one incompletion in 20 attempts while passing for173 yards and three touchdowns.

Jaguars rookie running back James Robinson rushed for 62 yards on 16 carries in his NFL debut en route to a 1,070-yard, seven-touchdown season that ultimately was cut short. After missing Jacksonville’s Week 16 home loss to Chicago with a left ankle injury that hampered him the previous week, the Jaguars announced Wednesday that Robinson would be shut down for the remainder of the season.

Robinson fell just 35 yards shy of breaking the league rushing record for an undrafted rookie.

“I could never, ever say enough about that guy, how hard he’s tried,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “He wants to come back. He wants to play.”

The same could be said for a healthy Minshew, but Marrone has confirmed that veteran Mike Glennon will start under center in the season finale, completing a quarterback carousel that saw Minshew, rookie Jake Luton and Glennon split starts after Minshew started the first seven games.

Glennon was 24-for-37 for 211 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in a 41-17 loss to the Bears, and he figures to have a depleted core of weapons against the Colts. Marrone said wide receiver Collin Johnson (hamstring) would be out Sunday, while fellow wideout D.J. Chark (shin) didn’t practice Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

Dec 27, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Dare Ogunbowale (33) runs the ball against Chicago Bears linebacker Trevis Gipson (99) during the first half at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Trubisky puts Bears in playoff position with romp over Jacksonville

Mitchell Trubisky passed for 265 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for another score, and David Montgomery rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown as the visiting Chicago Bears defeated the reeling Jacksonville Jaguars 41-17 on Sunday to move into sole possession of the final NFC wild card spot.

Chicago (8-7) won its third straight game on the heels of a six-game losing streak, while the Jaguars (1-14) suffered their 14th consecutive defeat.

The Bears entered the afternoon with a boost after the team they were chasing in the playoff race, the Arizona Cardinals, lost on Saturday evening.

With veteran quarterback Mike Glennon, a former Bear, starting over Gardner Minshew after a competition earlier in the week, Jacksonville stayed with Chicago in the early going. The Jaguars drew to within 10-10 on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Glennon to DJ Chark to cap a 10-play, 70-yard drive with 8:21 remaining in the second quarter.

Chicago responded with 31 consecutive points after that to seize control, topping 30 points for the fourth consecutive week. The Bears outgained the Jaguars 391-279.

Placekicker Cairo Santos started the run with a 40-yard field goal with as time expired in the second quarter to give the Bears a 13-10 lead.

The Bears seized control with three third-quarter touchdowns.

Trubisky opened the spurt with a 6-yard scoring run with 9:14 remaining before Montgomery scored from the same distance out with 3:17 left in the third. Just 47 seconds later, following a Roquan Smith interception of Glennon, the Bears scored again as Trubisky found Jimmy Graham for a 22-yard touchdown pass with 2:30 remaining.

Trubisky finished 24-for-35 with two touchdowns and one interception. Allen Robinson had 10 receptions for 103 yards.

Glennon was 24-for-37 for 211 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Dare Ogunbuwale led the Jacksonville ground game with 14 rushes for 71 yards, while Chark had four catches for 62 yards and a touchdown.

Montgomery finished just shy of his fourth 100-yard rushing game in five weeks but the Bears remained effective on the ground, running for 128 yards.

–Field Level Media

Dec 20, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Chicago Bears offensive lineman Alex Bars (64) congratulates kicker Cairo Santos (2) after a field goal in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Bears eyeing playoffs, Jags eyeing QB Lawrence?

Winning successive games on the heels of a six-game skid that seemingly sullied a 5-1 start, the Chicago Bears remain in reach of their 2020 vision of making the NFC playoffs.

Entering a Week 16 visit to the reeling Jacksonville Jaguars, losers of 13 games in a row, the Bears are one game behind the Arizona Cardinals for the final NFC wild card spot.

“We’re excited,” Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said. “I mean, this is what you play for.”

After navigating offensive struggles for much of the season, the Bears (7-7) have found a resurgence behind a jelling combination on the line that has allowed Trubisky room to operate and created space for running back David Montgomery.

Injuries and inconsistency on the offensive line led coach Matt Nagy to employ six different lineups in the first 10 games. However, in the four games since the Bears have started the combo of Charles Leno at left tackle, Cody Whitehair at left guard, Sam Mustipher at center, Alex Bars at right guard and Germain Ifedi at right tackle, Montgomery has eclipsed 100 yards three times.

The Bears’ highest output in the first 10 games was Montgomery’s 89 yards in Week 8.

“When you watch tape, you see these linemen,” Nagy said. “They’re running to the ball, they’re picking guys up off the ground, they’re celebrating. … So it starts right there and it starts with the belief, and trust then filters down to or moves on to David at running back, to CP (Cordarrelle Patterson) at running back, to Mitchell at quarterback.”

Jacksonville (1-13) has been outscored 71-24 in its past two games while facing AFC playoff contenders Tennessee and Baltimore. In Week 15, the Ravens controlled the line of scrimmage — and most other facets of the game — in building a 26-0 halftime lead en route to a 40-14 home victory.

While Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew passed for 226 yards and two touchdowns, he had only 58 yards through the air in the first half. Meanwhile, the Jaguars offensive line allowed five sacks and running back James Robinson, who is battling ankle issues, rushed for only 35 yards, his second-lowest output of 2020.

“I mean, we were getting one or two yards in the play-action game. We weren’t able to make plays,” Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone said. “Either not pulling the trigger, or not being in good position, or pressure coming — it gets to you. It’s a lot of things. When you don’t play that well … it’s not one thing, it’s everything.”

Marrone said Minshew and veteran Mike Glennon, a former Bear, would compete this week for the starting job, adding some intrigue.

After the New York Jets upset the Los Angeles Rams in Week 15 for their first victory of the season, the Jaguars suddenly gained an inside edge for the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, a selection that likely would bring Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence to Jacksonville. The Jaguars have the strength-of-schedule tiebreaker on the Jets.

Nevertheless, Marrone said the Jaguars remain focused on ending the losing streak.

“No one has advised me anything different than to go out there and win,” he said. “I understand, I guess, from a standpoint of I was young growing up, you know, and I had a favorite team and was excited to see where they were going to pick.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 20, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) celebrates with  guard Ben Powers (72) and guard Bradley Bozeman (77) after scoring a third quarter touchdown  against the Jacksonville Jaguars  at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens trounce Jaguars, move closer to playoff berth

The Baltimore Ravens had little trouble moving one step closer to earning their third straight trip to the playoffs with a dominating 40-14 home victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday afternoon.

The Ravens (9-5) never trailed against the Jaguars (1-13), whose longest losing streak in franchise history continued against Baltimore, which won its third straight game.

Quarterback Lamar Jackson passed for 243 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 35 yards and another score. J.K. Dobbins finished with 14 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown, which marked his franchise-record fourth straight game in which he found the end zone.

Marquise Brown added six receptions for 98 yards, with Mark Andrews making five catches for 66 yards and a score.

Defensively, the Ravens sacked quarterback Gardner Minshew five times, including once in the end zone, and held the Jaguars to 267 yards of total offense. Minshew went 22-of-29 passing for 226 yards and two touchdowns. James Robinson was held to 35 yards rushing on 16 carries, though he also had three catches for 18 yards and a touchdown.

The Ravens scored first in an odd turn of events. Jackson was intercepted by Josh Jones in the red zone, giving Jacksonville the ball at their own 1-yard-line. After Robinson ran for 2 yards, Minshew dropped back to pass from the end zone, where he was sacked by Matthew Judon for a safety, giving the Ravens a 2-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.

The Ravens extended their lead on their next two possessions. Jackson threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Miles Boykin to cap a seven-play, 68-yard drive to push the Ravens’ lead to 9-0.

Dobbins extended the lead to 16-0 just 42 seconds into the second quarter when his 2-yard run finished off a 6-play, 49-yard drive in which the Ravens capitalized on good field position by sacking Minshew on a fourth-and-5 from the Ravens’ 47-yard line.

Justin Tucker extended the lead on the next drive with a 46-yard field goal before Jackson capped the first-half scoring with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant for a 26-0 lead. The touchdown reception was Bryant’s first since December 2017 and the Ravens’ 26 first-half points were their most in the first half of a game since scoring 28 against the Los Angeles Rams in a 45-6 win on Nov. 25, 2019.

Jacksonville got on the board in the third quarter when Minshew threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Robinson, but Jackson scored on a 5-yard run on the Ravens’ ensuing possession to make it 33-7 with 4:38 left in the quarter.

Jackson’ threw his third touchdown pass of the day when he found Andrews from three yards out with 9:50 left in the game.

Jackson was replaced by Tyler Huntley on the Ravens’ next possession to give the rookie some time on the field.

–Field Level Media

Dec 13, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II (15) throws a pass before the game against the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars to start QB Minshew against Ravens

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said Gardner Minshew will start at quarterback this Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

Taking his first snaps since Week 7, Minshew relieved starter Mike Glennon in Sunday’s 31-10 home loss to the Tennessee Titans and completed 18 of 31 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown.

Minshew, 24, started the first seven games in 2020 before being sidelined with a thumb injury. He has completed 65.1 percent of his throws for 2,033 yards with 14 TDs and five interceptions.

The Jaguars (1-12) bring a franchise-record 12-game losing streak into Baltimore to face the Ravens (7-5).

Glennon started the last three games, completing 61 of 100 passes for 600 yards with three scores and three picks.

Rookie Jake Luton, a sixth-round draft pick, started for the Jaguars in Weeks 9-11. He completed 60 of 110 passes for 624 yards with two touchdowns and six interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Dec 13, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA;  Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs for a touchdown past Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Sidney Jones (35) during the second quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Henry runs wild as Titans rout Jaguars

Derrick Henry rushed for 215 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries to lead the visiting Tennessee Titans to a 31-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

The Titans (9-4) maintained their lead in the AFC South, beating the Jaguars (1-12) for the seventh time in their past eight meetings, and clinched their fifth consecutive winning season.

