Oct 5, 2023; Ware, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell at press conference at the Hanbury Manor Marriott. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Jaguars fire DC Mike Caldwell, defensive staff

The Jacksonville Jaguars dismissed defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell on Monday, Fox Sports and NFL Network reported.

Caldwell’s defensive staff was shown the door as well, according to NFL Network.

The Jaguars finished the season 22nd in the NFL in total defense (342.8 yards per game allowed) and 17th in scoring defense (21.8 ppg).

After a promising start, the Jaguars went 1-5 over the final six weeks to finish 9-8, lose their grip on the AFC South and miss the playoffs.

Caldwell’s two seasons in Jacksonville marked his first defensive coordinator job. Before that, he was on the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive staff from 2008-12, rising to linebackers coach in 2011. He coached inside linebackers for the Arizona Cardinals (2013-14), New York Jets (2015-18) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2019-21), also serving as assistant head coach for the Jets under then-head coach Todd Bowles.

–Field Level Media

Jan 7, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) throws during pre-game warmups against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence active vs. Titans

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is active and expected to start Sunday’s game against the host Tennessee Titans in Nashville, Tenn.

With a win in the regular-season finale, the Jaguars would clinch the AFC South and host the Cleveland Browns in the wild-card round of the playoffs next weekend. With a loss or tie, they are out.

Lawrence was listed as questionable due to a sprained AC joint in his right (throwing) shoulder. He sat out his first career NFL game last Sunday in Jacksonville’s 26-0 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Lawrence, 24, has thrown for 3,736 yards with 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 15 games this season. He also has rushed for 329 yards with four scores for the Jaguars (9-7).

While Lawrence is active, Jacksonville made the following players inactive: wide receiver Christian Kirk, linebacker Yasir Abdullah, offensive lineman Cole Van Lanen and defensive tackle Angelo Blackson. Matt Barkley is the emergency third quarterback.

The Titans (5-11) will be without quarterback Will Levis, defensive back Anthony Kendall, linebackers Caleb Murphy and Trevis Gipson, offensive linemen Jaelyn Duncan and Daniel Brunskill, and defensive lineman TK McLendon.

–Field Level Media

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) signals a first down during the third quarter an NFL football matchup Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Tennessee Titans 34-14. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

Report: Jaguars to activate WR Christian Kirk off IR

The Jacksonville Jaguars plan to activate wide receiver Christian Kirk off injured reserve prior to Sunday’s game versus the host Tennessee Titans, NFL Network reported on Saturday.

Kirk, who has been sidelined since undergoing core muscle surgery, remains questionable and is a game-time decision Sunday. He began his 21-day practice window on Wednesday.

Kirk was injured in Jacksonville’s “Monday Night Football” loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 13 and placed on injured reserve Dec. 8.

In 12 games this season, Kirk has 57 receptions for 787 yards and three touchdowns. A big-ticket free agent prior to the 2022 season, Kirk has 141 receptions for 1,895 yards and 11 touchdowns in 29 games with Jacksonville.

Kirk, 27, caught three passes for 48 yards in the first matchup with the Titans on Nov. 19.

He is third on the team in receptions and targets behind tight end Evan Engram (104 receptions, 130 targets) and wide receiver Calvin Ridley (70 receptions, 126 targets).

–Field Level Media

Dec 31, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. (1) runs the ball against the Carolina Panthers in the first quarter at EverBank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

Jags shut out Panthers, move closer to AFC South title

Brandon McManus kicked four field goals and Jacksonville’s defense dominated in the host Jaguars’ 26-0 victory against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon.

The Jaguars (9-7) snapped a four-game losing streak and moved closer to repeating as AFC South champions. They own potential tiebreakers with Houston and Indianapolis.

Sunday’s win came with backup quarterback C.J. Beathard at the controls for the Jaguars. Trevor Lawrence, who sustained a shoulder injury a week earlier, missed a game for the first time since he arrived in the NFL in 2021, ending a string of 49 straight games.

Running back Travis Etienne Jr. scored two touchdowns, gaining 102 yards on 16 carries. Beathard was 17-for-24 passing for 178 yards.

Carolina quarterback Bryce Young, who was sacked six times, went 19-for-32 passing for 112 yards with an interception in another rough day for the team’s offense. The Panthers (2-14) went 0-9 in road games after producing only 124 yards of total offense and picking up seven first downs.

McManus was good from 35, 26, 24 and 34 yards.

Jacksonville, which can clinch the division by winning next week at Tennessee, led 9-0 at halftime. Its first two scoring drives consisted of 13 and 12 plays, but both times resulted in field goals.

The Jaguars scored on their first second-quarter possession when Etienne ran 62 yards on the second snap of the drive. McManus added his fourth field goal with three minutes left in the third quarter.

Etienne was in the end zone again with 4:18 left in the game on a 1-yard run.

