Guest of the League
make it happen
FFL: Offseason | NFL: Superbowl

Chargers-Jaguars Preview

1575571234

Players: Philip Rivers, Nick Foles, Devlin Hodges, Gardner Minshew II, Drew Lock

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers reacts during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Denver. Denver Broncos won 23-20. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Los Angeles Chargers fans watch during the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Sam Acho, left, forces a fumble as he sacks Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)


Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack sits on the bench late in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans won 42-20. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Close losses have defined the Los Angeles Chargers' season. The Jacksonville Jaguars would take one of those right now.

The Jaguars (4-8) have been blown out in four straight, trailing by as many as 25, 32, 24 and 23 points in lopsided affairs that crushed the team's playoffs hopes and turned the final month of the season into an endless debate about the futures of coach Doug Marrone, personnel chief Tom Coughlin, general manager Dave Caldwell and quarterback Nick Foles.

Jacksonville will try to end the skid Sunday at home against the Chargers (4-8), who have dropped three in a row. Each of those losses - just like the previous five - was by seven points or less.

''It's been tough,'' said Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who turns 38 on Sunday. ''Obviously, to be on the losing end of eight one-score games is tough. ... It has been a tough go, but we have the fourth quarter (of the season) left. We can only control what we have left.''

Rivers has played a huge role in LA's problems. The veteran has 17 turnovers, including the second-most interceptions (15) in the league.

But he could find refuge against Jacksonville, a team he's tormented over the years. Rivers has thrown for 2,354 yards and 21 touchdowns in eight career starts against the Jaguars. He has 13 TD passes and an interception in his last four against Jacksonville.

''He's a guy that if you make the small mistakes or if you're half a yard off your assignment, he's going to make you pay for it,'' Jaguars defensive tackle Abry Jones said. ''He's a guy that likes to talk a lot of trash and is always willing to back it up. I don't want to hear him talk all day, so we're going to have to go out there defensively and do our job.''

What kind of smack?

''Very wholesome, Godly talk,'' Jones added. ''Very impressive. I don't think I can go that long without cussing.''

The Jaguars have given fans reason to swear in recent weeks. The offensive line is a mess. The tight end situation is even worse. The defense can't stop the run and could be down four starters from the opener. Teammates had to be separated in the locker room following last week's home loss to Tampa Bay.

Maybe rookie sensation Gardner Minshew will fix everything.

Marrone benched Foles after three lackluster starts - he had twice as many turnovers (four) as touchdowns and was sacked eight times in 10 quarters - and switched back to Minshew for the remainder of the season. Minshew is considerably more mobile than Foles and is at his best while improvising. He has 14 touchdown passes and five interceptions, but also has lost seven of his 12 fumbles.

''He has done some really good things for a rookie,'' Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. ''It just seems like that team is inspired by him when he comes in the game. ... It's not fluff. If you watch the tape, the guy makes plays. He extends plays, he's creative. He throws with some accuracy and he runs; he's mobile.''

Here are some other things to know about the Chargers and Jaguars:

BRADLEY RETURNS

Former Jaguars coach Gus Bradley returns to Jacksonville for the second time in three seasons as the Chargers' defensive coordinator. Bradley still has a home and plenty of friends in Jacksonville. Marrone, defensive coordinator Todd Wash, tight ends coach Ron Middleton and assistant special teams coordinator Mike Mallory all worked under Bradley, who lost in overtime his first game back two years ago.

ROOKIE STRUGGLES

The Chargers are allowing a league-low 259 yards from scrimmage since Week 6, but they are 0-2 against rookie quarterbacks. Pittsburgh's Devlin Hodges and Denver's Drew Lock won their first NFL starts against Los Angeles. Next rookie up: Minshew.

END ZONE WATCH

Chargers reciever Mike Williams, who has at least one reception of 40 or more yards in five consecutive games, is still looking for his first touchdown of the season. It's an odd drought considering he had 11 touchdowns (10 receiving, one rushing) last year.

CROSSING PATHS

Marrone pretty much discovered Chargers veteran linebacker Thomas Davis. Marrone was Georgia's offensive line coach in 2000 when he was tasked with scouting a quarterback/free safety at Randolph Clay High in Cuthbert, Georgia. Marrone watched him play, invited him to camps, met his parents and ended up getting a commitment.

''You don't realize what they're going to be, but Thomas is a story that's one I'll always look back on and be really appreciative of, knowing how hard he's worked and what happened and how he's changed everything,'' said Marrone, who ended up leaving for Tennessee before Davis signed with the Bulldogs.

