JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Strong safety Johnathan Cyprien was supposed to make a big jump in his second season. He was on a lot of preseason lists of players who would have a breakout seasons in 2014, and there were even mentions of the Pro Bowl.
It didn’t happen.
Cyprien did lead the Jaguars in tackles, but he made even less of an impact than he did as a rookie, when he had one sack, two interceptions, six pass breakups, and two forced fumbles. Cyprien had no sacks, interceptions or forced fumbles and broke up four passes in 2014.
The second-round draft pick in 2013 now enters a critical season. He needs to make some progress or the word “bust” is going to start floating around.
Cyprien had trouble with missed tackles but his biggest issue was that he was trying to do too much on the field, coach Gus Bradley said. Cyprien didn’t feel comfortable enough with the players around him, especially after middle linebacker Paul Posluszny went down with a torn pectoral muscle in Week 7, and he overloaded himself.
Bradley hopes that won’t happen this season because Cyprien has played enough football to be confident in himself and his teammates in whatever situation arises.
"The more times you see things the better you get at it. It’s repetition, repetition, repetition," Bradley said at the owners meetings. "Now he’s going into his third year, he’s had some experiences he can go back on and say, ‘I’ve seen that before.’
"The other part is when you play with the same guys on the field year after year, you gain trust and when you gain trust with them now you really put your focus on your job and what you need to do. At times Cyp was probably trying to fix everybody and do more than just his job. But I think he’s gaining that trust and hopefully he’s settling down to where you see him making great strides."
Cyprien plays the same role in the Jaguars’ defense that Kam Chancellor plays in Seattle’s defense. The key to Bradley’s defense is having a physical strong safety to play in the box and help out against the run and a free safety who's able to cover the width of the field by himself. Because the Jaguars haven’t had that free safety, Cyprien has tried to compensate and as a result gets himself out of position.
The Jaguars signed free safety Sergio Brown earlier this month and he’ll have a chance to beat out starter Josh Evans. Regardless of which player wins the job, Cyprien needs to show progress in his third season. The success of Jaguars’ defense depends on it.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said he still might add a couple of players in free agency, possibly a slot receiver and additional depth along the offensive line. They won't be major signings, however, so the bulk of the Jaguars' spending in March is complete.
That makes it a good time to take a quick look at the Jaguars' cap situation. Here's where they stack up:
According to ESPN's Roster Management System, the Jaguars have the most cap space remaining, but only by about $1 million. The Jaguars have $32,301,097 available, followed by Cleveland ($30,961,519) and Tennessee ($29,333,566). There are four other teams that have more than $20 million in cap space available: Tampa Bay, Green Bay, Oakland and Cincinnati.
As of today, the Jaguars' cap number stands at $136,185,010, which includes $1.7 million in dead money. The Jaguars have spent $66,901,049 on defense, which ranks 12th in the league, and $67,672,589, which ranks 14th.
Here's how it breaks down positionally:
- Offensive line: $22,248,833
- Tight end: $20,510,000
- Defensive tackle: $19,370,834
- Linebacker: $16,853,597
- Defensive end: $14,179,525
- Cornerback: $11,378,314
- Wide receiver: $10,800,398
- Quarterback: $8,629,273
- Running back: $5,484,085
- Safety: $5,118,779
- Kicker: $4,822,500
- Punter: $875,480
- Long snapper: $585,834
The Jaguars are atop the NFL ranking in spending at tight end and kicker and are third at defensive tackle behind Cleveland and Washington.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Reading the coverage regarding the Jacksonville Jaguars ...
Former sports agent Joel Corry writes that it's a bit surprising that tight end Marcedes Lewis is still on the Jaguars' roster despite the team making Julius Thomas the highest-paid tight end in the league.
ESPN Insiders Mike Sando, Bill Polian, Louis Riddick, Matt Williamson and Field Yates grade every team's work in free agency. The Jaguars had one of the league's better grades.
In his latest mock draft, NFL.com's Lance Zierlein has the Jaguars taking defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. with the third pick in the upcoming draft. He also has defensive end Randy Gregory, who admitted he failed a drug test at the combine, sliding out of the top 10.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. believes the Jaguars will take Fowler with the third pick in the draft, writes The Florida Times-Union's Hays Carlyon.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Five of the six free agents the Jacksonville Jaguars signed earlier this month are among the team's highest-paid players in 2015.
