Jaguars Kneel, Lock Arms With Khan In Show Of “Solidarity”

As a famous international singer began the National Anthem at Wembley Stadium, about a dozen players took a knee on the Jaguars sideline, flanked by teammates who were locking arms. On one end, Owner Shad Khan was between players, locking arms in solidarity. All in response to President Trump’s comments over the weekend that an NFL owner, which he was denied becoming at least twice, should fire players who protest during the anthem.

“It was a privilege to stand on the sidelines with the Jacksonville Jaguars today for the playing of the U.S. national anthem at Wembley Stadium,” Khan said in a statement distributed during the game. “I met with our team captains prior to the game to express my support for them, all NFL players and the league following the divisive and contentious remarks made by President Trump, and was honored to be arm in arm with them, their teammates and our coaches during our anthem.”

It’s not the first time Khan has disagreed with the President, whom he supported during the campaign. Khan was also a loud critic when Mr. Trump signed an executive order limiting immigration to the US from largely Muslim countries.

“Our team and the National Football League reflects our nation, with diversity coming in many forms – race, faith, our views and our goals,” he continued. “We have a lot of work to do, and we can do it, but the comments by the President make it harder. That’s why it was important for us, and personally for me, to show the world that even if we may differ at times, we can and should be united in the effort to become better as people and a nation.”

Players on the Jaguars were happy to see Khan on the sidelines showing support.

“It shows the kind of owner he is but also the kind of man he is,” LB Telvin Smith said in the post-game presser. Smith didn’t kneel, saying he didn’t want to do it for the first time on foreign soil but if the game was in the US, he’d have knelt.

“It’s not to disrespect the military,” said CB A.J. Bouye saying he and his teammates were trying to bring light to their perceived inequality of treatment in America.

“I lost my mom to cancer. My dad had a gun pointed at him at 6AM one morning because he looked suspicious. He was dropping me off at school. We’re not talking black and white here, we’re talking right and wrong.

Who they called the “Man of the Match” at Wembley, Marcedes Lewis, was very forthright in his support of teammates trying to bring to light to what he called “inequality.”

“Whenever you have the owner behind you, he actually gets it,” Lewis said after locking arms with Khan on the sideline. “I’m from the east side of Long Beach and I’ve been a part of that for a while It’s getting worse, not better and that’s wrong.”

In the locker room, Malik Jackson said he wants people to know that there is inequality in how social justice is applied in America and that’s why he was a part of the protest.

“Stuff like being pulled over driving a nice car because you’re black,” he explained. “Some people are scared to go out. The stuff happening in Chicago. People need to know about that.”

It wasn’t a spontaneous response by the Jaguars players. The captains got together and let Head Coach Doug Marrone and the Jaguars management and coaching staff what they were going to do.

“The captains got together with us last night,” Marrone explained. We wanted to be sure we support each other as a team. The communication was there and it was good.”

“Anytime our owner can be around to show support for the organization is great,” he added. “I never feel like he’s away, even when he’s not in the building.”

Jaguars Rout Ravens in London

If you’ve watched all three of the Jaguars games you’re confused about what kind of team the Jaguars are in 2017. In London against the Ravens they looked a lot like the team that dominated the Texans in week one.

In a stadium full of NFL, Jaguars and plenty of Ravens fans, the Jaguars dominated the first half unlike anything they’ve done in 10 years. The Ravens had one first down, -4 yards passing and 19 yards rushing as the Jaguars took a 23-0 halftime lead. The Jaguars offense had Leonard Fournette carrying the ball 12 times for 55 yards and Blake Bortles going16 for 24 for 184 yards and two touchdowns. The first half was a total beat down by the Jaguars.

Their speed on defense is impressive. They looked un-intimidated by anything the Ravens threw at them. Myles Jack, Jalen Ramsey, Dante Fowler and Paul Posluszny were all playing sideline-to-sideline, chasing down running backs and receivers without too much difficulty early in the game. Pressure on Ravens QB Joe Flacco forced some quick throws and some incompletions and one interception on a tipped ball by CB A.J. Bouye.

If you had asked VP of Football operations Tom Coughlin after the draft and free agency this year what kind of football team he envisioned, the one that played against the Ravens at Wembley would be it. Dominating on both lines of scrimmage, run the football with a power back like Fournette, have the quarterback be accurate and patient and the defense pressure the opposition and create turnovers.

