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Well…I did not see this coming. I mean, I thought Jimmy Garoppolo might hold in OK against this menacing defense, but I didn’t realize he’d frustrate it to the point where it would literally destroy the Jaguars.
But it did.
This game will serve as a ‘stake in the ground’ point for both franchises…a point where the Jaguars got exposed and will start to go backward from here, I believe. It was fun while it lasted, but the Jaguars may have just officially ‘jumped the shark’. They showed they are not worthy to be considered among the elite teams. They’re good…they’re dangerous…they are not winning three in a row, including games against NE-PIT-and whoever they draw first in the playoffs. They’re not ready. They’ve peaked.
If a team like Seattle or Dallas had melted down on the sidelines and in-game they way the Jaguars did in this game people would be calling for the coach’s head and talking about what a mess the locker room is all week. When Jacksonville has issues…no one cares because no one cares about Jacksonville’s football team good or bad.
Behind the scenes… I don’t believe the players, by and large, like Doug Marrone. Blake Bortles is not a leader of men. Leonard Fournette is the team’s leader, in a sense, and Marrone benches him in key spots and suspended him a game in-season for missing a team photo…I can see on Fournette’s face that he doesn’t want to be in Jacksonville and doesn’t like Marrone, he suffers him because he’s the head coach. I think the players see the issue and as long as they were winning they didn’t care – one game against the 49ers where things go horribly wrong and the team implodes like a house of cards.
Yes, last week I thought the Jags were the AFC Super Bowl representative favorite…now, I’m jumping off. It wasn’t just that they lost to the 49ers…they got killed, in reality. Humiliated by an inferior team. That’s bad enough but the in-fighting on the sidelines was shocking. The late hit and jawing at the refs penalties we’re childish. A one-time heat of the moment thing, no big deal…but the Jags had like 4-5 out of control moments. They cost themselves the game with their lack of cohesion in crisis and they don’t have a coach or veteran leadership to pull them together. The Wizard of Oz got exposed with the Jags.
The Jags defense has been great, but they’ve been handled by two QBs this season…Jimmy Garoppolo took the heat and led the team to victory. Jared Goff calmly worked right past them. Tom Brady, diminishing capacity and all, will eat them alive in the playoffs. Big Ben in a second go-round will probably thwart them too.
We all remember the Steelers beat down for the Jags, back when the Jags weren’t taken seriously. They have faced four good+ QBs since then and are 2-2…beat Philip Rivers in OT. Beat Russell Wilson by 6, when Seattle lost most of it’s secondary in the game. Lost to the Rams/Goff by 10. Lost to J-Franchise by 11 (and it was more like 25+).
Doug Marrone is Mike Mularkey with a better defense. He’ll never lead this team to the promised land. He’s going to try to run his way there and hide Blake Bortles. You can’t hide Bortles all through the playoffs. Any head coach that pulls Leonard Fournette in 4th-quarter comeback situations over and over is an arrogant idiot or delusional…typical head coach that thinks his system is bigger than the star talent. Go try to win with a lot of T.J. Yeldon touches. Ask Gus Bradley how that culture change worked out with Yeldon.
The 49ers…winners of five of their last 6 games, and 4-0 with Jimmy G. starting. All I can say is…good luck to the NFC West defenses, especially the Arizona Cardinals DST – they face Garoppolo, Goff, Wilson 6x per season. No, thanks. The 49ers have their Tom Brady…honestly, probably a better QB than Brady at similar ages. Brady was just ahead of his time…and still the G.O.A.T., but Jimmy Franchise™…well…let’s get into that next…
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Well, I don’t want to get too caught up Jimmy Mania, but…he is officially the best young QB in football, maybe the best actual QB talent in the league on par with Aaron Rodgers. Let’s take a look at some of the unique things that have happened to get J-Franchise to this point…
Drafted by the Patriots without a lot of fanfare. Gets to learn from, be mentored by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady – the greatest coach and the greatest QB in the history of football. Guys who did not have ‘the look’ or the media hype of a future great/greatest of all time. They earned their spot among the immortals against all odds.
