Archive for the ‘Jacksonville Jaguars’ Category

The year 2021, the date Sunday January 10, the venue the Budweiser Wembley Stadium, London, England…….

LONDON JAGUARS ROAR INTO DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS WITH O/T WIN AGAINST THE DOLPHINS

by Lawrence Vos reporting from London

THIRTY years ago the London Monarchs won the inaugural World Bowl in front of 61,108 fans inside Wembley Stadium. 

Fourteen years ago the NFL packaged two teams to play the first ever regular season NFL game in Europe in front of 81,176 fans inside Wembley Stadium.

Tonight the NFL’s first ever non-North American based franchise, the London Jaguars, played and won their first ever Wild Card playoff contest in front of 87,263 fans inside Wembley Stadium.

History was made when seven year veteran quarterback A.J. McCarron led the Jaguars through the wind and rain of North London on an eleven play touchdown drive, climaxing in a three-yard dive into the end-zone from fellow draft class of 2014 team-mate Melvin Gordon. 

The mud-splattered ball that crossed the goal-line in Gordon’s right hand was found on the sideline, and within days it will be flown first-class to Canton, Ohio to sit proudly in a perspex cabinet in one of the modern era wings of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The 26-20 win against the visiting Miami Dolphins will go down in football folklore as the first post-season win for an NFL franchise based outside the United States of America. 

Before uprooting wholesale from Jacksonville, Florida, to the London Borough of Brent (just 12 months ago) the Jaguars had already etched their name into some significant post-season history books, as they, along with the Carolina Panthers, reached their respective Conference Championships just two seasons after inception. 

The Jaguars lost to the New England Patriots in the 1997 AFC Championship game. 24 years later and the Jaguars again travel to Massachusetts to face the three-time Super Bowl winners, this time two games away from competing for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. 

Said McCarron after prizing his grass-stained Gold and Teal helmet from his steaming but beaming head: “The fans kept us going in overtime, the noise was awesome, and I hope that they are already making travel plans for our game against the Patriots next week.”

……I could go on but hopefully you get the gist.

I think this my small curtain twitch into the future is going to be more than just a dream. There is no way the NFL goes from one to three regular season NFL games in the same season in the same city without some sort of master plan to move one of the current 32 franchises, lock, stock and smoking barrel from the land of Uncle Sam to the land of Auntie Beeb.

I have it fixed in my head that in 2020 the Jacksonville Jaguars will move to their new home across the pond and become known to the world as the London Jaguars.

There will be uproar (loud animal sounding pun intended) as Roger Goodell announces in the 2015 NFL AGM that the five-year plan to get an NFL franchise in London begins with immediate effect.

No doubt opinion will be divided in terms of this decision – ranging from being for the good of the NFL’s plan to take over the world to the other extreme that the state of the average Englishman’s teeth being that shoddy that players will not want to move continents to potentially risk dental hygiene distress.

No doubt the President and our Prime Minister will be involved in terms of the mainstream media’s desire to get non-sporting column inches filled with this story between now and 2020, but I don’t think any misquote or inappropriate audible by a political head of state will derail this particular locomotive.

Money talks, and there is no way that three NFL teams are giving up a home game in 2014 without being told that this is a long-term money spinner.

I think that moving a team over here, but keeping their original NFL nickname and identity, will be the level of compromise that will keep the Jaguars owner Shahid Khan happy.

Now all I have to do is get Mr Khan to confirm all of the above, for him to offer me a job on the communications staff of the London Jaguars and for me to persuade my wife to move the family to London.

Hell, if you don’t shoot for the stars then you end up shooting in the dark.

Everyone attending the Jaguars first ‘unofficial’ home game at Wembley Stadium tomorrow I hope you all witness a competitive and heartwarming game, and that most importantly you have a safe journey home.

It’s anticipated that there is a storm brewing over England on Sunday. If we end up with the Jaguars moving permanently to London in 2020, it could be the longest storm in North American sports history.

