Jaguars Awarded Babin off of Waivers

The Jacksonville Jaguars were awarded defensive end Jason Babin off of waivers today from Philadelphia. The Eagles released the 32-year-old veteran Tuesday, despite signing him to a 5-year, $27.725 million dollar contract in 2011. Babin, 6-3, 267 lbs, has played in 109 games, recording 69 starts, during his nine-year career.

Originally a 1st-round draft choice of the Houston Texans, 27th overall, he has bounced from team to team throughout his career spending time with the Texans (04-06), Seattle (07-08), Kansas City (2008), Tennessee (2010) and Philadelphia (2009, 2011-12).

Babin has recorded 53.5 sacks, nine forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries during his career.He is third in the NFL since 2010 with 36.0 total sacks trailing only Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware (45.0) and Minnesota’s Jared Allen (40.0)

Currently, Babin has 5.5 sacks on the year, 3.5 more than anyone on the Jaguars roster and nearly half of the Jaguars team total for 2012 (13).

In 2011, Babin earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl selection after tallying a career-high 18 sacks, good for third in the NFL.  In his only season with Tennessee in 2010, he recorded 12.5 sacks to earn his first Pro Bowl selection.

Here’s to hoping Babin can make some sort of impact on the Jaguars defensive line as they need some help badly. Babin is expected to play right away and possibly start with Austen Lane currently cursing an injury.

DT D’Anthony Smith was placed on Injured Reserve with a Concussion/Neck injury to make room for Babin’s signing.

[Photo Credit: pro32.ap.org]

Power Rankings – Week 13

Here they are…

 1. Houston Texans – 2 OT wins in 5 days? Impressive. (DMedic)

2. Atlanta Falcons – Squeaking by is working… for now. Can’t possibly rely on wins like those come playoff time though. (DMedic)

3. Baltimore Ravens – Great play by Rice to convert that 4th down, good teams find a way, that’s the mantra. (ZMorgan)

4. San Francisco 49ers – Harbaugh can’t bench Kaepernick now can he? (KMomberg)

5. New England Patriots – I don’t know if anything can slow this offense right now. (KMomberg)

6. Chicago Bears – Squeaked one out that shouldn’t have been close, but it’s a win. Gotta handle business against Bucs this week. (ZMorgan)

7. Denver Broncos – Can clinch the AFC West with a win against the young Bucs this weekend. (KMomberg)

8. New York Giants – The bye week helped this team a lot. Eli’s arm didn’t look tired to me. Enough already. (ZMorgan)

9. Green Bay Packers – When their passing rhythm is disrupted they go south quickly. Penetration by the front four beats the Packers. (ZMorgan)

10. Indianapolis Colts – If they can beat Detroit on the road and take care of business at home against Kansas City and Tennessee, the Colts will be a playoff team in the AFC. Who’da thought? (DMedic)

11. Cincinnati Bengals – ‘Bout time they got hot again. Have to win the easy ones, starting with the Chargers. (ZMorgan)

12. Seattle Seahawks – Their inability to win on the road could be their downfall. (KMomberg)

13. Pittsburgh Steelers – Mike Tomlin named Dwyer the starting RB this week. Means nothing if they don’t get their starting QB back. (ZMorgan)

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Lead the league in fewest rushing yards allowed. This team is going to be good in the coming years. (DMedic)

15. Minnesota Vikings – When AP missed the team bus to the stadium, the Vikings might as well have pack up and headed home. Nothing good was going to follow. (ZMorgan)

16. New Orleans Saints – With every loss, that playoff window gets smaller and smaller. (DMedic)

17. Washington Redskins – I said RGIII couldn’t carry this team to the playoffs alone…maybe I was wrong. (ZMorgan)

18. Dallas Cowboys – When this is happening, things have gone awry. (ZMorgan)

19. Miami Dolphins – Back in the thick of the playoff race in the AFC after a win over Seattle. Perhaps thanks to a faulty sprinkler system. (KMomberg)

20. St. Louis Rams – That questionable Janoris Jenkins draft pick is starting to pay dividends. (KMomberg)

21. Detroit Lions – It’s almost like they don’t want to make the playoffs…Big disappointment. (ZMorgan)

22. Buffalo Bills – Just imagine if they actually gave C.J. Spiller the ball 20 times a game. (KMomberg)

23. New York Jets – Buttfumble. That’s all you can really say about this team right now. (KMomberg)

24. Arizona Cardinals – This team started the season 4-0. (KMomberg)

25. Tennessee Titans – The pieces just don’t seem to be there with this team. Locker is fine, but everybody around him is expendable. (DMedic)