Imagine if you were a young computer whiz and 20 years ago Steve Jobs said, “Hey, kid…I’m going to hire you and take you under my wing…and also, so is my frenemy Mr. Bill Gates going to mentor you as well.” How much extra advantage would that be rather than being that same young computer whiz but working in a regional supermarket chain in their IT department for years just trying to get to full-time to earn benefits and three-week’s vacation a year? It may sound silly but really think on how your life would be different if you were going into whatever field you were already talented at, and just out of school you got to work with the greatest performer and manager/coach in that field for three years…how much better would you be at your thing?
Imagine if Jimmy Garoppolo had been drafted by the Jaguars. Imagine if Tom Brady were drafted by the Jaguars. We aren’t having the same discussions about their greatness today.
Garoppolo has been afforded something no one else at quarterback can ever have with this mentoring/training (because one or both of Belichick and Brady are gone next 1-13 months)…what an advantage to an already talented QB. I thought Jimmy Garoppolo was the most talented QB that I ever watched on college tape/scouting…until I saw Mitchell Trubisky. Garoppolo gets to bake for 3 years under the greatest football situation any QB will ever have and never have again, while Trubisky got John Fox this year…and working with Dontrell Inman and Josh Bellamy.
Garoppolo is the clear #1 young QB in the NFL now for me, and, apparently, everyone else has signed on too. Welcome to the party. Remember when I said to sell out to get Jimmy Franchise when he was dealt to SF and then after his SF debut didn’t raise an eyebrow? How happy are you now those who listened and executed upon it for dynasty?
As far as this game, it’s not that Jimmy Garoppolo (21-30 for 272 yards, 2 TDs/1 INT) blew up that stat sheet…it’s just the way he played against the NFL’s top defense, and JG working with a patchwork O-Line and mostly WRs/TEs that wouldn’t start for most NFL teams…and he just got to playing with them the last few weeks. With all that…Garoppolo just ‘Brady’d’ the Jags.
When a QB is so good he takes garbage around him and makes it great (i.e. what Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson do) – that’s when you know you’re in the presence of greatness.
6-8 weeks ago, this SG game looked like an easy win for the Jaguars and we wondered if the 49ers might ever win a game in 2017. Today, it became the launch confirmation of the next great/elite NFL QB has arrived and it was a bullet to the head for the supposed sneaky Super Bowl possibility team.
-- And then, on the other side of the field…you had the loser of this game, Blake Bortles (32-50 for 382 yards, 2 TDs/3 INTs). In a moment of delicious irony, Bortles, the #3 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, lost to the FCS college trained, #62 overall pick (Garoppolo) in the same draft.
Perhaps, you watched this game. Perhaps, you watched and thought – how in the world could an NFL team think that Blake Bortles was a better QB prospect than Jimmy Garoppolo? Guess what? There is not one person aside from Bill Belichick and me, in the football scouting community, who wholeheartedly believed that Garoppolo was miles ahead of Bortles.
Every expert you watch commenting on talent for the 2018 NFL Draft…they’re all the ones who definitively thought Bortles was the next Ben Roethlisberger and Garoppolo was ‘a reach’ by the Patriots.
I’m not just lucky in scouting. The folks that have been with me for a while know this. Newer subscribers, fascinated, wondering if I’m lucky…it’s not luck. It’s a lot of hard work every day, all in-season and off-season. It’s computer scouting models. It’s a lot of tape watching and player bio research.
I didn’t just call Jimmy Garoppolo ‘one to watch’ like most NFL analysts say about 100+ rookies each year. I definitively laid out why Garoppolo was a top of the class type of prospect and why Bortles had no business being graded as high as he was.
Another win for R.C.