Bring on the thunder and lightning tomorrow (and I’m not talking about the resurrection of Ron Dayne and Tiki Barber).

The NFL truck in Victoria Square, Birmingham, England.

The NFL truck in Victoria Square, Birmingham, England.

It’s not every day that you take your train commute to work in the West Midlands of England and find a giant NFL branded truck parked outside your place of work, but that’s what happened to me this morning in Birmingham city centre.

I knew the NFL were touring the Midlands and the South of England, but have to admit I forgot what day they were coming to Brum (as it is affectionately known by local residents).

I walked past the truck before 9am this morning, and waited until my lunch break before coming out to see what the NFL had in store for the workers and shoppers in Birmingham.

Gotta love getting close to Vince

Gotta love getting close to Vince

The highlight for me was to see the Vince Lombardi Trophy (for the third time). It was situated in a perspex cabinet inside the truck, watched over eagerly by a rather large and burly security guard. I had my picture taken with the trophy, and also the lady taking the pictures took a few extra for me using my own iPhone.

This truck was at Wembley a few weeks ago for the Vikings v Steelers game, but at that time there was a one-hour queue to get the picture. Much better that I could just walk straight up the steps today and get within inches of the famous silver-mounted ball.

Denard Robinson, the Jaguars rookie signed this helmet

Denard Robinson, the Jaguars rookie signed this helmet

Along with the trophy was a signed Jacksonville Jaguars helmet, also in a perspex case. The helmet was signed by rookie OW (offensive weapon) Denard Robinson. As a huge NFL fan I was tickled that it was Robinson’s signature, as I had drafted the former Michigan quarterback in both of my 55 man roster fantasy leagues.

Colin Kaepernick signed a ball. He played in his first Superbowl earlier this year.

Colin Kaepernick signed a ball. He played in his first Superbowl earlier this year.

There was also a ball in the truck display, this one a San Francisco 49ers branded ball signed by its Superbowl losing quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

The two pieces of memorabilia were on display to pre-promote the Jaguars upcoming ‘home’ game at Wembley against Kaepernick’s 49ers, taking place later this month. Unfortunately I will not be there as the budget only allows me to attend one NFL game in London a year, and I would always select seeing Adrian Peterson over Maurice Jones-Drew. Sorry Mo-Jo, I still love your little legs.

I was disappointed that there was not that much to do, and the freebies handed out by the NFL were ok, but not amazing. They gave out Football 101 guide books which I have to say are a cracking introduction to the NFL for new fans. I also helped myself to a couple of sets of under-eye stickers that were NFL branded.

IMG_2192There were no NFL players there when I attended (not that I expected anyone apart from maybe a retired or injured player), instead the NFL All-Star cheerleaders were there, probably wondering why they were performing to about 50 men with iPhones held aloft.

They were offering signed pictures of themselves, which was a nice touch, but I did not recognise any of them and did not really want a signed picture of some random women, who for all I know could be the American equivalent of a Pineapple Dance troupe.

IMG_2203There was a rather bemused DJ spinning some cheesy tunes, and a few inflatable NFL displays where you could throw a pass or try a kick, but they were a bit undermanned and looked a bit unwelcoming with no sponge or turf floor around them.

Overall a half-hearted effort by the NFL to try and spread the message about the greatest sport on the planet. I would have made sure schools were invited to take part and had some flag football displays, not just cheerleaders. Also some spot-prize giveaways would have been good, as would have been an ex-player or coach.

IMG_2197Don’t get me wrong it was special to see the Vince Lombardi trophy in the city I work in, but more could have been done to get the message across that this sport will soon (by 2020) have an NFL franchise situated this side of the pond.