Simple formula but hard to execute. Coughlin and Head Coach Doug Marrone preach toughness and there’s no question the Jaguars have that. Add talent and speed to the equation and a lot of “want to” by guys like Telvin Smith, Calais Campbell and Paul Posluszny, and you get a dominating performance like they had against the Ravens.

It continued in the second half as the offense scored two TD’s, both on throws to Marcedes Lewis giving him three for the game. The first was set up by a Jalen Ramsey interception where he undercut the route and made a diving catch. As Doug Marrone said earlier in the week, “He’s a good football player.” The second was after a Ravens fumble, picked up by Telvin Smith and returned to the 2-yard line.

You can take into account that it was the Ravens first time playing a game in London and it takes some getting used to. But the Jaguars looked faster, bigger, stronger, tougher and more determined than Baltimore from the start. Joe Flacco was ineffective, so much so that Ryan Mallet played the fourth quarter.

Up 37-0, Doug Marrone called for a fake punt, and it worked. Corey Grant sped down the right sideline inside the 10. That’s where Leonard Fournette scored off left tackle, his third TD in his first three NFL games. Not sure why Marrone would call for a fake there but there’s no mercy in the NFL. Points scored is one of the tiebreakers for the playoffs if you want to start talking about that. Still, that’ll open up some eyes around the league, and make a lot of Jaguars fans happy.

Which I’m sure they are now.

The Jaguars are 2-1 and headed to New York next week to play the Jets. It might be the first time the Jaguars are favored in a while.

Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris -

Jaguars To Use “Home” Field Advantage vs. Ravens

It’ll be the question that Jaguars fans will ask up until kickoff of the game at Wembley Stadium against the Baltimore Ravens: Which team will show up? The one that thrashed the Texans or the one that was bullied by the Titans at home?

Ask the players and they think they’re closer to the team that played the first week in Houston.

“I think so,” said Jaguars defensive lineman Malik Jackson. “Being with this team, we’re that first team, and the team that played in the first half last week. That’s just what we have to work on, make sure we’re consistent.”

When comparing the two games, the Jaguars said it was pretty obvious what the difference was: When the plays were there against Houston, they made them. When they were there against the Titans, they didn’t.

“It was the case,” said linebacker Telvin Smith. “That’s the part we have to get right. Part of executing those plays, don’t let the game get away from us in the first 15 minutes or in the third period.”

Digging deeper into what happens when they don’t execute, Smith explained that one play in one drive can change the game.

“I don’t think people realize that one play on a drive can effect so many things down the line. The play calls, everything.”

“That’s pretty much football,” Jackson added. “I gotta do better on double-teams and pressure on the quarterback.” Breaking the game down on the field, the Ravens are considered the favorite based on 10 takeaways in their two season-opening wins. But it is their first trip to London, and the Jaguars familiarity with the trip and the routine should give them some edge.

“It’s my fourth year,” Smith explained. “It’s the routine, going to the same spot, seeing the same scenery, going to the same hotel those are things that help you prepare and get more locked in.”

Even the fans who show up at practice and at the team hotel give the trip a familiar feeling. Telvin said he looks forward to seeing some of the same faces in the crowd.

“The fans are more familiar. I’ve signed for some of the same fans I’ve seen for four years. I’m familiar with the area, the hotel it all helps.”

“People get excited when we come over here,” Jackson agreed. “It’s something special. Everything’s fun when you win.”

Against the Ravens the Jaguars will have to play well. There’s no backing into a win over Baltimore. And Smith, a vocal team leader, quickly put any thoughts that there’s some grumbling from one side of the ball or the other to rest.

“We all need each other,” he said. “Either side has to step up. You have to realize that you rely on the offense and the special teams as much as you do yourself. Everybody’s trying to get to a win and get to winning. It’s not hard to do with this group of guys, I’ll say that.”