Among Jacksonville’s defensive highlights was Josh Allen record three sacks to reach a single-season, franchise-record 15 1/2 sacks.

The Panthers upset the Atlanta Falcons, who were a co-divisional leader at the time, two weeks ago and nearly stunned the Green Bay Packers last week. But there was no upset alert brewing in this game.

Carolina hasn’t scored a touchdown in two of its last three games.

–Field Level Media

Dec 24, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Jags QB Trevor Lawrence to undergo tests on shoulder

Trevor Lawrence suffered his third injury in four weeks on Sunday, leaving the Jacksonville Jaguars’ blowout loss to the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers after three quarters with a right shoulder injury.

Lawrence landed on his throwing shoulder while running and diving for a first down late in the third quarter of Jacksonville’s fourth straight defeat. He stayed in to complete the drive, tossing an 18-yard touchdown to Calvin Ridley for the team’s first points of the day.

But C.J. Beathard took over at quarterback in the fourth quarter with Jacksonville trailing 30-6. The Buccaneers polished off a 30-12 win.

Lawrence told reporters postgame that his shoulder was “bothering” him and the team will have him undergo tests Monday.

“When I landed, I knew something — something was off,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence finished 17-for-29 passing for 211 yards, two interceptions and a lost fumble.

The 2021 first overall draft pick picked up a high ankle sprain Dec. 4 against the Cincinnati Bengals, but in a surprise turn he managed not to miss any time. He then suffered a concussion during last week’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens but still cleared concussion protocol in time to play on Christmas Eve.

The Jaguars (8-7) went from holding a comfortable lead in the AFC South to dropping into a three-way tie with the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans.

–Field Level Media

Dec 24, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) makes the catch against Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Tyson Campbell (32) in the second quarter for the touchdown at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers rout Jaguars to stay on top in division race

Baker Mayfield threw two touchdown passes to Mike Evans and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took advantage of Jacksonville’s offensive follies to beat the visiting Jaguars 30-12 on Sunday.

Mayfield was 26-for-35 for 283 yards, including seven completions to Evans for 86 yards. Chase McLaughlin made three field goals for Tampa Bay (8-7), including a 51-yarder in the third quarter.

Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who cleared concussion protocol after a week of uncertainty, was 17-for-29 for 211 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in three quarters. C.J. Beathard replaced Lawrence in the fourth quarter after he was ruled out with a right shoulder injury.

Evan Engram caught 10 passes for 95 yards and Calvin Ridley had six receptions for 90 yards and both of Jacksonville’s touchdowns.

The Jaguars (8-7), who trailed 30-0 late in the third quarter, fell into a tie for first place with Indianapolis and Houston in the AFC South.

In the NFC South, Tampa Bay holds a one-game lead on New Orleans and Atlanta with two weeks left.

The Buccaneers used up more than half of the first quarter before the Jaguars even took an offensive snap. A 14-play drive that consumed 7:38 resulted in McLaughlin’s 24-yard field goal. Mayfield threw for 59 yards on the drive, which included three third-down conversions.

Tampa Bay went up 10-0 when Mayfield hooked up with Evans on a 3-yard touchdown. Then, McLaughlin was good from 31 yards out to stretch the lead with 2:27 to play in the first half.

The second touchdown for Evans came on a 22-yard play with 45 seconds left in the half, which ended with a 20-0 Bucs lead.

Jacksonville had four first-half possessions, with those ending in an interception by Devin White, Brandon McManus’ miss on a 52-yard field goal, an interception by Antoine Winfield Jr. and a punt.

The Jaguars got the ball to begin the second half and fumbled three plays later.

The Buccaneers needed to go only 37 yards to stretch their lead to 27-0 on Rachaad White’s 2-yard run.

Trailing by 30, the Jaguars finally scored in the final minute of the third quarter on Lawrence’s 18-yard pass to Ridley. Beathard found Ridley for a 1-yard score late in the fourth.

–Field Level Media

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) looks to pass Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) looks to pass during the second quarter of a regular season NFL football matchup Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-7. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

Jags’ Trevor Lawrence may miss pivotal matchup vs. rising Bucs

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars are headed in opposite directions despite finding themselves tied atop their respective divisions.

Winners of three in a row, the Buccaneers (7-7) look to continue their ascent and hand the Jaguars (8-6) a fourth straight loss on Sunday when the Sunshine State clubs meet in Tampa, Fla.

“Momentum is coming with winning,” Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles said. “The urgency is there. We know we have to win out to get to the playoffs; that’s been our mindset since we played Carolina (a 21-18 win on Dec. 3). That’s our mindset this week, as well, against a good Jacksonville team.”

Baker Mayfield was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for 381 yards and four touchdowns in Tampa Bay’s 34-20 road victory over the Green Bay Packers last Sunday.