For the first time ever, the NFL will be playing two games in London during the 2013 season. On September 29th, the Pittsburgh Steelers will face off against the Minnesota Vikings, while on October 27th, the San Francisco 49ers will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite both teams having plenty of games beforehand, here is a preview of how those two games should play out.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Minnesota Vikings
As far as being competitive, this should be the better of the two games at Wembley Stadium this season. The Vikings are coming off a playoff season, and they feature the reigning MVP and fantasy football superstar Adrian Peterson on their team as well. Although the Steelers struggled in 2012, they have won a pair of Super Bowl titles in recent memory and they look to get back in contention again this season. This will be the first time either team has made the trip to Europe, so this should be the more anticipated game. The Steelers have gained quite a following worldwide thanks to their multiple Super Bowl rings, and Peterson is one of the biggest stars in the NFL today. When it comes to the game, the Vikings actually have the chance to be even better in 2013. Last season, Peterson had to carry the offense, but with a more mature Christian Ponder and the addition of Greg Jennings, Minnesota should have a balanced offense. Their defense is also stellar, but so is Pittsburgh’s. That means that London fans will probably see a low-scoring affair. Take the Vikings to come away with the victory though.

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 17-14

San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Even though this will be the 3rd trip for the 49ers over to London, many of the players will be making their first trip ever. However, the 49ers have plenty of other advantages when it comes to playing the Jaguars. Last season, the two teams basically had opposite years. The San Francisco 49ers made it to the Super Bowl, while the Jaguars struggled to win the few games they did. Although Jacksonville was able to obtain some young talent heading into 2013, this should be a game the 49ers win. Fans of defense will love the 49ers, and they might have the best defense in the NFL this season. Of course, they also have plenty of offensive firepower, headlined by Colin Kaepernick at quarterback and Frank Gore getting most of the carries on the ground. If Jacksonville is going to challenge, they will need some of their young talent to step up and gain momentum going into this game. Luke Joeckel and Jonathan Cyprien, their top two picks, should step in right away and provide value, but neither one of them play glamorous positions. The Jaguars lack star power, which could hurt the attendance numbers somewhat, but the appeal of the 49ers will make up for it.

Prediction: San Francisco 27-10

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The Iggles WRs Jackson and Macklin will be geared up for a huge Week 9 output

It has been a while I admit but it’s time to get back to the crystal ball gazing lark and give some NFL predictions.

Plenty of juicy matchups for week 9 in the 2009 NFL season, but my personal favourite is the Philadelphia Eagles against the Dallas Cowboys.
 
Everyone loves a bruising NFL East battle, and this one looks set to be a humdinger.
 
My prediction for the top performers in Week 9 goes to the Iggles WR pairing of Jeremy Macklin and DeSean Jackson.
 
I am going for Macklin and Jackson combining for 200 yards and two touchdowns in a monster win.
 
Not so long ago the Eagles had strength pretty much everywhere apart from WR. They went and got TO and got all the way to the Superbowl.
 
Now they have invested big in two remarkably similar types of players on the outside, but ones that could dominate for many years and become the new Fitzgerald and Boldin or Stallworth or Swann (providing they pick up some Vince Lombardi trophies in the next five years).
 
After three weeks of predicting I was 28-20. Now for the business of the day…. 
 
Redskins @ Falcons – The Redskins officially suck. Yes this is a technical sporting term for teams who cannot reach 3 touchdowns against the Chiefs or Lions. Matt Ryan looks to have a big day, along with Michael Turner the Falcons low gravity work mule. I will be shocked if the Skins get 2 touchdowns, even though I expect Fred Davis the TE to have over 70 yards receiving – Falcons to win 37-13
 
Cardinals @ Bears – “They are who we thought they were.” The immortal words from former Cardinals head coach Dennis Green after a meltdown against Da Bearz a few years ago. This time I see the Cardinals stepping up and Kurt Warner atoning for his debacle last week. Look for both teams failing to establish the run, and the game becoming a shootout. Arizona to hang on with some Fitzgerald heroics – Cardinals to win 27-24
 
Ravens @ Bengals – Gotta love this game. The Ravens want revenge from the upset earlier in the season. Ray Lewis will be all over Bengals RB Cedric Benson so look for Carson Palmer to find seams in the passing game, as long has he throws to the polar opposite end of the field as Ravens All-Pro safety Ed Reed. I’ll take a bit of magic from Cincy WR Chris Henry – Bengals with the upset 24-20
 