26. San Diego Chargers – How do you let a team convert a fourth-and-29? (KMomberg)

27. Cleveland Browns – I say the same thing every week, but they have the building blocks…just have to keep building this team. (ZMorgan)

28. Carolina Panthers – Cam showed up when the national spotlight came on. If only they could play all of their games on Monday night. (DMedic)

29. Oakland Raiders – Suffered their fourth straight loss this past Sunday. Terrelle Pryor time yet? (KMomberg)

30. Philadelphia Eagles – Quite possibly the worst team Andy Reid has fielded in his 14 years with the Eagles. (ZMorgan)

31. Jacksonville Jaguars – Is there a silver lining with Henne at quarterback? Fun watching the emergence of the Shorts-Blackmon duo. (DMedic)

32. Kansas City Chiefs – I thought this team would be a threat to win the AFC West this season. But, that’s why they play the games. (KMomberg)

Jags Make Nine Roster Moves

It was a busy Tuesday for the Jaguars front office as nine player transactions were announced around by the organization.

Running back Jalen Parmele (Groin), who has performed well recently, was placed on Injured Reserve along with defensive back William Middleton (Concussion). Parmele rushed 40 times this season for 143 yards and earned a spot in the starting lineup two weeks ago against Houston. Middleton played in 10 of the Jaguars’ 11 games this season, recording three starts.

The team also released wide receiver Michael Spurlock and safety Chris Harris who were signed on October 5 and October 15, respectively. Spurlock played in six games for the Jags this season, recording 14 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. Harris saw action in five games and recorded just two tackles.

With four roster spots to fill, the Jaguars signed free agents Quan Cosby and Antwaun Molden to contracts and also signed first-year running back Jordan Todman and rookie wide receiver Toney Clemons off of the Vikings and Steelers practice squads, respectively.

Cosby, a fourth-year veteran out of the University of Texas, has spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals (09-10), Denver Broncos (2011) and Indianapolis Colts (2012). In 42 career games he has recorded 6 catches for 71 yards, 97 punt returns for 968 yards and 33 kickoff returns for 740 yards. Cosby figures to assume the role of the recently released Michael Spurlock, mainly returning punts and kickoffs while occasionally seeing snaps out wide on offense.

Molden is a 5th-year cornerback, drafted by the Houston Texans in the third round. He’s appeared in 48 games, recording two starts, with the Texans (2008-10), Patriots (2011) and Giants (2012). Molden should contribute as a versatile player in a struggling defensive backfield.

Todman was drafted in the 6th round by the Minnesota Vikings and has spent time on their active roster and their practice squad. He was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year as a junior at the University of Connecticut when he rushed for over 1,600 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. Todman will try to fill yet another void in the backfield after Parmele’s injury and should see action quickly.

Clemons, a 7th-round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2012 draft, spent the first 12 weeks of this season on their practice squad. In college Clemons averaged 25.8 yards per touchdown reception, finishing his career with 86 catches for 1,162 yards and 11 touchdowns. Clemons will help stretch the field vertically for the Jaguars.

The Jaguars also signed DE Ryan Davis to the practice squad.

Well, it’s about time!

Finally! After a yearlong struggle in front of the home fans at EverBank Field, the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) pulled out their first win at home all year with a 24-19 victory against AFC South rival Tennessee Titans (4-7). The victory, while insignificant in terms of postseason implications for the Jags, is very important in terms of moving forward.

The first player that needs mention in any Jaguar post game story is second year receiver Cecil Shorts III, who finished this game with 105 yards on 4 catches, including a 59-yard strike from new starting quarterback, Chad Henne. This is Shorts’ third 100+ yard game of the season, the most by a Jaguar receiver since 2005. His current 20.8 yards per catch is good for the highest number in the NFL. Shorts III is on pace for a 1000 yard season, the first Jimmy Smith’s last season with the team in 2005.

