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Jaguars That Deserve Recognition on Memorial Day

May 22, 2015 -- 1:39pm

By: Amanda Borges (@Amanda1010XL)

With the start of Memorial Day weekend, I want to take some time to highlight Jaguars players and coaches who have a direct involvement with the military. Even though Memorial Day is meant to remember our servicemen and women who have passed, these team members deserve recognition for their dedication to our country.

Jaguars defensive tackle Roy Miller is the son of a U.S. Army soldier. Miller was born in Fort Lewis, Washington and moved around a few times with his family. Miller played college at Texas and was an All-American.

Assistant Special Teams coach Matthew Smiley is entering his second year with the team. Smiley has coached for nine years total, eight of those years being in college football. Smiley spent some time in the Air Force.

Jaguars punter Bryan Anger also a reason to be recognized this weekend. Anger’s brother is currently deployed. Anger was drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft, after he completed his college career at California. Anger quickly proved his worth on the team and he’s earned his nickname, “Banger.”

 

Sen’Derrick Marks: First Jags Defensive Player on NFL Network’s List of Top Players

May 21, 2015 -- 11:15am

By: Amanda Borges (@Amanda1010XL)

NFL players put together their list of best players in the league each year. Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks made the list this year and he’s the first defensive player for the Jaguars to be featured.

 

Marks claims the 76th spot in the list of top 100 players in 2015. Wednesday night, Marks made an appearance on NFL Network to chat about making the list, and to detail his special outing escorting a local high school teen battling cancer, to prom.

As pointed out by AL.com, Marks recorded 8.5 sacks last season, which is the 3rd-most for a DT in the league. Marks had an incredible season in 2014, until he tore a ligament in his knee. He is still going through rehab and he is expected to be ready to play this season.

Is Dante Fowler Already a "Bust?"

May 21, 2015 -- 9:39am

By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)

How can a football player be labeled a “bust” if they haven’t played a down in the NFL yet?

That’s the question I would love for Rana Cash of Sports Illustrated to answer for me after I read her story on both Dante Fowler and Jadeveon Clowney facing the label after knee surgeries have put their careers on hold.

Clowney was the first pick in last year’s NFL Draft, and as we all know Fowler was the third pick this year. Clowney suffered an injury while playing last year while Fowler injured his knee in rookie minicamp. Both players have tremendous upside and have been dealt a bad hand so far in their early NFL careers.

But a bust? Are you serious? I know writers are taught to engage their readers, to capture them and reel them in, but this is not the way to go about it. The situations are entirely different and the players may very well be also.

When Fowler hurt his knee earlier this month, there was no indication the injury was so severe that it would alter his progress and he was supposed to make a full recovery and be on the field in 2016 as if the Jaguars had two first round picks to work with.

It’s an unfortunate incident that happens to players every so often. We expect Fowler to respond to treatment and for the first year player to come back and prove he was worth every bit of the rookie contract he signed.

This is the side of the business I don’t like. We are too quick to label, too quick to judge and more times than not, the media proves to be wrong. Hopefully, this is the case with the Florida product.

There is no doubt both Clowney and Fowler have a tough road ahead in recovery. As Cash explained, comebacks will not be easy for either player, but their roads to recovery could not be more different.

Thousands of surgeries to repair torn ACLs like Fowler's take place annually. While it delivers an emotional blow, physiologically an ACL tear repair is routine and barely threatening for fine-tuned athletes. For about 85 to 90 percent of those with a successful surgery, "there's a very high likelihood that you can get back to the same or close to the same level you were before you injured your knee," Dr. Derek Ochiai, surgeon at the Nirschi Orthopedic Center in Virginia, told Sporting News.

So if the doctors place Fowler on the right track for recovery and Fowler does what he is supposed to do in the year leading up to next season, can someone tell me why he shouldn’t be ready to terrorize quarterbacks in 2016? Better yet, can someone tell me why a sports writer would already plant a seed for failure when she herself hasn’t seen how the player is going to look moving forward?