Texans @ Colts – This is the opportunity for Houston to show that they are finally ‘for real’. If they can win this game they become contenders for the AFC. Peyton Manning will be aware that the Texans will be playing like men possessed and will try to exploit the aggression of the Houston D. Monster game from Reggie Wayne AGAIN I suspect – Colts win a close one 33-27
 
Chiefs @ Jaguars – This is not exactly the game you would show if you wanted to introduce someone to the joys of the NFL. KC are pretty awful, but they may get a spark from recently promoted running back Jamal Charles. The Jags rb Maurice Jones-Drew simply HAS to get more carries. The man had under 10 carries last week but he got two rushing tds of over 75 yards a pop. Wat has he got to do to get the rock? – Jaguars to win 29-17
 
Dolphins @ Patriots – Wow – this is gonna be a barn burner. Wildcat v The Emperor. Sounds like a trendy DJ battle. I love me some AFC East action and whilst I would love to see the Dolphins get the second win against the Pats I just can’t see past Chad Henne, and his lack of explosiveness. Ricky Williams can have another big game if he comes in to keep Ronnie Brown fresh. It wont matter as the Pats will have too much class – Pats to win 31-24
 
Packers @ Buccaneers – Ouch, ouch, ouch, the words that will come out of the mouth of Josh Freeman after he picks himself up off the floor for the tenth time. This is gonna be a car wreck. Pack to win 34-9
 
Panthers @ Saints – Saints will be tested more than a lot of people think. Don’t be fooled by Jake Delhomme’s errant arm, he has a supporting cast that can run all over teams. Ok I’ll do it here and now, sound the alarm this is my UPSET SPECIAL. Panthers can run and keep Drew Brees off the field – Panthers to eek by 23-21  
 
Lions @ Seahawks – Two words – Matt Hasslebeck – ‘Hawks win 27-10
 
Chargers @ Giants – The Giants grasp on the 2009 playoffs is currently slippier than the plastic sheets covering the carpet in a pornographic cinema in Soho. The Chargers, like a 4 x 400m relay team, seem to put their worst performances first, and then just get better. If the Giants fail to get the W here their season could fall apart. I would love to predict a Giants loss, but I just can’t – Giants to win 19-17
 
Titans @ 49ers – One team has one win, and one team has faded after a false dawn. This again is not gonna be a beauty contest in terms of class, but I do like to see Frank Gore and Chris Johnson battling to see who is the better back on the day. Alex Smith – yuk! – Titans to keep rolling 23-20
 
Cowboys @ Eagles – My game of the week by a country mile. Romo v McNabb is worthy of being an NFC Championship matchup. I think the Vikings will have something to say about that, but it is possible. As you can see above I think the Eagles WRs are a classy young bunch that can do damage against the unfamiliar Cowboys secondary. Ill expect some turnovers and some hard hits, but the edge goes to the home team and the Eagles fans – Eagles to win 33-24
 
Steelers @ Broncos – Big fat balls – we don’t get to see MNF here in England so why should I waste my time predicting this game. I wont even see tv highlights until the Friday. This will be a great game. Josh McDaniels started the season looking like the men in white coats needed to cart him away. Now he is wearing a white coat, but it is as a scientist, who has found a formula for success. Steelers will bring the Broncos back to earth though – Steelers to win 31-21
 
Any thoughts ??
 
Derek Kinder Pitt WR - My 10th round selection

Derek Kinder Pitt WR - My 10th round selection

Anyone who loves NFL fantasy football should play Action PC Football. It is an opportunity to run a complete team, complete with 50 to 55 man rosters.

There are many dedicated Action PC Football commissioners and they all have different wrinkles to the way their leagues are run. I myself run two leagues the BBFL (Britball Football League) and the AMFL (Art Monk Football League).

One League I am in called the KRFL (Knute Rockne Football League) has a TEN round Rookie Draft in May. Yes TEN rounds of rookies, OK it is a 24 team league, but drafting ten rounds of NFL Rookies (who will not play in the league until 2010) is quite taxing even for a devoted NFL fan like me.

