By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
Oops, they did it again. If you are keeping score at home, here it goes; Jimmy Smith had an issue with drugs. They ended his career. R Jay Soward couldn’t get to Jaguars practice because of his affinity for the illegal stuff. Reggie Williams may have been serviceable, but he liked the wacky weed. Matt Jones was caught with drugs as a member of the team. Justin Blackmon has been suspended more than he has been on the field and now we can add Ace Sanders to the list of players who have been in violation at one point or another of using illegal substances.
Take into account that Jerry Porter and Troy Williamson never panned out as free agent pickups (without violations) and the wide receiver unit for these Jaguars over the course of its existence has been a lesson futility. Quite honestly, I wonder if the team is somehow cursed.
With the latest announcement of Sanders violating the NFL”s Substance Abuse Policy, you have to wonder if the team will ever be able to field a unit that is error and guilt free. It also makes the drafting of Marquis Lee and Allen Robinson that much more important.
The Jaguars are on the uptick and no matter whether I write about wasted cabanas and fan-friendly activities, this is just another blow to the roster as the team must now concentrate on another off-field issue. In recent years, Blackmon, Maurice Jones-Drew and the hires and firings have been the issues which have put the team on the map and in the media. The recent growth of the roster, the draft picks the past two seasons and of course Gus Bradley and his intensity have overcome those obstacles.
This one, however small it seems in NFL context, is more damaging to the team because it halts the progression this team has made. It also may have determined Sanders’ fate on a roster that is now crowded with solid hands.
Lee and Robinson have helped to cause plenty of competition on the outside.
“I just really wanted to let the fan base know, let my family know, let Mr. Shad Khan, (General Manager) Dave Caldwell and (Head) Coach Gus (Bradley) and all my teammates know that I am truly sorry for what has happened,” Sanders said on Jaguars.com.
The apology is one thing, but showing that he meant it is far more important. Blackmon did the same thing – three times – and is not on the current roster, but has not been released by the organization.
One can only hope this is a one-time offense and not the start of another situation that will grow from a tiny spore into a larger mushroom.
This team and its fans deserve a better fate than to have to go through this again.
Fulham players to sign autographs with Jaguars players following Friday’s training camp practice
Members of Fulham Football Club will attend the Jaguar’ first training camp practice on Friday at 9:55 a.m. at the Florida Blue Practice Fields. Fulham players will sign autographs along with Jaguars players following practice.
Fulham FC players will be visiting a youth summer camp at the YMCA (7373 Old Kings Road S, Jacksonville, FL 32217) from 3-3:45 p.m. on Friday. Media are encouraged to attend.
Fulham and D.C. United to hold open practices at EverBank Field Friday evening
Fulham and D.C. United will each hold an open practice session at EverBank Field on Friday evening in preparation for their friendly match on Saturday. D.C. United will practice from 5:30-7 p.m. at EverBank Field while Fulham will practice from 7-8:30 p.m. Gates will open to the public at 5 p.m., and all fans should park in lots C or D and enter the stadium through the East Touchdown Club.
For media, Fulham Manager Felix Magath and selected players will be available to the media at 6:45 p.m. outside the south locker room at EverBank Field.
Fans encouraged to use JTA Stadium Shuttle Saturday evening
There will be limited available parking for the July 26th Mega Event in and around the sports complex. With three events and the first beginning at 6 p.m., fans are encouraged to use the JTA Stadium Shuttle. The Stadium Shuttle will be available for $7.00 round trip from one location, the Convention Center Lot, at 1005 Forsyth St., across from the Prime Osborn Convention Center.
Limited spaces available for Monday’s practice at Bartram Trail High School
A limited number of spaces are available for the Jaguars training camp practice on Monday, July 28 at Bartram Trail High in St. Johns County. The practice is scheduled to run from 6-8:20 p.m. Fans must register at jaguars.com/rsvp and show a proof of RSVP at the gate before entering.
By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
The Jaguars could not ask for a better offseason than the one the team is enjoying right now. As training camp opens this week and the finishing touches are put on new scoreboards and cabana seating and swimming pools, it is a good time to be a fan of the “hippest” football team in the NFL. All those things are great, but there is still one thing that has not been fixed with this franchise yet – a winning record and a drive toward the playoffs.
I hate to burst anyone’s bubble here, but facts are facts. A 6-26 record the past two years, plenty of team turnover and changes made up and down a roster that now has the look of a “real” NFL franchise are road blocks this team must address. The fancy decorations may be great and they look better than anything the city and its fans have seen before. But the amenities do not win football games. Novelties are great. Win football is reality.
We are a city and a fan base that has now been teased by the prince and we hope the gala never ends. We can only keep the clock from striking midnight by doing things – winning and improving.
Shad Khan, Gus Bradley and David Caldwell must continue to work together to make this happen. While making the NFL experience better for fans is one of the most important elements of a winning football culture, unless touchdowns are caught and fumbles are recovered, it all means nothing. Players must step up, rookies must adapt and free agents must impress. Everything means nothing if we are 2-6 after eight games this year.
The Jaguars have a chance to be “something” but that “something” isn’t known yet. Maybe they are a playoff team like Gil Brandt said last week. Maybe they are the team that mirrors a Seattle Seahawks rebuild. Maybe in three years the defense is regarded as the best in the NFL, but for now our team is truly the great unknown.”
Our practice facility will open to the public this week, and thousands of fans will flock to see what the noise is all about, take some pictures, get some autographs and live in the “Jaguars moment.” We will buy season tickets, put on our new jerseys and support our team. But in the end, it means nothing if the product on the field does not generate a new look and a new field. Because if the product on the field can’t improve, the improvements off the field really mean nothing.
The Jacksonville Jaguars signed 2014 second-round draft pick Marqise Lee to a contract, the club announced this morning. Lee, the 39th overall pick in the draft, was the first of the club’s two second round picks and is the last of the club’s nine draft picks to sign a contract.
“We are excited to get Marqise’s contract done as we head into training camp next week,” Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said. “As I said on draft day, we are fortunate to have a player like Marqise. He’s a playmaker that is a threat every time he touches the ball and has a good feel for the game. He has been working extremely hard this offseason and is looking forward to getting back on the field next week.”
Lee, 6-0, 192, was a three-year starter at Southern California and declared for the NFL Draft following his junior season. He concluded his career with 248 receptions for 3,655 yards (14.7 avg.) and 29 touchdowns. Lee owns 24 school records and five Pac-12 Conference marks. He won the Biletnikoff Award as a sophomore as the nation’s top receiver.
As a junior in 2013, Led registered 791 yards and four touchdowns on 57 catches while also seeing time as a returner. He recorded three 100-yard receiving games and finished the season with 1,008 all-purpose yards. His record-breaking season came in 2012 as a sophomore when he posted a single-season school and conference-record 118 receptions for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns. His play earned him All-Pac 12 Conference first-team honors and he was voted as a unanimous All-America while finishing fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting. He registered eight 100-yard receiving games including a three-game stretch with 663 yards, the most yards in a three-game stretch in school history.
A native of Inglewood, California, Lee attended Serra High School in Gardena, California. He lettered in football, basketball and track. He totaled 54 catches for 1,409 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior, earning Parade All-America honors.