The emergence of Shorts III and Justin Blackmon, who finished the game with 6 receptions for 62 yards and touchdown and has 3 touchdowns in his past 4 games, seems to be lifted by the increasingly confident play of Chad Henne, who won his first game as the starting quarterback for the Jaguars. Since Blaine Gabbert was sidelined and ultimately placed on IR due to a shoulder injury, Henne has passed for 615 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 1 interception. While many are quick to say that Henne’s performance proves Gabbert’s incompetence, the play calling has truly opened up since Henne got the nod as the starter. In this game, the seemingly rejuvenated air attack in Duval County got the W.

Thankfully, the passing game did as well as it did. When Henne got time to throw the ball, he delivered on-target darts. However, and worryingly so, the Jaguars offensive line gave up 7 sacks in the ball game. That poor performance dropped the Jaguars down to 28th in the NFL in sacks allowed. A recurring theme for the season, the offensive line absolutely cannot pick up a blitz without an extra tight end or running back blocking. Even with their pass protection struggles, the running game had their first 100+ yard rushing game since week 3 against the Colts.

Unlike the offensive line, the defense showed up for this game. The defense held Titans running back Chris Johnson to 80 yards on 21 carries, ending his 5 game streak of 90 or more yards per game. For the 7th time this season, the defense helped to either win or finish even in turnover margin. Rookie cornerback Mike Harris had a 12-yard sack on Jake Locker, the first sack by a non-defensive lineman for the Jags this season. Harris also ended the game with 5 tackles and an interception. In his first action since missing 5 games due to a foot injury, safety Dwight Lowery intercepted a Jake Locker pass that was tipped by linebacker Russell Allen on the Titans final drive where they were in position to kick a field goal to win the game.

On an injury note, cornerbacks Derek Cox and Aaron Ross left the game and didn’t return due to a foot injury and dehydration, respectively. The team will evaluate Cox and will know more about his status by Wednesday. Ross will be ready to go. Running back Jalen Parmele left the game due to an upper leg injury, but returned in the second half. Maurice Jones-Drew has been sidelined due to a foot injury since Oakland, but Jalen Parmele has filled in nicely in his place.

While this win was far from pretty, it was deserved. The players deserved it, the coaches deserved it, and most importantly, the fans deserved it. Moving forward, the positions among the team will be more readily assessed, but for at least until next Sunday on the road against the Bills, this is a good feeling.

Fantasy Corner – Week 12

The Jaguars offense took the fantasy world by storm last week after exploding for 458 total yards against the Houston Texans. There were breakout fantasy performances from new starting quarterback Chad Henne (354 yards, 4 touchdowns), rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon (seven catches, 236 yards and one touchdown) and new starting running back Jalen Parmele (24 carries for 80 yards). This week the Jaguars take on the Tennessee Titans in what could be another high scoring affair between the 30th (Titans) and 31st (Jaguars) ranked defenses in the league. Let’s get to it…

Two to Start:

Titans RB Chris Johnson

Johnson is heating up and is starting to look like the Johnson of a couple of years ago, especially in the last few weeks. In his last five games, Johnson has rushed for 652 yards and three touchdowns. Not to mention the Jaguars are one of the worst run defenses in the league. I expect big things from Johnson this week.

Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon

Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of patience, and his fantasy owners that were patience with Blackmon got rewarded in a big way last week. Blackmon nearly doubled his career receiving yards with his 236-yard outburst last week, and this week could be more of the same.

Two to Sit:

Jaguars RB Jalen Parmele

Parmele has been a hot pickup this week in the fantasy world after overtaking Rashad Jennings on the Jags depth chart. But the truth is the Jags have struggled to run the ball in the absence of Maurice Jones-Drew and I don’t expect that to improve much this week even against the Titans 28th ranked run defense.

Titans WR Kenny Britt

Britt has been up and down all season long, mainly due to nagging injuries. Kendall Wright and Nate Washington are both more trustworthy plays if you are looking for a wide receiver on the Titans.

Sleeper:

Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis 

Lewis had his best fantasy performance of the season last Sunday after catching two touchdowns from quarterback Chad Henne. He seems to be getting targeted more in the redzone, so if the Jags can get there enough on Sunday, Lewis could have another nice game.


Gabbert placed on IR, Palmer signed

In a somewhat surprising move today the Jacksonville Jaguars placed quarterback Blaine Gabbert on injured reserve with a right forearm and left shoulder injury.