Tight end Julius Thomas, defensive end Jared Odrick and right tackle Jermey Parnell are the team's top three earners when it comes to cash value, which combines base salary and bonuses. According to ESPN Stats & Information, those three will make a combined $32.1 million this season. That's 25 percent of the total cash spending the Jaguars have on the books at this point.
Here is the top 10:
No. 1: TE Julius Thomas, $15.1 million
No. 2: DE Jared Odrick, $9 million
No. 3: RT Jermey Parnell, $8 million
No. 4: LB Paul Posluszny, $7.5 million
No. 5: TE Marcedes Lewis, $6.8 million
No. 6: CB Davon House, $6.5 million
No. 7: DT Sen'Derrick Marks, $5.225 million
No. 8: LG Zane Beadles, $5 million
No. 9: LB Dan Skuta, $4.6 million
No. 10: DE Chris Clemons, $4.5 million
A couple of things that stand out about the list:
There's only one player in the top 10 whom the Jaguars drafted. Lewis was the team's first-round pick in 2006. That's an indication of how poorly the team has drafted over the past eight seasons.
There are four players who will make at least $7 million this season. Arizona, Buffalo, Miami, the New York Jets and Washington have six. Eleven teams have five.
In case you were wondering, here is what select other players will make and their ranking on the team: QB Blake Bortles ($1.359 million, 21st), K Josh Scobee ($3.45 million, 14th), and RB Denard Robinson ($585,000, 36th).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The NFL draft has always been a crap shoot. No matter how good a player is in college and how well he interviews and tests at the combine, there’s no way to be certain what kind of pro they’ll be. Some players are surer things than others (Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck) but there’s no guarantee.
That’s why teams spend so much time investigating prospects. Investigators talk to college coaches, high school coaches, girlfriends and relatives, anyone they believe can help them develop a full portrait of a player. With that much money -- as well as their own jobs -- at stake, the more information they have, the better. It’s all about minimizing risk.
That’s why the Jacksonville Jaguars should be leery about drafting Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory, who on Wednesday admitted to NFL.com that he tested positive for marijuana at the combine and has had a problem with the drug in the past. None of us on the outside know enough about Gregory’s background and personal life to definitively advocate that the Jaguars should take him off their draft board, but general manager David Caldwell should think long and hard during the next month about whether that would be the best thing for the franchise.
He doesn’t have to look very hard to find a compelling reason, either.
First things first: This argument doesn’t have anything to do with my feelings about the legalization of marijuana or the fact that the NFL’s threshold for the levels of marijuana in testing is lower than Major League Baseball and significantly lower than the World Anti-Doping Agency, which does Olympic testing. It’s a banned substance; the levels are set and players must follow those rules.
It’s not the fact that Gregory failed the drug test at the combine despite knowing, as every other participant does, that he would be tested in Indianapolis – although that does call into question Gregory’s intelligence. Rather, the cause for the most concern is what Gregory said about his marijuana use.
He told NFL.com that he turned to marijuana to cope with the anxiety he felt after he failed to academically qualify to attend Purdue after his high school graduation. Gregory said he tested positive for marijuana twice at Nebraska in 2013 and was told he’d be kicked off the team if he failed a third test. Then there was this quote:
"I don't wake up every day saying, I'd really love to go smoke," he said. "It's not a struggle for me every day [now]; it really isn't. In the past, hell yeah, it's been a struggle. It really has been. Now, I'm focused on my dream."
Gregory admits he struggled with smoking marijuana in the past and said he did it to cope with his anxiety. Those should be two huge red flags for Caldwell because a professional football player’s rookie season often is the most stressful time of his career.
Gregory said he was up front about his marijuana use during interviews at the combine. He told NFL.com that he realized he was being selfish, he’s not a "dumb jock pothead," and he is taking steps to correct his issue. He’s saying all the right things.
But you know who else did? Justin Blackmon.
After being suspended for the first four games of 2013 for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, Blackmon publicly apologized to his teammates, admitted he made a mistake and said he looked forward to putting the situation behind him and maturing and growing as a person. Four games after his return, he was suspended indefinitely for failing another test. He has played in just 20 of a possible 48 games since former GM Gene Smith drafted him with the fifth pick in 2012.
Blackmon was arrested last July and charged with possession of marijuana. That was his third alcohol-related or marijuana-related arrest since June 2010. Blackmon entered a treatment facility and the Jaguars said they have been receiving good reports regarding his progress. He’s now eligible to apply for reinstatement.
