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Can I ask this question? Doug Marrone eschews the ‘resting’ players theory in meaningless games, right? He does so on the theory that they play to win and how important that is, right? Well, why isn’t the opposite result utterly detrimental to the team? If ‘not resting’ and trying to win is so glorious…then not resting and trying to win only to lose has to be a crushing blow, no? Did Marrone just ruin his team’s psyche? They couldn’t win a game they tried to win…their second loss in a row. Now, they are NOT well-rested, and they are losers of two in a row…why isn’t anyone excoriating Marrone over this decision backfiring?
Oh, I forgot…no one cares about Jacksonville in the football media. Everything they do is overlooked, good or bad.
A perfect opportunity for Marrone to get his guys some extra rest and he passes on it. If it costs him the game this week versus the Bills, which is highly unlikely, he should be considered to removed from his job. Had Leonard Fournette broke his wrist or tore his ACL in this game…make me the case that Marrone should not be fired for absolute mismanagement of assets?
I’ll tell you what playing Week 17 when they didn’t have to did to the Jacksonville franchise – it destroyed its near-term future; like for the next 1-3 years. The Jags had better win the title now to justify things because they just sent a message to the entire league that they’re not great employers to work for. They will run you into the ground for no reason. Mike Tomlin and Sean McVay had minor reasons to care about Week 17…but they took the ‘resting’ option, smartly. If you’re a hot shot free agent, do you want to play with a fun-offense, and the resting-when-appropriate leadership of a Sean McVay or do you want to go back in time 30 years for Doug Marrone’s bland running game and grinding the players to the bone, and likely swearing at them like he has Tourette’s in practices and meetings, etc., like old-school coaches always do.
Marrone will now only attract ‘his kind of players’, grinder-types -- and unwittingly run off the talented and the Jags will fumble away a golden opportunity to be a team for the next generation. You watch the exodus from Jacksonville 2-3 years from now if Marrone is still there. So stubborn they didn’t even draft a quarterback…when it’s probably Bortles that will cost them a Super Bowl shot at some point the next few weeks.
Jacksonville is at it’s peak right now, for the next 2-4 years, they better take advantage of it this season. They’ll regress ahead because of management not talent.
Speaking of coaches who I don’t get…Mike Mularkey saved his job by defeating the not-resting Jaguars. As much as I do not like Mularkey’s style…he’s done a decent job. Tennessee went 7-4 in their last 11 games. All four of those losses to solid+ or playoff teams. They beat the Jags twice this season. They beat the Ravens Week 9 which propelled them in the tie-breaker scenarios. One of their losses this season came with Matt Cassel at QB. This team went 9-7 last year as well…on their way to the playoff had Marcus Mariota not gotten hurt again, late in the 2016 season.
If I were GM, I’d fire Mularkey in a heartbeat, despite a solid job the past 2 years, to get a real, progressive head coach in. However, knowing NFL teams just recycle head coaches and long-time coordinators…would the Titans do better trying to upgrade at head coach given the recycle they’d likely pick?
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I still don’t get the big deal about Derrick Henry (28-51-0, 1-66-0/1).
Henry ran for a 75 and 72-yard TD this season…both on very similar plays – late in the game with the other team stacked to try to stop an end of game clock killing drive. A Titans first down would end it for the opponents…so, they send 11 guys blitzing the run. Twice, this season, Henry got past the stacked first level and ran unscathed for a long TD. They were in unusual circumstances of the game…not in the general flow.
Take those two long runs out and Henry averaged 3.4 yards per carry in his other 174 totes in 2017. Not good.
Henry is fine…a one-dimensional ‘load’ to tackle and a detriment as a receiver. He’s a nice piece to have as part of an RB-duo but he’s not going to be a three-down star. He’s got pretty nice size-athleticism between the tackles, a tough guy to bring down…but he’s not making people miss, but he might run through them.
I’ve never watched Henry at work and was like ‘wow’! I see the sweet size and decent speed and it works but I don’t see a superstar just a very solid NFL worker. He might become a fantasy star on workload but I’ve just not seen ‘wow’ yet from Henry to get super-excited about him.
-- Two things to note about Leonard Fournette (19-69-0, 4-67-0/5) going forward for proper fantasy/dynasty valuation…
1: A season/career high 4 catches for 67 yards in this game…as his targets/catches continue to rise as the 2017 season wore on -- 2.4 rec. and 19.5 rec. yards per game his first 8 games of the season, 3.4 rec. and 29.2 rec. yards the last/final 5 games of the season.