To take Gabbert’s spot on the active roster the team signed fourth-year quarterback Jordan Palmer. Palmer, 28, is back with the Jags after spending the 2012 preseason with the team. He completed 19 of 36 passes for 204 yards and one touchdown in three games and had a bit of a flare for the late game heroics, leading the team to a couple of come from behind victories. He previously played for the Cincinnati Bengals under current Jaguars offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski.

The team also placed wide receiver Laurent Robinson on injured reserve this afternoon after he suffered his fourth concussion of the season in Sunday’s overtime loss to the Houston Texans.

To take Robinson’s spot on the active roster the team signed third-year wide receiver Carlton Mitchell. Mitchell, 6-3, 215, spent his first two seasons with the Cleveland Browns after being selected in the sixth-round of the 2010 draft. He spent the 2012 preseason with them before he was cut. The USF product has three receptions for 31 yards in his career and has experience on special teams.

So, the real question out of all this becomes, has Gabbert played his last game for the Jags? Who really knows, but for now it at least adds to the potential drama of this offseason as we continue to suffer through the rest of the regular season.

 

(Photo Credit: Associated Press)

Henne Named Starter

Quarterback Chad Henne will start this Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.

Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey announced the decision at his press conference on Monday. Mularkey said that Henne earned the start based on his performance in Sunday’s overtime loss to the Houston Texans. Henne threw for 354 yards and a career-high four touchdowns.

As for the now former starter, Blaine Gabbert, he will be questionable for this Sunday’s game with an elbow injury.

With the team making the switch to Henne, it certainly begs the question as to the status of Gabbert moving forward. A first-round pick of merely a year ago, Gabbert has looked improved this year, but not necessarily good (which speaks volumes to how horrible he was as a rookie). Mularkey was brought in here to coach him up, but he is not Mularkey’s guy, and no one should blame Mularkey for looking out for his own best interest. If Henne can continue to lead the Jaguars offense in the same way he did this past Sunday, and with big changes likely coming this offseason (cough, cough Gene Smith) we may have seen the last of Gabbert under center for the teal and black.

 

(Photo Credit: US PRESSWIRE)

Gabbert Re-injures Non-Throwing Shoulder in Thursday Night Loss

And the winless streak at home continues. The Jaguars dropped their 5th game of the year at home on Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts when they lost 27-10 behind Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck’s two rushing touchdowns.

After a ton of late game drama in Indianapolis earlier this season when these two teams met for the first time, this rematch lacked really any sort of drama. The Colts scored on three consecutive possessions early, opening up the game with a 17-0 lead that never really seemed to be shortened. The offense never got in a rhythm as the constant theme of dropped passes continued by Marcedes Lewis, Rashad Jennings and Cecil Shorts III that seemed to put Blaine Gabbert in a funk all night. For the third consecutive game in Maurice Jones-Drew’s absence, the running game was M.I.A. as Jennings has only rushed for 131 yards… in the past 3 games combined.

The most consistent piece of the Jaguars team, Josh Scobee, had his consecutive field goal made streak of 20 ended when he missed a 44-yard field goal in the first half. At that point, the crowd lost some faith as well, and by half time, a chunk of the stadium had empty seats.

The remaining fans had hope going into the second half; hope that was annihilated when Darius Butler stepped in front of a bad Blaine Gabbert pass and walked into the end zone for an 11-yard score that seemingly put the game out of reach.

Penalties, however, helped to keep the game out of reach. The Jaguars had an interception overturned by a roughing the passer penalty on Terrance Knighton , keeping alive a drive that ended in a touchdown. They also were on the losing end of two reviews. One of these reviews resulted in an eruption of emotion by Mike Mularkey, tossing his headset and play sheet onto the field, resulting in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. His penalty was joined by 5, yes that’s *5*, more unsportsmanlike penalties. The Jaguars ended the night with more penalty yards (115) than rushing yards.  Adding onto the miscues, Laurent Robinson fumbled during a promising drive. Trailing 17-0, the team set up for a fourth-and-4, but Gabbert bobbed his head and was flagged for a false start.

The bad luck for Gabbert continued. In the fourth quarter, he was brought awkwardly to the ground, and was taken out of the game after re-injuring his left, non-throwing shoulder. He could have returned, but Mularkey decided to keep him on the bench with the score out of hand. Chad Henne entered the game, throwing a late touchdown to Cecil Shorts III, who caught six passes for 105 yards. Robinson also relatively produced, catching 9 passes for 77 yards.