No one in this case should be that quick to judge.

A.J. Cann Joins Helmets and Heels for Unfiltered Interview

May 20, 2015 -- 12:50pm

By: Amanda Borges (@Amanda1010XL)

Jaguars rookie A.J. Cann has been in Jacksonville for less than a month, but it’s pretty obvious that he fits in just fine. Cann joined the ladies of Helmets and Heels, live on Tuesday, in a fun and completely unfiltered interview.

Cann talked with us about everything from his favorite food, to his first interaction with Gus Bradley, to his time playing high school football. Cann even admitted that playing football in high school is something he’s enjoyed more than playing in college, at South Carolina, saying that although he's not exactly sure why, the "Friday night lights" were a blast.

Working with Coach Steve Spurrier in college, Cann was able to give us his best impression of the legendary coach. Cann’s impression was a quote from Spurrier that he used when he didn’t know a player’s name. To be honest, it was pretty darn funny.

Cann is very excited to be here in Jacksonville and he’s ready to get to work. Cann told us that he’s looking forward to playing his former teammates when the season starts, especially those who play for the Titans.

The Jaguars plan to use Cann at left guard, but he’s willing to play right guard, if needed. Cann has played on both sides of the ball so his experience brings a lot to the table.

Jaguars Admit Mistake with Marquise Lee

May 19, 2015 -- 10:42am

By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)

Here’s something you don’t see every day – a team admitting they made a mistake when it comes to the progression of one of its players. But in the case of Marquise Lee, that is exactly what the Jaguars did.

Refreshing to see a team do the right thing, and then take the steps to make sure the media and the fans know the coaching staff is going to work hard to help Lee fulfill his potential as one of the Jaguars top receivers in 2015.

If you have not heard already, the Jaguars admitted that they may have given Lee too much of a workload in his rookie season that was anything but a real success. Lee, like most of the receivers on the roster, dealt with injuries last season and between being hurt in training camp, preseason and the regular season, the overload of rehabilitation and preparation may have been too much for the youngster.

But in my opinion, while there may be culpability on both the team and player’s part in the “growth” of Lee as a football player, this is really a situation where Lee should take responsibility for not playing well, understand he needs to develop and move on from this. He is paid to be a superstar in this league. Maybe I am insensitive to the situation. Yes, I know there is some maturation that comes with being in college, moving on to the NFL and learning to handle the professional game. But when it comes down to it, Lee is paid to learn an offense, catch footballs and score touchdowns.

The writer in me sees the point of how being injured and missing playing time and reps can play with your head a bit and cause doubt and uncertainty. The fan who has a regular job who isn’t paid like an athlete has to suck it up and get back at it if I they are sick or injured. The boss doesn’t admit that they overloaded he/she with work. That’s just called “life.”

It may have been partially the fault of the franchise to give a player too much to handle coming into the season and dealing with the rigors of injures and playing time and getting into the right frame of mind to help the team. But doesn’t some of the responsibility fall on the player as well?

Lee was the last player to sign with the Jaguars from the rookie class last season. He was the same player who thought he should be a first round draft pick and now he is the player who needs to come into camp and play like the wideout the team thinks he can be. Allen Robinson suffered injuries in his rookie season. Allen Hurns suffered injuries in his rookie season. At one point in camp, eight wide receivers were on the sideline battling injuries. It’s called football.

Lee put everything together in the last month of the season and showed flashes of excellence once he was injury-free. That’s his job. Hopefully, like he has said, he can adapt to the new playbook and become the first or second option in this offense. Hopefully, he won’t deal with an injury that sidelines him for an extended period of time.

But if he should encounter any of the same issues that he faced in his rookie season, are the Jaguars going to say they are at fault for doing what they were supposed to do – which is expect a player to keep up with the program like other wide receivers? In this case, the player has to take more responsibility to overcome obstacles athletes deal with daily.

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