Mayfield has embraced his role as a team leader despite being in his first season with the club.

“For me, it’s not like I’m going out of my way to do it,” Mayfield said. “That’s just honestly how I’ve always been. Be involved with the team, be one of the guys. (As a) quarterback, you get a lot of the press, but you’ve got to get down and dirty with the guys. You’ve got to understand that you’re in the process with them. Everything needs to feel involved.”

Running back Rachaad White has found the end zone in three straight games, with the last two touchdowns coming in the passing game. White ranks second among running backs in receiving yards (469) and fifth in catches (50).

Mike Evans reeled in his sixth touchdown reception in his last six contests last Sunday, boosting his team-leading total to 11 on the season.

Fellow Bucs wideout Chris Godwin notched season highs in catches (10) and receiving yards (155) last week, however he was limited in during Wednesday’s walk-through due to a knee injury. Defensive tackle Vita Vea (toe) and defensive tackle William Gholston (knee, ankle) also were limited in the session.

While the Bucs’ winning ways have kept them tied with the New Orleans Saints atop the NFC South, the Jaguars’ slump has allowed the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans to pull even in the AFC South.

“It’s figuring out how to win the game right now,” Jacksonville head coach Doug Pederson said. “It’s just mentality, a mindset, that hey, ‘Sometimes enough’s enough and you just have to take pride in the opportunities you get.’”

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s availability for Sunday’s game is in question after he was placed in concussion protocol following last Sunday’s 23-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Lawrence has started every game since he was selected with the top overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. C.J. Beathard would find himself under center should Lawrence’s streak of 48 consecutive starts come to a halt.

“To me it’s the same. I’m taking a lot more reps at practice and stuff, but I’m preparing the same way,” Beathard said. “You gotta prepare as if you’re gonna be going and then, hopefully, (Lawrence) clears concussion protocol by the end of this week for sure.”

Beathard, who owns a 2-12 career record, made his last start in 2020 as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

Lawrence missed practice for the second straight day Thursday. Wide receiver Zay Jones (knee, hamstring) did not participate in Wednesday’s session.

“Zay is getting better. His strength is good but (he’s) still week-to-week,” Pederson said.

Jones and fellow wideout Calvin Ridley each had five catches versus the Ravens and running back Travis Etienne added four for the fourth straight game.

–Field Level Media

Dec 10, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs with the ball against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

MVP candidate Lamar Jackson, Ravens take on Jaguars

Lamar Jackson is hearing his name mentioned in the MVP conversation, but that doesn’t impress him much.

The Baltimore Ravens star is more interested in making a run for the Lombardi Trophy, and his top-seeded AFC team can take a big step in that direction when the Ravens visit the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday night.

Baltimore (10-3) holds a one-game lead over the Miami Dolphins at the top of the conference. There are nine scenarios in which the Ravens can clinch a playoff spot Sunday should they defeat the Jaguars (8-5).

Linebacker Patrick Queen is one of many Baltimore players eyeing the top seed and first-round bye, especially with the Ravens winning three straight games and seven of their past eight.

“We want it bad,” Queen said. “If we don’t get it, we make the playoffs. We’re still in there.”

Jackson was the NFL MVP in 2019 and appreciates the praise for his 2023 individual season, which includes 2,934 passing yards and 16 touchdown throws. He also has 644 yards and five scores on the ground.

But Baltimore hasn’t won a playoff game since the 2020 season, and Jackson is focused on changing that.

“It’s an honor just being acknowledged — to be in the conversation with great guys,” Jackson said. “But I’m just trying to stay locked in trying to win, because I want (the Lombardi) trophy.”

Jackson is coming off a superb performance in which he passed for 316 yards and three touchdowns and tacked on 70 rushing yards in last week’s 37-31 overtime home win over the Los Angeles Rams.

Baltimore won that contest on a 76-yard punt-return score by Tylan Wallace. The third-year-pro was only handling the duties because two-time Pro Bowl selection Devin Duvernay injured his back earlier in the season.

Duvernay was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, and Wallace now will be the team’s main returner.

Jacksonville will look to end a two-game slide in which it lost to the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns by a combined seven points.

The Jaguars have seen their lead in the AFC South shrink to one game over the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans. But Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence said he’s not concerned.

“We’re in a fine position, record-wise,” Lawrence said. “We have to take care of business this week and moving forward. We have to take it one week at time. We need to get back on track this week for sure.”

Lawrence has been dealing with a high ankle sprain sustained against the Bengals on Dec. 4. He was questionable for last week’s game against the Browns before playing and getting mixed results — 257 passing yards and three touchdowns but also throwing three interceptions.

He practiced in full on Wednesday and said he’s making progress.

“It’s feeling better. Thankfully, I made out of the game pretty clean,” Lawrence said. “I didn’t re-aggravate it anymore. I’m just trying to keep getting better every day; hopefully it feels even better this week. I was able to move around decent on Sunday, so that was positive.”