Jaguars Say London Trip Is Pretty Routine

Over the five years the Jaguars have hosted a home game in London they’ve tried several ways get themselves ready to play the game. Five years ago they left on Sunday night right after playing the Bengals in Cincinnati. The next year they left on the Monday and practiced in London for the week. But since they lost, badly, both of those years against the Cowboys and 49ers, they tried a quick turnaround, practicing at home, leaving Thursday afternoon for a Sunday game last year. And when they beat Buffalo using that plan, they followed the schedule to the minute the following year and beat Indianapolis. They have the same schedule this year facing the Ravens at Wembley on Sunday. It could be called superstitious but more accurately it creates a routine the players can count on.

“I think so,” Quarterback Blake Bortles said after an early afternoon practice at Allianz Field for the third straight year. “A big group of guys have been on this trip a couple of years. It helps to have a routine; it helps with sleep and having some experience here. We try to stay up as long as possible today and usually everybody feels good by Saturday.”

Traveling on the world’s longest commercial airliner, the Virgin America jet has enough first class seats for most of the players to have a lie-flat bed and get some sleep crossing the Atlantic. On domestic away games, the coaches sit up front. The team arrived early Friday morning, checked into their hotel and went immediately to practice, with Head Coach Doug Marrone saying every player reacts to the trip differently.

“For each player that’s done it before it works for them,” he noted. “They know what to do. I don’t think there’s one clear way to do it. You’re here on a business trip, not sightseeing not on vacation.”

It was obvious after practice today that the players were anxious to get back on the field. They’ve had success the last two years at Wembley and last week’s loss to the Titans at home stung the players after having success in week one against the Texans.

“We kinda break the season down into quarters and right now we’re 1-1,” Bortles explained. “We want to win every quarter so we have a chance to get back on track this week.”

It would seem silly to call the game in week three of the regular season as a “must win” game. But without a bye following the trip to London and back-to-back road games at the Jets and the Steelers, a win this week on their “home” turf at Wembley Stadium would go a long way in helping the team be competitive in the division.

“I want that mentality every week,” Marrone added. “Treat everything as a must win.”

Jaguars 2017 Look Like Jaguars 2016 vs. Titans

After a week where they didn’t commit a single turnover, the Jaguars gave up two in the first half and one at the start of the third quarter against Tennessee in the home opener on Sunday. After playing only his second game as a professional without turning the ball over last week, Blake Bortles was sacked and fumbled the ball and a pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and picked off. Bortles threw it behind Marqis Lee to start the second half and the batted ball was easily grabbed by Tennessee. The first two could be considered not his fault, but turnovers are turnovers. And the third was just a bad throw.

When you turn it over on three consecutive possessions in the NFL, bad things start to happen. Your defense is on the field too much. The opponent starts to run through their playbook because they are staying on the field. And eventually, they score, which is what Tennessee did after a long punt return, Derek Henry running through some Jaguars and around others inside the 20 to give the Titans a 16-3 lead.

After another series where the offense didn’t get the job done, the Titans scored again taking advantage of a long throw from Marcus Mariota to Taywan Taylor to make it 23-3. And to add insult to injury, Jalen Ramsey hit Delaney Walker out of bounds after the TD for a 15-yard penalty. And it’s not just the penalty; it’s that kind of undisciplined play that has earned the Jaguars a reputation as a sloppy team.

It would be easy to dump it all on Bortles after he appeared to revert to the Blake of 2016. Perhaps that’s the case, but the Jaguars wide receivers didn’t get much separation against the Titans DB’s and had a couple of drops as well. The offensive line did a decent job and was at least serviceable, but falling behind and relying on the passing game to keep you in it is not how the Jaguars are built nor is it how they want to play.

With ten carries for 33 yards in the first half, Leonard Fournette wasn’t a factor once the Titans took the lead. And without the fear of the running game, Tennessee was able to sit back and manage the game on defense.

It was pretty clear the Jaguars defense was out of gas, giving up a screen pass touchdown mid-third quarter to make it 30-3, Don’t you know Mike Mularkey had a sly smile on his face when all this was happening.

A couple of other touchdowns were scored, but they just padded the stats of both Titans and Jaguars players. Fantasy owners were happier, but the rest of the game was played in front of a virtually empty stadium, and rightfully so. Kind of a shame after the week we had that the Jaguars would put up this kind of performance in the only game in Jacksonville before October 15. They’ll play in London next week, then at the Jets and Pittsburgh before coming home.

