This week I’ll be looking at the AFC and NFC South and how they did with their drafts. I’ll ask 3 questions about each team. Did they address their biggest need? Who will have the biggest impact? What could 2019 look like?
Let’s start with the Indianapolis Colts. After having a pretty strong offensive line, quarterback Andrew Luck, and Pro Bowl tight end Eric Ebron, the Colts focused on defense. 7 of their 10 picks were defensive.
Who could have the biggest impact? Former Michigan State safety Khari Willis. He worked hard and was an impact player. I think he’ll fit in nicely. 2019 for the Colts? If their defense lives up to its potential, it could be tough sledding for the rest of the AFC South.
Even after being named MVP of a Super Bowl LII, even after saving the Eagles 2018 season and taking them to the playoffs, Philadelphia continued to tell quarterback Nick Foles he just wasn’t good enough. QB Carson Wentz, who has been injured the last two seasons, will be their starter. Foles decided that it was time to move on, and he paid $2 million to do it.
The Eagles had picked up Foles $20 million option, but that would mean he would continue to carry a clipboard for Wentz. Foles paid the fee to be released from that option, but Philadelphia still has the ability to franchise tag him. This would give the team the ability to trade him. It has been reported that multiple teams are interested in bringing Foles on board. This isn’t surprising considering the state of the quarterback situation in the NFL.
After Sunday’s AFC South Divisional loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the jury is out on if the Indianapolis Colts can actually make a wild card playoff appearance. Although there are still 4 games left in the regular season, chances now appear to be diminishing.
On Sunday’s matchup, it appeared to be the Battle the Defenses as the Colts only allowed the Jaguars 211 total yards. (132 passing and 79 rushing).
Defensive end Denico Autry led with seven solo tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, and four quarterback hits. Autry has become one of the first Colts’ to pick up three sacks since defensive end Robert Mathis in 2013. Although Indianapolis did not get their needed divisional victory, the defensive line kept Jaguars backup quarterback Cody Kessler and company from the end zone and forcing two field goals.
About this time last year, Indianapolis had a problem when playing Jacksonville. In fact, Jacksonville earned the name “Sacksonville” while recording 10 sacks on second stringer QB Jacoby Brissett.
Brissett was filling in for a very injured QB Andrew Luck of the Colts and not allowing one win. And with that, the Jaguars proceeded to win the AFC South and started off this season as a favorite to take over and potentially become a contender. But the AFC South has been very unpredictable this season.
This past Sunday in Indianapolis, the Colts matched up with the Jaguars in a must-win divisional game. The Colts pulled off a victory over the Jaguars 29-26 and extended their win streak to three. Jacksonville, on the other hand, has a six-game losing streak going.
After seeing the Jacksonville Jaguars during practices, a scrimmage, and a pre-season game, there are a few observations that can be made.
I have no idea how they’ll do, but they won’t be beaten due to being out of shape. Head coach Doug Marrone is a taskmaster and until you’ve been under a Jacksonville sun at noon, you can’t imagine the heat these guys practice in. To his credit, Marrone and all the coaches wear black shirts.
Blake Bortles is, and most likely, will always be an inconsistent quarterback. Andy Dalton comes to mind. However, his lows were better than Dalton’s and he’s had more highs. It’s clear that he feels relaxed and loose. When he makes mistakes they appear more testing boundaries over making dumb mistakes. FYI, the guy is an athlete. After going two and half hours in the heat of the day, the team does wind sprints and he’s the first one every time. This guy will be a threat with RPO’s.
The Jacksonville Jaguars continue to make moves. Their signings and releases freed up cap space and improved the roster in a few places.
Wide receiver Donte Moncrief was an uptick for them over WR Allen Robinson because his contract is less and is a “Prove It” one. He signed a one-year, $9.6 million, fully-guaranteed contract that also contains another $2 million in incentives.
In a move that shouldn’t have shocked anyone, the Jaguars offered quarterback Blake Bortles a three-year, $54 million deal, 26.5 guaranteed. Additional incentives are included making it worth up to $66.5M. More details will be released soon.
Bortles was the Jaguars 1st pick of the 2014 draft. He went third overall, behind Houston Texans defensive end Jadevion Clowney and Detroit Lions tackle Greg Robinson.
Some people think the Jacksonville Jaguars flipped their team in one season. Wrong. When Shad Khan hired General Manager Dave Caldwell, he began four year long journey.
Caldwell drafted Blake Bortles, then went about the next three years drafting talent while removing older players with big contracts. In 2015 Bortles threw 35 touchdowns, but a ton of interceptions and the defense wasn’t good.
In 2016, the defense started taking hold, but Bortles was playing with two dislocated shoulders and a bum wrist. Doug Marrone, who had been hired that season to fix the OL, was moved up to head coach when Gus Bradley was fired.
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ were active on the first day of free agency.
General Manager, Dave Caldwell, made a few moves today. He signed their longest-tenured player and fan favorite, Marcedes Lewis, to a contract option. The $3.5 million deal is for only one year. In his 12 seasons with the Jaguars, he has caught 33 touchdowns, five of which came this season.
For the 8th time in the 16 years that Tom Brady has been a healthy starting quarterback for the New England Patriots with Bill Belichick as his head coach, the New England Patriots are going to the Super Bowl.
Let that sink in. It’s amazing, astonishing, and sounds impossible, but it’s true.
The Patriots beat the #1 passing defense in the AFC Championship game, 24-20 to advance to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis where they will take on the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles after their rout of the Minnesota Vikings.
All week, the media was talking about two things: Jacksonville’s defense and Brady’s injured throwing hand. Despite the 12 stitches at the base of this thumb, Brady was able to engineer his 11th game winning drive to seal the Patriots’ victory.