As per containing Jackson, the Jaguars rank fourth in the NFL in rushing defense at 92.2 yards per game.

Jacksonville also features two standouts. Pass rusher Josh Allen is tied for third in the NFL with 13.5 sacks, and linebacker Foyesade Oluokun ranks second in tackles with 138. Oluokun led the league in tackles each of the past two seasons.

Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith is tied for third with 136 tackles, while safety Geno Stone is second with six interceptions.

Baltimore safety Kyle Hamilton (knee) was injured against the Rams but was a limited practice participant on Wednesday. Smith (back) also was limited.

For Jacksonville, safety Andre Cisco (groin) and cornerback Tyson Campbell (quadriceps) didn’t practice. Cisco was hurt against the Browns while Campbell missed the contest.

The Jaguars notched a dramatic 28-27 home win over the Ravens last season. Lawrence tossed a 10-yard scoring pass to since-departed Marvin Jones with 14 seconds left, followed by a winning two-point conversion pass to Zay Jones.

–Field Level Media

Dec 10, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Elijah Moore (8) celebrates his first down run against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second quarter at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Flacco helps the Browns survive a battle of turnovers against Jaguars

Joe Flacco threw three touchdown passes and the host Cleveland Browns made the fewest turnovers in defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-27 in the AFC matchup on Sunday.

Flacco went 26 of 45 passing for 311 yards. Two of his scoring strikes went to David Njoku in the first half.

Cleveland’s defense picked off Trevor Lawrence three times, and the Jaguars lost two fumbles. The Browns (8-5) turned one from each category into second-half touchdowns, the latter a 41-yard scoring pass to David Bell.

Lawrence, playing less than a week after sustaining a high-ankle sprain of his right foot, completed 28 of 50 throws for 257 yards and three touchdowns. His pass to Parker Washington with 8:52 left in the game pulled the Jaguars (8-5) within 28-21.

The Browns tried to seal the win, however, by stopping the Jaguars on fourth-and-3 at the Jacksonville 38 with 3 1/2 minutes left. Dustin Hopkins paid it off with a 55-yard field goal left for a 10-point lead.

Jacksonville then went 75 yards on nine plays in just over a minute and a half, scoring on Lawrence’s 2-yard toss to Evan Engram, his second touchdown of the game. However, Lawrence was sacked on the ensuing two-point attempt, leaving the score at 31-27, and the Browns recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.

The Browns amassed 389 total yards to 293 for the Jaguars.

Flacco was picked off once and the Browns lost two fumbles, one in each half, and the Jaguars scored touchdowns on each ensuing drive.

The teams capitalized on each other’s fumbles for third-quarter touchdowns.

On the first possession of the period, Washington coughed up the ball after a catch on the Jacksonville 22. The Browns turned that into a direct snap to Kareem Hunt for a 4-yard touchdown run and a 21-7 lead.

Cleveland forced the Jaguars to punt, but Antonio Johnson’s strip-sack of Flacco led to Jeremiah Ledbetter’s recovery at the Browns’ 25. Travis Etienne Jr. later scored on a 1-yard run.

The Jaguars trailed 14-0 in the second quarter but took advantage of the second of back-to-back turnovers. Jacksonville took over at the Cleveland 12-yard line when Amari Cooper fumbled after a short reception.

It took Jacksonville just two plays to score, when Lawrence hit Engram for a 10-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter. Engram finished with 11 catches for 95 yards.

The Browns built their lead on 34- and 30-yard touchdown passes to Njoku, who finished six for 91.

–Field Level Media

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) leads his team onto the field before a regular season NFL football matchup Monday, Dec. 4, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 34-31 in overtime. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence (ankle) returns to practice

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence returned to practice Thursday in a limited capacity, less than 72 hours after suffering an ankle injury on “Monday Night Football.”

Lawrence, 24, sustained a high ankle sprain during the team’s 34-31 overtime loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. He sat out Wednesday’s practice before his return Thursday, increasing the chances that he will be able to play against the host Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Lawrence didn’t partake in every drill but did some throwing on Thursday, according to reporters on the scene in Jacksonville.

“I’ll never put myself or the team at higher risk that we aren’t going to do our best because I can’t do my job,” Lawrence told reporters Wednesday, adding, “We have an amazing medical staff.”

Lawrence also said the Jaguars had a cart available to take him off the field Monday night, but he refused it.

C.J. Beathard, who replaced Lawrence on Monday night, was a limited participant at practice for the second straight day with a non-throwing shoulder injury, but he said Wednesday there would be no doubt about his availability.

Lawrence has 3,004 yards passing, 14 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 94.4 passer rating on the season. He also has 248 yards rushing with four scores on the ground.

–Field Level Media