No joke…there is a semi-high profile person from an NFL team who subscribed to College Football Metrics and saw what I wrote about Jimmy Garoppolo (among others) in 2014 and then were back the next season to see what I wrote and graded on David Johnson (among others)…and I don’t think they subscribed in 2016 or 2017. They sure aren’t drafting players from my advice, that I can see.
That’s the NFL for you.
That’s why I work for you, not them. They don’t listen or take this near as serious as dynasty-fantasy players. Nothing will convince me otherwise on that.
-- Speaking of great scouting… I guarantee you no one on the planet was talking as much Keelan Cole or rating him as highly as we were at College Football Metrics. They probably didn’t have him ranked as highly for Week 16 either.
I know this because all I heard about all week, and all Sunday morning was about how everything Jags related to Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns being out revolved around Dede Westbrook (4-74-0/7). THEY love Westbrook and they don’t even know why. And Cole was either not mentioned or was given a glancing blow about having a decent game the prior week.
I will reiterate what I’ve written and mentioned several times on Cole…sometimes I think I’m watching the next Antonio Brown, and sometimes I’m not sure I am. I mean that on tape, not a computer model comparison. It’s not clear cut but there arte signals I’m seeing.
The physical measurables comparison:
6’0.7”/194, 4.59 40-time, 6.69 three-cone = Cole
5’10.1”/186, 4.57 40-time, 6.98 three-cone = Brown
Cole posted his third game in a row with 99 or more yards…and leading the team in targets for the second game in a row.
I’m not sure how the NFL and fantasy analysts will spin this for Week 17, to explain why Westbrook is still better…but I hope they do. Just helps my business, helps us beat them. I hope ESPN buys up all the sports talk companies and puts them under the ESPN wing. I’ll have a thriving business forever.
Week 17…meaningless for the Jags, so I expect Cole-Westbrook to probably play a half. Doug Marrone is arrogant so it could be more, but I’d guess a half. Cole could play all of it for more reps…and he’s fine with Bortles and even better with Chad Henne, going back to the preseason.
-- Leonard Fournette (18-48-1, 3-22-0/3) seems delighted to be sitting on the sidelines during late game comeback attempts…as has happened to him several times this season (he stands there alone, helmet off, staring blankly ahead). Where else, what other team do you see the workhorse/stud come out for a stiff like T.J. Yeldon in critical times? Hey, Doug Marrone is just smarter than you and me, so don’t question him.
Week 17 doesn’t matter for the Jags, so I bet Fournette plays 1-2 series at best. If they were smart. You think they’d rest Fournette…but Marrone is smarter than you and me.
I don’t know if the Jags would push Corey Grant Week 17, star of Week 17 in 2016…or whether they would push Ivory-Yeldon to keep them in practice/ready to go if needed in the playoffs.
-- Nothing stood out about the 49ers WRs or TEs…Jimmy G. was using what he could.
Marquise Goodwin (3-37-0/6) was expected to have this kind of a stat line. He’s not a real #1 WR so there was no chance he’s work over Ramsey-Bouye. It’s why I’m not super-high on Goodwin for 2018…because I’m not sure what his role will be. He might be their Ted Ginn and be a WR3+ kinda guy.
-- Hey, rookie RB Jeremy McNichols registered a stat in a game! 1 tackle on special teams. Such pre-Draft promise, but lost weight and looked hideous in the NFL preseason. His career is about cooked.
-- So, Jags DT Malik Jackson (3 tackles, 1 TDL, 1 PD) cost his team a win more than any player in this game. I think he had two personal foul/late hit penalties and got into a fight on the sidelines with a teammate, and shoved a coach and player in the melee…and bumped a ref for a penalty.
Will the great disclipnarian Doug Marrone suspend Malik Jackson? I doubt it. FYI, remember when Leonard Fournette got suspended a game for missing the team photo? Priorities…
Snap Counts of Interest…
87 = Westbrook
77 = Keelan Cole
43 = Strong
41 = Mickens
50 = Goodwin
33 = Murphy
26 = Bourne
25 = Taylor