The task for me was made even more difficult due to two additional factors. I inherited a team that picked 23rd of 24 in every round, and I also had NO 1st or 3rd round pick.

So with that set of problems, and a disadvantage of not getting to watch NCAA College Football here in England, here are the 8 picks I did make. Feel free to add any useful comments about my selections and thoughts ……..

Overall Pick #47 Connor Barwin LB/DE Cincinnati (Drafted by Texans pick 46)

I hope this guy turns into the new Mike Vrabel, its great he can play so many positions.

Overall Pick #95 Rashad Jennings RB Liberty (Drafted by Jaguars pick #250)

This guy can become the #2 RB in Jax, Fred Taylor is gone and there is a big gap behind MJD.

Overall Pick #119 Nate Davis QB Ball State (Drafted by 49ers pick #171)

Yes he rides the pine for a year, but is Shaun Hill or Alex Smith the real future of the Red and Gold?

Overall Pick #143 AQ ShipleyC Penn State (Drafted by Steelers pick #226)

Gotta love my NittanyLions, what with the 08 Superbowl OL seen as one of the worst ever.

Overall Pick #167  Glover Quin CB New Mexico (Drafted by Texans #112)

I got some value here, and Quin could become the nickel back right away.

Overall Pick #191 Stryker Sulak DE Missouri (Drafted by Raiders pick #199)

This guy has pipe cleaner arms but is a good honest pass rusher.

Overall Pick #215 LaRod Stephens-Howling RB  Pitt (Drafted by Cardinals pick #240)

I’m hoping La-Rod becomes a Darren Sproles type returner and utility back.

Overall Pick #239 Derek KinderWR Pitt (Drafted by Bears pick #251)

Kinder has some jets – check out this touchdown below. If he makes it through camp he could be a #3 or #4.

As always I welcome your thoughts………..

Jennings dropped all the way to the 7th round
Jennings dropped all the way to the 7th round

When the Jacksonville Jaguars let Fred Taylor go this offseason they made a loud and clear announcement that Maurice Jones-Drew was THE number one running back on the team heading into 2009.

MJD is great fun to watch and has a work ethic and a slight chip on his shoulder (due to his size), making him a great franchise back.

MJD has produced good numbers on the ground and pretty spectacular through the air, but he has been supported by Taylor every step of the way.

It was clear the Jags needed to get some form of support act for MJD, either through free agency or in the 2009 NFL Draft.

With their first two selections Jacksonville played it very sensibly by drafting Eugene Monroe and Eben Britten, two extremely solid offensive tackles.

Monroe and Britten will immediately help to clear the path for MJD, but it was the selection of Rashad Jennings, the running back from Liberty at pick #250 in the 7th round of the 2009 NFL draft, that interested me the most.

Jennings could be the MJD support act, along with the rather active and athletic running back/full back Greg Jones.

Jennings was predicted to go anywhere from the 2nd to the 5th round by many experts, so for the Jags to get Jennings in the 7th round must have felt like Santa Claus had started early in Florida this year.

This guy was the leading rusher in the 2009 Senior Bowl but he still slipped down to pick #250, Jennings also helped Liberty to go 10-2 in 2008.

I’m sure the Jaguars did not expect Jennings to fall in their lap so late, but it does leave me thinking why did 31 other teams decide not to call his name before pick #250.

I have a good feeling about Jennings showing those other teams that they made a big mistake. Jacksonville will be a much improved team in 2009, with the likes of Torry Holt and Mike Walker stepping up at WR, Marcedes Lewis doing the do at TE and David Garrard showing he still has plenty left in the tank.

Whilst MJD will be the star of the show I can see Rashad Jennings getting 300-400 yards rushing and 4-6 touchdowns.

Any stats around this mark will be seen as great production for a 7th round pick, but I get the feeling for Jennings he will want a lot lot more.

Anyone else have any thoughts on Jennings?