Henry, who has put up several prolific rushing performances throughout his career against the Jaguars, surpassed 100 rushing yards in a game at Jacksonville for the first time.

Ryan Tannehill completed 19 of 24 passes for 212 yards and threw two touchdowns to finish with a 131.2 passer rating.

Tannehill’s first touchdown — a 37-yard pass to A.J. Brown in the first quarter — came on a flea-flicker where Henry pitched the ball back to him. Brown caught seven passes for 112 yards on nine targets and Geoff Swaim caught Tannehill’s other touchdown toss.

Defensive tackle Doug Costin recovered a fumble by Corey Davis that led to a 53-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas cutting Tennessee’s lead to 7-3 with 3:32 left in the second quarter.

But the Titans answered with a five-play, 75-yard drive. Each play was a run by Henry, capped by a 36-yard touchdown scamper with 44 seconds left in the first half.

Trailing 31-3 with 8:48 left in the third quarter, the Jaguars benched quarterback Mike Glennon (13 for 23, 85 yards, 46.5 passer rating) after he was intercepted by Malcolm Butler, and replaced him with Gardner Minshew II.

Playing for the first time since Week 7 against the Chargers, Minshew directed an 11-play, 60-yard touchdown drive capped by his 5-yard toss to Keelan Cole.

After the Jaguars forced a punt on the ensuing drive, Minshew led a 74-yard march into the Titans’ red zone on six plays. But Minshew threw four consecutive incompletions, resulting in a loss on downs.

Minshew completed 18 of 31 passes for 178 yards and finished with an 85.1 passer rating.

Jaguars running back James Robinson finished with 67 yards on 12 carries to become the first undrafted rookie in NFL history to reach 1,000 yards rushing through the first 14 weeks of a season.

–Field Level Media

Dec 6, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) is tackled by Cleveland Browns cornerback Terrance Mitchell (39) after a short gain during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Titans seek rebound, and to keep Jaguars reeling

On paper, it looks like the Tennessee Titans have the ideal foil for a bounce-back performance in Week 14.

Needing a win to maintain its share of first place in the AFC South with Indianapolis, Tennessee (8-4) gets a trip to division rival Jacksonville.

At 1-11, the Jaguars would be on the clock for next spring’s NFL draft were it not for the pristine incompetence of the winless New York Jets.

But Titans coach Mike Vrabel invokes coach-speak when discussing Jacksonville, even though it’s on an 11-game losing streak since upsetting the Colts in Week 1.

After all, the Jaguars came within a late interception of perhaps beating Tennessee in Week 2, and have suffered five other one-possession losses.

“It’s the same challenge that it is every week — it’s a new opponent,” Vrabel said. “They’ll probably look a little different than the last time we played them. I know it sounds like a broken record, but if you don’t play good in this league, you’re going to lose.”

Which the Titans did last week, and decisively. The 41-35 final score in a loss to Cleveland was actually very flattering for Tennessee. The Browns led 38-7 at halftime, and only two touchdowns in the last 90 seconds made the final margin respectable.

A defense that showed signs of improvement in road wins over Baltimore and Indianapolis regressed badly. Cleveland scored on all six first-half possessions as Baker Mayfield made the Titans look like one of the Big 12 defenses he used to abuse at Oklahoma.

Offensively, Tennessee couldn’t establish NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry for two reasons — the large margin on the scoreboard and its inability to win the line of scrimmage.

Henry was limited to 60 yards on 15 carries, and was stuffed on a key fourth-and-1 early in the game that helped momentum turn.

The Titans even showed a lack of discipline, something that has become rare under Vrabel. They were hit with three 15-yard penalties, and defensive lineman Teair Tart drew a one-game suspension for stomping on Browns offensive lineman Wyatt Teller.

“At the end of the day, we can’t do dumb stuff that hurts the team,” Vrabel said.

The main story line in Jacksonville is coach Doug Marrone’s decision to stick with veteran Mike Glennon for a third straight game at quarterback. Even though Gardner Minshew (thumb) is active and begged Marrone to put him in the lineup prior to a 27-25 loss to Cleveland two weeks ago, Marrone stuck with Glennon.

And Glennon hasn’t given the embattled coach a reason to consider a change. Glennon has completed 62.3 percent of his passes the last two games, although he did toss two interceptions in last week’s 27-24 overtime defeat in Minnesota.

“I still think that even though we lost the game and had some plays, there were still a lot of really good throws out there,” Glennon said. “There’s always going to be stuff to build on, but I feel confident in myself in both games.”

Rookie running back James Robinson, whose 968 yards ranks him third in the NFL behind Henry and Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook, was limited in practice Wednesday with a knee injury. But Marrone believes that Robinson, a free agent signing who represents one of the league’s best bargains this year, will be able to play on Sunday.

–Field Level Media