5 Storylines to Watch: Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Which storylines should you follow tonight as the Jaguars face the Titans in an AFC South showdown?
The Jacksonville Jaguars host the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football coming off a close loss to Houston Texans in Week 2, dropping to 0-2. How this one plays out could ultimately determine the remainder of the season for the home team.
Walking into Week 4 at Denver with an 0-3 record could be an addition to a recipe that already looks like a long season for Jaguars players and their fans.
Fans of the Black and Teal should be aware of these fives storylines under the lights tonight at TIAA Bank Field.
Post-Jalen Ramsey Controversy – A sideline spat with head coach Doug Marrone proved to be the final straw for Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey and his agent, as the two-time Pro-Bowler requested a trade on Monday.
Despite the dramatics to follow, Ramsey says his focus is still on Thursday’s game against the Titans — a potential landing spot for Ramsey when he becomes a free agent.
"“Right now I’m still part of the Jacksonville Jaguars and I’m happy about that, and I’m getting ready for the game as well. That’s where my focus is right now,” Ramsey told reporters on Tuesday."
While Ramsey is still reporting to the Jaguars facility, it feels like he is no longer on the team. One of Thursday’s biggest questions is whether the events leading up to kickoff will affect the defense and team as a whole. Ramsey could potentially be gone by Friday.
Gardner Minshew’s Second Start – In his first start last Sunday, Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew exceeded expectations, going 23 of 33 for 213 yards and a touchdown. Minshew also led the offense on an excellent final drive before failing to convert on the potential game-winning two-point conversion.
In one and a half games under center, Minshew has looked like a starting quarterback, making correct reads, handling pressure in the pocket, and even using his legs when necessary.
Minshew will get his first prime-time experience on a short week, a good test for the young signal-caller. Tennessee is known for sending heat and forcing the quarterback to make quick reads, so expect him to get the ball out early and often. Running back Leonard Fournette could see an ample amount of check downs.
If Minshew can step up to the pressure Tennessee sends, it will be a good night.
Jaguars D-Line vs. Mariota – To flip on the Titans sending pressure to Minshew, Jacksonville should look to do the same against Marcus Mariota and an offensive line without left tackle Taylor Lewan.
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Rookie pass rusher Josh Allen will need to step up with defensive end Yannick Ngakoue nursing a hamstring injury — whether he’s good to go or not.
It could be a long night for Mariota and company if the Jaguars talented defensive line forces Mariota into uncomfortable situations.
Young Jaguars Receiving Corps – Second-year wide receiver DJ Chark has impressed so far in two games, with 11 catches for 201 yards and two touchdowns. It looks like Minshew and Chark are beginning to establish a solid rapport, along with Chris Conley.
Dede Westbrook has yet to see much action, so look for offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and Minshew to involve Westbrook more.
Although quarterback Nick Foles’ injury put a damper on the season, the chance to see the Jaguars’ future starting quarterback and his young receivers get reps together is a promising sign.
Just Win, Baby – Tennessee has had Jacksonville’s number the past couple seasons, winning once in the last seven matchups. With this potentially being Ramsey’s last game in a Jaguars uniform, he could put on a show as a farewell before his departure to Tennessee — too soon?
Although it’s been a tough season for the Jaguars thus far, the year is far from over. A win over the Titans will put the Jaguars right back into contention for the division.