And perhaps regrettably, outside of the opening couple of drives on offense and defense, they looked like the same team as last year.

Fournette Works In Relief Effort

As one of the shelters that’s expected to stay open the longest, the Bob Hayes Sports Complex and Legends Center needs plenty of food and supplies.

Tonight’s delivery of water, clothing, shoes and food was a cooperative effort of the Florida Air National Guard from Jacksonville and Tampa, the Harris County Houston Sports Authority and Leonard Fournette of the Jaguars.

Fournette’s experience of his trials living through Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans inspired him to show up Tuesday night to hand out supplies, take some pictures, sign autographs and offer hope. He has said that staying on a bridge for five days made him tougher. It’s the message he had for those in the shelter tonight.

“Any situation you go through defines your character,” he said while handing out water and supplies. “It’s going to make a lot of people stronger at the end of the day.”

Getting back from Houston on Tuesday morning, the Jaguars had the rest of the day off before preparing for Tennessee this Sunday at home. But Fournette was anxious to help.

“It’s not hard at all. I jumped out of my bed, it’s our off day, so why not?” he explained. ” I wish somebody would have done this for us when I was a kid.”

And if you think his appearance was just for show, Fournette had the interest, and the empathy for those at the shelter that can only come from somebody who’s been there. It was real.

“I wanted to give back. Something that comes naturally for me, I wanted to give back to the community, a lot of people are going through hard times right now.”

And if you listen to Fournette talk about the platform he has as an NFL player, you realize this won’t be the last time he steps up and tries to have an impact.

“I want to be a difference maker in the world,” he said. “With everything that’s going on with this generation it’s a crazy time but I want to be a difference maker.”

Fournette called Sunday and emotional time for Houston and their fans but was also emotional for the Jaguars leaving before Hurricane Irma hit. He lauded his teammates for practicing hard and staying focused and called the victory over the Texans a “great team win.”

If the goal was to quiet NRG Stadium last Sunday after the initial burst of emotion Fournette said the goal this week at home, “is to be loud and stay loud.”

Doing a lot of the heavy lifting delivering supplies, airmen formed a sort of “conga line” from the truck to inside the shelter.

“We all got activated, so when you get to do the state mission, you’re pretty excited,” said Lt. Col. Scott McGuire from the Florida Air National Guard.

“I haven’t been called to do anything since 2004 so it’s pretty amazing to get a chance to do something like this. With people coming into the shelters and going through this kind of devastation it’s great to be able to help.” Leading a team of co-workers and coming in last Monday Holly Kesterson of the Harris County Houston Sports Authority said they wanted to help right away.

“We obviously just went through Harvey. We were fortunate to get so many supplies, food, clothing from so many places. Florida was one of those. They reached out to us right away We were able to come and help out so we’re glad to be here to help.

Working along the JSO officers and the Air National Guardsmen Kesterson said it good to see so many groups working together.

“They’re the best, they’re the elite,” she explained. “Since this is the last long term shelter, they’re getting the job done right now.”

And as far as her hometown of Houston? Kesterson was upbeat.

“It’s a long path getting everybody on their feet but we’re rallying and we’re coming back.”

Jaguars, Khan Help In Relief Effort

With the team arriving back from Houston on Tuesday morning, the Jaguars administration had to get immediately to work on what was going on in Jacksonville. Water had come into the south end zone of the stadium but once the St. Johns started to subside, it was pumped out immediately. After assessing the situation, the decision was made that it was safe for fans, workers and players and the game against the Tennessee Titans would go on as scheduled at 1 pm.

Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan will make a $1 million donation to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund.

“Jacksonville gets labeled as ‘small market,” Khan said. “But it has a heart bigger than any community I’ve been associated with in my life. Jacksonville will recover and come back stronger than ever, but who couldn’t use a little help from our friends? ”

As part of the relief effort, Khan and the Jaguars are encouraging fans to work with the Florida First Coast Relief Fund and use the hash tag #JaxAsOne on social media posts.

“I’m hoping that our sponsors, partners and fans will think of Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund this week and give what they can,” Khan added. “Then, we gather Sunday at EverBank Field to show the world we’re back in a big way, as a team and as a community. This is Jax As One.”