Gregory and Blackmon aren’t in identical situations and Gregory might well be a changed man and will never have an issue with drugs again, but there remains a risk that he also could follow the same path as Blackmon, especially considering Gregory’s comments on his past struggles with marijuana. A failed drug test didn’t deter the Jaguars from drafting linebacker Telvin Smith, who also tested positive for marijuana at the combine. However, they took him in the fifth round, which carries much less risk than the first round and especially the top five.
Can the Jaguars afford to take that gamble with two of their last four first-round picks?
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Reading the coverage regarding the Jacksonville Jaguars ...
Defensive end Randy Gregory, a player the Jaguars may be targeting with the No. 3 overall pick in the upcoming draft, admitted he failed a drug test at the NFL combine, writes NFL.com's Kimberly Jones.
John Oehser of Jaguars.com writes that the owners meetings were good for the Jaguars and their fans. The improved perception of the franchise around the league, the fact that the Jaguars aren't included in the talk about teams moving to Los Angeles, and the positive buzz about the hirings of Doug Marrone and Greg Olsen were the main reasons for the positive week.
The financial part of the Jaguars' signings in free agency appears baffling at first glance, writes Fox Sports Florida's Ken Hornack.
Former linebacker J.T. Thomas wanted to be a starter and that's why he signed with the New York Giants, writes NJ.com's Jordan Raanan.
The Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran spoke with several NFL coaches at the owners meetings about some of the Jaguars' newest free-agent signees.
Owner Shad Khan said the Jaguars' free-agency plan developed over several months, O'Halloran writes.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- No need to keep this under your hat, Jaguars fans: The incorrect skyline on the team’s official draft cap has been fixed.
New Era Caps, which makes the official on-field hat for the NFL, released a statement on Wednesday afternoon apologizing for putting the wrong drawing on the underside of the brim and said the player the Jaguars select in the first round of next month’s draft will be given one that has a correct depiction of the city’s skyline.
"We regret the mistake in the depiction of the Jacksonville skyline on their NFL draft cap," the statement read. "We have fixed the issue for both the NFL draft and for mass production of the cap."
When photos of the hat -- which is black with the Jaguars logo in front and a teal brim and included the word Jacksonville and a drawing of the city’s skyline on the underside of the brim -- were released, some Jaguars fans noticed that the skyline wasn’t correct. So they took to Twitter to let New Era Caps know they were unhappy with the apparent mistake.
The company responded:
@Woz75 We regret the mistake in the depiction of the Jacksonville skyline on their NFL Draft cap. We are actively working to fix it.
— New Era Cap (@NewEraCap) March 25, 2015
In fact, the company responded a lot. As of 1 p.m. ET the company had tweeted that response 68 times. Shortly after, New Era released the statement about the correction to the hat.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- One of the questions that I get over and over on Twitter and whenever I encounter Jacksonville Jaguars fans is: When are they going to cut Poz?
Fans see middle linebacker Paul Posluszny's struggles in pass coverage and the fact that his cap number in 2015 is $9.5 million and $7.5 million in 2016 and just assume it's a matter of days before he's released. They're always skeptical when I tell them Posluszny is not going anywhere.
For proof, I give you what coach Gus Bradley said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix. He was talking about the characteristics the Jaguars look for in players, whether it's in the draft or free agency, and he listed three: humility, intelligence, and a warrior spirit. He mentioned only one player on the current roster that has all three.
Here's Bradley's quote. It's a bit long and Bradley rambles a bit, but I've bolded the important stuff about Posluszny:
"There are three aspects we try to look for. One is humility; another is intelligence. Now intelligence to us may not be, hey, he had a high score in the Wonderlic test. It's more that he can make on-the-field good, spontaneous decisions, guys that can adjust real quick. Football intelligence. ...And then this somewhat warrior spirit, these guys like Troy Polamalu who have this humility and great intelligence and when it comes to Sunday they turn into 'aaaaahhhh!' They turn into where you see this guy with unbelievable spirit and passion and then when the game's over he flips the switch and goes back to this person.
"Out of all those three traits we have a guy like that with Poz, who has that humility and intelligence and that warrior spirit. It's hard to find those three traits, so which one do you give on? That's why it's hard in free agency. Does this person have humility? How do you know? The spontaneous decisions you can see that on tape and that warrior spirit you can see that on tape. Really the humility is the ability to identify your weakness. Will they allow you to coach him? ‘Hey, I have these weaknesses.' Good, he identifies them, we identify them, now he has a chance to get better."