For Jaguar fans, these home games become harder and harder to watch. The Jaguars have been outscored 153-44 at home this season and have seen lopsided losses to Houston, Cincinnati, Chicago and Detroit. Unfortunately for fans, the Jaguars play one of the league’s best, the Texans, in Houston, this Sunday. It’ll be bad, let’s be honest. Keep the faith for brighter days ahead, friends, we’re trying to as well.

Fantasy Corner – Week 10

So my decision to bench Mikel Leshoure last week did not come back and bite me, and hopefully if you took my “expert” advice it didn’t cost you too dearly either. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s turn our attention to this week’s game. I don’t usually like to start players in Thursday night games, but since I have been assigned this task, I will oblige. Let’s get to it…

Two to Start:

Jaguars RB Rashad Jennings

When Jennings took over for an injured Maurice Jones-Drew three weeks ago, there some was excitement about his potential as a fantasy contributor. However, that has quickly faded as he has averaged just 49 rushing yards per game. I think this will be the game Jennings gets off the snide as the Colts defense gives up an average of 130.8 rush yards per game and has given up nine touchdowns on the ground this year.

Colts RB Vick Ballard

Ballard has been getting the bulk of the touches in the Colts backfield since the injury to Donald Brown, and with Brown questionable for tonight’s game, Ballard should be the leading man once again. Similar to the Colts, the Jags boast one of the worst run defenses in the league at 137.4 yards per game and have given up a whopping 12 rushing touchdowns this year.

Two to Sit:

Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon

Blackmon caught his first career touchdown last week, but don’t let that fool you. He has averaged just 9.8 yards per catch this season. On top of that, Blaine Gabbert will still be starting at quarterback.

Jaguars D/ST

As long as Prosinski is starting at safety, I’m leaving the Jags D/ST on the bench.

Sleeper:

Colts WR T.Y. Hilton

Hilton is coming off one of his best outings of his young career, recording six receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown. It is possible fellow receiver Donnie Avery sits out this game with an injury, which would make Hilton an even better option to have a big game against the porous Jags D.

Luck Not on the Jaguars Side

The Indianapolis Colts are headed to Jacksonville for a nationally televised ballgame Thursday night against the 1-7 Jaguars. At 5-3, the Colts are surprisingly well positioned to make a playoff push behind the strong play of rookie quarterback Andrew Luck. The first pick in this years’ draft has been outstanding thus far and the Jaguars secondary hardly presents a reason to believe that outstanding play will cease.

Opposing quarterbacks are averaging 260 passing yards a game against the Jacksonville secondary. Luck threw for 313 in his first matchup against the Jaguars, though the Jaguars won the game 22-17.

Behind Luck, the colts boast the 6th best passing attack in the National Football League, averaging 285 yards/game. Defensively, the Colts are stout against the pass, ranking 11th in the NFL, though they give up 130.8 rushing yards/game, good for 25th in the league.

It seems the Jaguars best opportunity on offense is to rush the football, something they have struggled to do since losing Maurice Jones-Drew for several weeks to a strained foot. Since his injury, the Jaguars have averaged 58 rushing yards/game. That’s not going to win very many football games.

The Colts will undoubtedly come out swinging the football and challenging the Jaguars vertically, the Jaguars desperately need to establish a running game and get Justin Blackmon and Blaine Gabbert on the same page. The two have shown flashes of chemistry, but it hasn’t been there consistently.

“It’s embarrassing but there are better days ahead,” Team Owner Shahid Khan said, per the Florida Times-Union. “I’m deeply grateful to the fans for supporting us. They’ve done their part. Now we have to do our part.”

Khan’s right, the fans have done their part. They have filled EverBank Field and the Jaguars have responded by going 0-4 and being outscored 126-34 at home. Not exactly the type of performance that continues bringing fans to games and can you blame them?

The good news, however, is that the Jaguars have an opportunity to turn things around. No, they aren’t making it to the playoffs. Yes, they will probably have a very high pick in the 2013 draft. However, the Jaguars still have games against the Titans, Bills, Jets and Dolphins ahead of them.

A few wins during the final eight weeks would go a long ways towards building a little optimism and probably saving a couple of jobs along the way.

“Right now it’s like I said a pride thing, and we just want to get something going,” said Defensive Tackle Terrance Knighton. “It’s a Thursday game we get the win, we got a little break off going into the weekend.”