In another effort to help the community and admittedly to help deliver a home-field advantage on Sunday, Khan and the Jaguars will donate 5,000 tickets to the community.

“In the midst of our worst of times, our first responders demonstrate their best. I am grateful to the Jaguars for recognizing the tremendous sacrifice and commitment of the teams from the Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, City of Jacksonville and independent agencies,” said Mayor Lenny Curry.

“These men and women have worked around the clock before, during, and after the storm to save lives in our city. Jacksonville is a resilient city full of resilient people. I am incredibly proud of us all.”

The Jaguars will automatically distribute a portion of the allotment to organizations representing first responders, volunteers and organizations like the Jacksonville Fire & Rescue, Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office, JEA, Beaches Electric, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way, Florida National Guard and similar organizations. The remaining allotment will be distributed to residents who have been impacted and perhaps experiencing hardships in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

“We wanted to do something that was symbolic but also substantial,” said Jaguars President Mark Lamping. “The million dollars will go a long way, staying in the 5 county area to those in need. But we also wanted to do something symbolic (tickets) and use Sunday as the rebirth of this great city.”

First Coast residents can apply for the donated tickets via the Jaguars’ Hurricane Irma Relief Ticket Offer and recipients will be randomly selected. The process for registration and distribution for the tickets to Sunday’s game will be available at Tickets to Sunday’s game also remain on sale to the public for those wishing to guarantee seats.

Jaguars Workout In Houston, Thinking Of Home

There’s a lot going on with the weird confluence of September 11th, the Jaguars win and Hurricane Irma’s impact.

From Houston, Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone referenced all three in a conference call on Monday afternoon. Marrone wished everybody in Jacksonville to be safe as floodwaters rise and fall and said the team’s first priority was the safety of the players and their families. That’s one of the reasons the Jaguars will stay in Houston at least one more night.

“It’s very difficult,” Marrone said when asked about keeping track of what’s going on in Jacksonville. “You’re looking at the news and we’re on our computers and trying to check on families. All of our resources are put right now is for the safety of people back in Jacksonville.”

Although Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien offered his practice facility to the Jaguars, Marrone said since Houston has a Thursday night game this week, he thought it was best to make their own plans. That’s why the Jaguars did some conditioning and stretching at the Tellepsen Family YMCA in Houston.

In some convoluted way, the Jaguars staying in Houston after beating the Texans might promote some team building. Instead of flying back home and going their separate ways, the squad took buses back to the hotel for the night.

“I’m always looking for that,” Marrone explained. “I’ve seen some of that building up to the game. You don’t know until you start playing. They communicated with each other and with the coaches very well during the game. Being here together will help with team building.”

Jaguars Notes From Houston

Staying in Houston another night, Doug Marrone said he was keeping tabs on what’s going on in Jacksonville. He also noted that September 11th was a particularly personal remembrance for him. One of his teammates was in one of the towers and a close friend was a firefighter in New York, killed during the rescue.

On Allen Robinson, Marrone said,

“We all understand next man up but what I think about is how hard ARob has worked and what kind of year he wanted to have. He was set up for a great year but to sustain an injury is really a blow.” Surgery hasn’t been set for Robinson’s torn ACL.

On the offensive line:

“I was happy with the physicality and how they played. The level of expectation will be higher going forward.”

On Arrelious Benn:

“He’s done an excellent job on special teams. He’s somebody who we can put in the game and play. He’s a smart player. He can play multiple positions, slot, outside.” Benn will get more playing time at wide receiver now that Robinson is out for the year.

On Jason Myer’s missed kicks:

“I thought Matt Overton (the long snapper) had his best game. (Marrone played that position) “He did an excellent job. It’s always concerning when somebody doesn’t do what they’ve done what they’ve done in practice.” No word or whether they’ll look at kickers again this week.

Paul Posluszny played only 8 snaps on defense in the game but Marrone said it was because of what the Texans brought to the line of scrimmage on offense.

“Poz played 8 snaps but he’s giving quality plays on special teams. They went to 11 personnel so we had to match that. His role will be week-to-week depending on how other teams play us.”

And despite his production in his first NFL game, Marrone wasn’t ready to anoint Leonard Fournette as the starter or up his workload.