Fournette has shown to be a better receiver than anticipated…the problem has been that they didn’t use him as much as they could have/should have. That’s starting to change. His rising work in the passing game might push him past Ezekiel Elliott on the RB food chain of top RBs for fantasy…after David Johnson-Todd Gurley.
2: Fournette can’t get to a next level unless the Jags get a real QB. Opponents are going all-in on stopping the run and daring Bortles to throw. If the Jaguars get any real QB play in the future, Fournette can be a legit top 3 fantasy RB in PPR and nonPPR.
-- Keelan Cole (4-33-0/8) showed once again he’s a more preferred WR for Blake Bortles…and clearly a superior one over Dede Westbrook (1-9-0/9).
Since Westbrook arrived this season, and was thrust into playing time right away…
3.9 rec., 48.4 yards, and 0.14 TDs per game = Westbrook
4.0 rec., 75.6 yards, and 0.39 TDs per game = Cole
Cole’s numbers rose higher once Marqise Lee went out with Cole posting back-to-back 100+ yard games Weeks 15-16…the same amount of 100+ yard games Michael Thomas had this season…and two more than Dez Bryant had in 2017.
I have no idea what will happen in 2018 when Allen Robinson returns…if he returns. Robinson is a free agent in 2018. It’s 50-50 that he’ll be back.
Marqise Lee is a free agent in 2018 as well.
Allen Hurns will be back…it costs as much to cut him as keep him in 2018.
If Robinson returns, it’s likely a 2018 with Robinson-Hurns and then Lee not re-signed because the team has Cole-Westbrook. If Keelan Cole can get the old Marqise Lee role with Allen Robinson working on the outside…this could be a sneak great WR group with a decent QB.
Of course, then there’s the NFL thing to do…lesser-talented Westbrook pushed ahead of Cole because ‘draft status’. I have hope that will not be the case because the Jags have been fair and preferential to Cole all along.
-- Blake Bortles (15-34 for 158 yards, 0 TD/2 INTs) faced four playoff teams this season – TEN 2x, LAR and PIT…he’s 1-3 with 2 TDs/6 INTs and under 58% completions in each game.
-- Here’s how good the Ramsey-Bouye CB duo is…Rishard Matthews and Corey Davis combined for 1 catch for 7 yards on 4 targets in this game.
I saw a dynasty ranking last week from ESPN…whomever it was that did them had Corey Davis way up among the top 35-40 players. I don’t see it at all with Davis. Maybe it’s waiting to unlock. Sure, he’s likely to get preferential treatment ahead/nice targeting, so we have to be mindful of that for fantasy…but give me Keelan Cole over him all day long, from a talent evaluator standpoint.
-- Adoree Jackson (5 tackles, 2 PDs) had a really strong rookie campaign – 4.4 tackles per game, 1.1 PDs per game…showing signs of being a shutdown CB for the NFL.
Looking ahead to 2018…
The Jags do not have the easiest of schedules…they get the Steelers and Chiefs, for finishing first in the division this year. They rotationally have the AFC and NFC East…so the Patriots, Eagles, and Cowboys are on the 2018 schedule. Andrew Luck returns for the Colts, in theory. Deshaun Watson returns. They are going to struggle to get to 10 wins next year, depending upon what QB they go with.
The Titans are in a weird place to project for 2018 because we don’t know if Mike Mularkey will be back 100%, at this point, but assuming he is and not many changes – the Titans will be hard-pressed to get over 8 wins. They also have the Patriots, Eagles, and Cowboys on the schedule plus Indy and Houston 2x with their QBs back, plus the Jags 2x.
Where I was right/wrong on these teams in 2017…
Right: Our computer models projected the Jags defense would go elite with the free agent signing of A.J. Bouye to go along with top CB Jalen Ramsey…and, man, was that right. We also thought it would lead them to at least 8 wins and an outside shot at the playoffs. They bettered that.
Wrong: I thought the Jags would ditch Blake Bortles for Chad Henne…and that would be the thing that would get the Jags to 8-8 or better. Seemed almost a given Week 3-4 of the preseason, but Bortles stuck as the starter and had a decent season. I never would have dreamed Bortles could start all year and wind up winning the AFC South.
Right: I thought Kevin Byard was going to be a shock IDP top 3-5 DB this season…he ended up #4-5 depending upon how you want to look at it. A Pro Bowl’er for years to come.
Wrong: I thought Tennessee would be the AFC South winner, the upstart team and a #2 seed…partly because of the easy schedule. The Titans had a chance but blew a tire late and backed into the playoffs. They are not a team of the future.