Bottom line: Bradley and the Jaguars love Posluszny and he's not going anywhere.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Giving running back Bernard Pierce a second chance is nothing out of the ordinary for Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley. After all, he and the franchise have stuck by and tried to help troubled receiver Justin Blackmon for the past two seasons.
Bradley said he had a good meeting with Pierce shortly after the Jaguars claimed him on March 19 and believes that Pierce's regret over his DUI arrest on March 18, which resulted in the Baltimore Ravens releasing him later that day, was sincere.
"In my meeting with him I wanted to see remorse, humility," Bradley said at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix. "We all make mistakes. Not that it's right or wrong but it's one of those things maybe to a fault of mine [that we believe] we can help in this process and get them back on track. And the guys in the locker room will help that process, too, so it will be interesting."
Sometimes, despite his best efforts, Bradley is unable to help. He certainly tried with Blackmon, having regular meetings with him during a four-game suspension to begin the 2013 season. Some of those meetings lasted more than an hour and they often included no football talk. The team even got permission to take Blackmon with them to the West Coast when they remained in California between road games at Oakland and Seattle.
But that didn't keep Blackmon from violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy for the third time and getting hit with an indefinite suspension that began in Week 9 of the 2013 season. The Jaguars don't have to pay Blackmon's salary during his suspension and he doesn't count against the salary cap and roster limit, either, so there's no financial reason for the team to cut him. But they're keeping him because they want to help him in his recovery.
If Bradley is willing to stick by Blackmon after three alcohol- or marijuana-related arrests, then it shouldn't be a surprise Bradley and the Jaguars are willing to give Pierce a second chance.
"I think what you want to do is ... stay consistent," Bradley said. "If this person gets in trouble and you kick him off the team -- how about if that person was your starting quarterback? Would you kick him off the team? To me it's more the team because as a leader you have to remain consistent.
"I learned that from Derrick Brooks. He said, 'Consistency creates credibility.' You have to be consistent in your decision-making. I'm a guy who likes to give another opportunity. I think if he [Pierce] is around our guys and around our culture we can help him."
It's a two-way deal, though, because the Jaguars are hoping Pierce can help them as well. Since Maurice Jones-Drew led the NFL in rushing in 2011, the Jaguars have had one of the NFL's worst ground games. They've averaged 88.8 yards per game -- worse than every team but Atlanta (86.3) and Arizona (84.2) -- in the past three seasons, and though the 2014 season was by far the best of the three the Jaguars still finished 21st in the NFL at 102.1 yards per game.
Toby Gerhart, signed last March to a three-year, $10.5 million contract, struggled because of ankle and rib injuries. Denard Robinson ended up leading the Jaguars in rushing (582 yards), but he missed the final three games with a foot injury. The offensive line, which started two rookies and a second-year left tackle coming off a fractured ankle, struggled to consistently open holes, as well.
Pierce, 23, had his best season with the Ravens as a rookie in 2012, when he rushed for 532 yards to help the team win the Super Bowl. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry during the regular season and topped that in the playoffs, averaging 5.2 yards in four games. He ran for 202 yards on 39 carries, including 103 yards in a wild-card victory over Indianapolis.
Since then, however, Pierce has struggled because of inconsistency and a long list of injuries: back, ankle, knee, shoulder, thigh, toe, and concussion. Now he has a fresh start -- on and off the field -- in Jacksonville.
"It's another guy that wants to come in and compete," Bradley said. "We provided him an opportunity."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Reading the coverage regarding the Jacksonville Jaguars ...
Talk of at least one NFL team relocating to Los Angeles has heated up this week, but the Jaguars aren't one of the teams mentioned. That's certainly a change from just two years ago when the Jaguars were the first team that people thought of when an NFL franchise in Los Angeles was mentioned. The fact they aren't any longer is no accident, owner Shad Khan told The Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix.
Here is video of Khan speaking to reporters at the owners meetings, courtesy of Jaguars.com.
NFL.com's Bucky Brooks did a do-over for the 2014 NFL draft. The first two picks changed -- he had Houston taking Teddy Bridgewater instead of Jadeveon Clowney and St. Louis taking Odell Beckham Jr. instead of Greg Robinson -- but he kept the Jaguars' pick the same: Bortles.
CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco put out a new scenario for the Jaguars in his latest mock draft. He has the St. Louis Rams trading with the Jaguars, moving up from No. 10 to No. 3 and taking quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Jaguars then take defensive end Alvin "Bud" Dupree.
Coach Gus Bradley comes it at No. 27 in Prisco's NFL coaches rankings.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars did not receive any compensatory draft picks and have seven selections in the 2015 NFL draft, which will be held April 30 to May 2 in Chicago. Here’s a breakdown of the Jaguars' selections:
First round: Third overall selection
Second round: 36th overall selection
Third round: 67th overall selection
Fourth round: 103rd overall selection
Fifth round: 139th overall selection
Sixth round: 180th overall selection
Seventh round: 220th overall selection
Although the Jacksonville Jaguars could use some veteran help in their WR corps, they haven't scheduled a visit with Jennings. Nonetheless, general manager Dave Caldwell said at the owners meetings that they may consider
Provided, of course, that Lewis isn’t traded and makes the roster, which is something general manager David Caldwell said recently Lewis would have to compete to do. However, Lewis won’t necessarily have a reduced role if he does make the roster in 2015, according to coach Gus Bradley.
Speaking during the annual AFC coaches breakfast at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix, Bradley said (via the 15-minute live broadcast on Jaguars.com) the Jaguars could use more two tight end packages on the field.
"Julius and Marcedes play two totally different positions," Bradley said. "One’s an F [Lewis] and one’s a Y [Thomas]. What you could see is more of 12 personnel on the field, because of both those guys [having] different traits. Obviously Marcedes is a great run-blocking tight end and has the ability to extend the field as well. Julius, it’s kind of flipped. His traits are more the pass-catching, receiving-type tight end and so to have those both guys on the field I think is very intriguing."
Let’s be honest: Thomas isn’t a very good blocker and doesn’t particularly like blocking. But that’s OK. That’s not why he was signed. The Jaguars want him to be a matchup issue, lining up in the slot and out wide. They want him to be a red-zone weapon. They want him to catch passes. A lot of passes. Asking Thomas to block like an in-line tight end would be a waste of his talents.
Lewis, however, has been one of the NFL’s better blocking tight ends for much of his career. He’s not as dominating as he once was, but he still does a solid job and it’s the best way for the Jaguars to use him going forward. He’s likely more help in the run game as well as pass protection than he is as a receiver, though he can still make some plays in the pass game.
Putting Thomas and Lewis on the field at the same time doesn’t tip the defense about what play may be coming. If Thomas alone is on the field, the defense can make a pretty good assumption the play is likely to be a pass. If it’s Lewis alone, the play is likely a run. That’s not 100 percent, of course, but with both on the field the Jaguars can press that advantage and defenses have to respect both run and pass.
Because of the Jaguars’ salary cap situation there’s no issue with absorbing Lewis’ $8.2 million cap hit in 2015, so as long as Lewis is healthy and practices well enough -- and isn’t traded -- the Jaguars should have a role for him.
Join us today at 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT for NFL Nation TV's Spreecast Episode 49 as we welcome in draft hopeful Brett Hundley and break down the latest in offseason league news.
Host Paul Gutierrez (San Francisco 49ers reporter) and co-hosts Coley Harvey (Cincinnati Bengals reporter) and Mike Wells (Indianapolis Colts reporter) will be joined all show by Jeremy Fowler (Cleveland Browns and ESPN senior reporter), in addition to Hundley and two other NFL Nation reporters. Wells and Gutierrez will provide updates from the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix.
Fresh off a record-setting career at UCLA, Hundley is one of the many former college players hoping to be claimed in this year's draft that begins April 30. He's regarded as one of the top quarterbacks in this year's class. He'll stop by for a few moments to discuss his pre-draft journey, and how prepared he believes he is for the NFL.
Ben Goessling (Minnesota Vikings reporter) will fill us in on the latest in the Adrian Peterson saga. Are the words of Peterson's agent a benefit or a hindrance? Also, what was up with the camel-riding birthday celebration the embattled rusher had over the weekend?
Fowler will help close things down by discussing the latest in the Browns' quarterback soap opera, and the television show they could be featured on later this summer.
Viewers are encouraged to log in and ask the panelists questions as well as contribute in the chat feature.