“I think you’re always concerned when you haven’t been around a player in the NFL and obviously that’s a concern for all the rookies that play. You really don’t know the anxiety of the game or what’s going to get to them or how they’re going to react. There’s just so many factors that go into it. Obviously you feel more comfortable as you see them play, so for me going forward, I just think it’s a matter of the production. As long as he has production there, as any player on our team, you continue to play and if you can keep that production level up, you can play more and more and I see that out of Leonard. But obviously, if someone is having results like that, you’d like to build upon that, but we know we have a 15-game season. We feel like we have two guys with Leonard and Chris [Ivory], they’ve given us a good solid, powerful backfield.”

Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris -

Jaguars Don’t Just Win, They Dominate Texans

All through the preseason veteran Jaguars defensive players said they were going to be all right. Between resting veterans and nagging injuries, the expected starting eleven on defense didn’t have one play together. Signing Calais Campbell and A.J. Boyue in the off-season, plus with the development of Myles Jack, Dante Fowler and Yannick Ngakoue, the expectations were that the Jaguars defense would control the tempo of the game and field position.

And create turnovers.

All of that was true in the first half and more against Houston. Coverage down field helped the pass rush. Campbell had 2.5 sacks, Ngakoue stripped the ball from Tom Savage and Abry Jones recovered. It was exactly what the Jaguars were looking for out of their defense. The Texans had 25 total yards on offense midway through the second quarter. Two Jason Myers FG’s made it 6-0 Jaguars.

Meanwhile, the offense looked exactly like what was drawn up when they drafted Leonard Fournette. The Jaguars first round pick had 17 carries for 56 yards in the first half and scored a TD on a 1-yard fourth down run. Questionable play calling limited the Jaguars offensive production, especially giving it to the fullback on third down at the goal line. Too cute, give it to 27. Tom Coughlin’s first words to Fournette when they drafted him were “We’re brining you here to score touchdowns so get ready.” And he did just that.

After much consternation about the quarterback, Blake Bortles was serviceable, going 7 of 13 for 91 yards. A couple of good throws, a couple off the mark but no turnovers. The Jaguars out-produced the Texans in yards, 178-46.

Again late in the first half, Ngakoue was dominating whichever offensive lineman was put in front of him. Another strip of the ball from Savage created a turnover that Fowler picked up and ran for a TD giving the Jaguars a 19-0 halftime lead.

To no one’s surprise, Houston replaced Savage at QB in the second half with their first round pick Deshaun Watson. He provided a spark for the Texans, driving them down the field and throwing a 4-yard TD pass to Andre Hopkins to make it 19-7. The drive was helped by two questionable defensive penalties. Ngakoue was called for roughing the passer on third down near midfield when he barely touched Watson. Fowler was called for hands to the face when his left hand was under the blockers chin during a pass rush. Ngakoue’s was bogus. Fowler’s was the right call but just at the wrong time.

In a turnaround, the Jaguars answered right back, driving the length of the field thanks to solid running by Chris Ivory and Fournette and a nice throw and catch by Bortles and Allen Hurns. The TD pass to Tommy Bohanon was part of the Fournette Factor as Bortles faked it to 27 over the left side and rolled to his right. Every defender went after Fournette and Bohanon was wide open for the TD. 26-7 Jaguars in the third quarter.

Although Watson had the elusiveness to get out of the pocket on a couple of occasions, the Jaguars were bringing the heat on the rookie forcing a couple of short throws. Fowler and Ngakoue were both still dominating, this time Fowler kicking the ball out of Watson’s hand with Ngakoue recovering. Whether it’s a timing thing or a confidence thing, Jason Myers is quickly playing himself out of a job as the Jaguars kicker. A missed PAT early in the game was followed by a 39-yard missed field goal in the 4th quarter that would have given the Jaguars a 22-point lead. Bad time for a really bad miss when it comes to changing the momentum. Even head coach Doug Marrone said it could be a timing thing since the injury to long snapper Carson Tinker but whatever it is, it needs to be fixed.

With a few carries forcing the Texans to use their timeouts, Fournette got 100 yards on 26 carries. Bortles didn’t turn the ball over and the defense set the record for sacks, getting 10 against the Texans, four from Campbell.

A late interception by Tashaun Gipson gave the Jaguars a chance at a FG. Myers converted this one making the final score, 29-7.

It’s the first time the Jaguars have started the season with a road win since 2000. They haven’t won an opener since 2011 against Tennessee, which also happens to be the last time they were over .500. It’s also their first win in Houston since 2014.

The takeaway?

Money spent on defense with the addition of Boyue and Campbell seems to be money well spent. The veteran players doing what they’re supposed to do enhanced the development of the players they’ve been counting on. Getting 10 sacks, a franchise record, had to do with pressure and coverage, just how it’s supposed to work.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was how well the offensive line played. Maybe the Texans are terrible but no matter, winning the battle up front is where it all starts on offense. And the Fournette Factor made everybody better on that side of the ball, including Blake Bortles. It all worked just as they drew it up. This is the kind of team the Jaguars want to be under Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone. They have the personnel to be just that.

But for now, they’re 1-0. And that’s good.

Jaguars Decisions: Not Just “The 53”

On one hand, it’s simple math this time of year in the NFL. The league changed to just one cut for 2017 instead of the traditional two so there are a lot of decisions and a lot of numbers to deal with this weekend. Instead of stepping down from 90 to 75 and eventually 53 players, this year the league is having teams make one cut. Each of the 32 teams will go from 90 to 53 players starting Saturday. That means each team eliminates 37 players who have been in camp, some longer than that and some whose football career will come to an end. On average, 40% of each NFL roster turns over year to year.

“I never felt like it was my place to tell someone not to pursue their dreams, and that’s what it is for a lot of people,” Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said this week about making cuts in the NFL. ” You try to give them different things, there’s the Canadian League, Arena [Football League], things of that nature. I think that as long as you are honest and up front, I think the players appreciate it.”

While that might be the case, this year the sheer number of available players is staggering. Thirty-two teams cutting 37 players means there will be 1,184 professional football players who won’t have a job as of Saturday. With that number of players being released, teams like the Jaguars will be scouring other teams cuts looking to upgrade the roster. So perhaps the 37 players who didn’t play for the Jaguars against the Falcons in the final preseason game have a spot on the opening day roster. The next 16 players are hoping to hang on. Even if they’re part of the “final 53” this weekend, there’s no guarantee they’ll be around on opening day.

If it sounds fraught with sleepless nights and wondering by the players, Marrone says it’s the same for coaches.

“You spend all this time with players and you’re working with them and you’re trying to get them better and coach them and get them in a position where they can earn a spot or make a team,” he explained. “Within a matter of a two-minute conversation it’s over and that player walks out and you might not see him again. There’s a relationship that is built during this time. It is a difficult time.”

If you’ve ever been cut, you know it’s not fun and it’s not a conversation you can look forward to or predict. Former Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell laughs when he says, “I’ve been benched, traded and cut. I’ll be OK.” But admits each time it happened, it was a new kind of disappointment and challenge.

Marrone agrees.

“I think it’s by far the toughest part of the business,” he said. “I think it’s one that everyone understands happens. There’s not a guy that doesn’t understand what happens. I struggle with all of that. I struggle with that; I struggle with that being on TV (as in on “Hard Knocks”). I think that’s a very, very personal moment.”

At this point it appears the Jaguars have some position where the numbers don’t add up and some players who are cut in Jacksonville will end up on other rosters. Wide receiver in particular is a position where the Jaguars will have to decide how important performance on special teams counts when making this roster. Rashad Greene and Shane Wynn look to be serviceable NFL players but might not have a spot in Jacksonville. And if they do, it could mean Allen Hurns does not.

There are three tight ends for one spot and one of them, free agent signee Mychal Rivera hasn’t been healthy in the preseason. Neal Sterling? Ben Koyak?

Will the Jaguars keep a fullback and if so, will it be one of the two that are currently on the roster? And what about T.J. Yeldon? As a blocker, he’s the best among the backs but is that enough?

There are a slew of defensive backs for only six spots, so somewhere they had to show some very special, special teams ability to be on “the 53.”

It’ll be a busy weekend for every NFL team, but especially for a team like the Jaguars, looking for depth and perhaps somebody who might fight for a starting spot. Executive VP of Football Tom Coughlin and GM Dave Caldwell will be busy that’s for sure. What decisions they make could shape the team not just for this year, but for the foreseeable future.