Player Notes
Nick Foles Jan 21 10:30pm ET

The Jacksonville Jaguars plan to hire former Redskins head coach Jay Gruden as their next offensive coordinator, according to sources. A deal isn't officially done, but the Jaguars are very close to adding Gruden in the role. The biggest question for Jacksonville's offense heading into the 2020 season will be who is the starter under center, Nick Foles or Gardner Minshew. Leonard Fournette can be an effective bell-cow back in the backfield if he can stay healthy, while the Jags have a nice three-receiver mix in place of D.J. Chark, Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley. The Jaguars finished 2019 with 341.8 yards per game, 235 passing yards per game, 106.8 rushing yards per game and only 18.8 points per game. Gruden's addition is good news for this very mediocre offense across the board.

From RotoBaller

James Looney Jan 21 9:13pm ET

Free-agent TE Evan Baylis (Packers), OT Cody Conway (Packers), RB Damarea Crockett (Packers), CB Kabion Ento (Packers), TE James Looney (Packers), LB Randy Ramsey (Packers), WR Darrius Shepherd (Packers), QB Manny Wilkins (Packers) and LB Tim Williams (Packers) signed Reserve/Future contracts with the Green Bay Packers Tuesday, Jan. 21. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Yannick Ngakoue Jan 21 9:00pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell seems confident that the team will re-sign defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March. Jacksonville wants Ngakoue back, and Caldwell said something "should be done hopefully relatively easily." He'd become one of the top pass rushers available if he hits the open market after logging 37.5 sacks, 85 quarterback hits and 42 tackles for loss in 63 games since being a third-round pick in 2016. Retaining Ngakoue is the top priority for the Jaguars this offseason as they look to build their defense back up around the ferocious pass rusher.

From RotoBaller

Yannick Ngakoue Jan 21 8:03pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars impending free-agent DE Yannick Ngakoue is the top priority for the Jaguars this offseason, and general manager David Caldwell said he hopes the two sides will be able to reach an agreement relatively easily.

From TheHuddle

Bobby Wagner Jan 21 6:23pm ET

Seattle Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner (ankle, knee) will not need surgery on his ankle or knee this offseason, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

From TheHuddle

Leighton Vander Esch Jan 21 4:40pm ET

Dallas Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said that linebacker Leighton Vander Esch's (neck) surgery "went well." "I feel really good about it. I feel really good about him making a full recovery and being ready to participate in everything," Jones said. The second-year linebacker should be good to go for the team's offseason workouts after missing the final five games of the 2019 season. He recorded a total of 72 tackles (43 solo), half a sack and one forced fumble in his nine games played. LVE was a beast his rookie season with 140 total tackles, and he could return to being an IDP force again in 2020 if he can just stay on the field.

From RotoBaller

Dak Prescott Jan 21 4:30pm ET

Dallas Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said that quarterback Dak Prescott is the team's "No. 1 priority as we go into the offseason." Despite the Cowboys missing the playoffs in 2019, Prescott wasn't the problem. He had his best season with 4,902 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his fourth year in the NFL. The Cowboys continue to reiterate that Prescott is their QB of the future, so expect a contract extension to come soon. If that doesn't happen, the franchise tag is another option to retain him for 2020. Prescott finished as the No. 3 fantasy signal-caller last season, and he'll head into the 2020 campaign as a strong high-end QB1.

From RotoBaller

Julian Edelman Jan 21 1:40pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (shoulder) underwent a shoulder procedure last week that is said to involve "not a lengthy rehab," and Edelman is expected to be ready for the team's offseason program, according to a league source. The 33-year-old was noticeably hindered by his shoulder to close out the year, but overall it was a very successful 2019 season. Edelman had 100 receptions for a career-high 1,117 yards and six touchdowns over a full season. It was the second time in his career that he reached the 100-catch mark as quarterback Tom Brady's only real trusted receiving option. Edelman's outlook may change if Brady isn't under center in 2020, but he should at least be a solid WR2 in PPR leagues.

From RotoBaller

Julian Edelman Jan 21 1:23pm ET

New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman (shoulder) had a minor shoulder surgery last week, but he's expected to be ready for the offseason program.

Fantasy Spin: Edelman's fantasy value will hinge largely on whether Tom Brady returns to the team. Edelman should be a low-end WR2 in PPR formats.

From TheHuddle

Chris Godwin Jan 21 1:03pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (hamstring) will be unable to participate in the Pro Bowl due to a lingering hamstring injury. He'll be replaced by Detroit Lions WR Kenny Golladay.

From TheHuddle

Jarvis Landry Jan 21 12:43pm ET

Cleveland Browns WR Jarvis Landry (hip) isn't expected to have surgery this offseason and will play in the Pro Bowl.

Fantasy Spin: Landry had a career-high 1,174 receiving yards to go with 83 grabs and six scores. The 27-year-old played in all 16 games for the sixth straight year and will be a low-end WR2 option in drafts next year.

From TheHuddle

Odell Beckham Jr. Jan 21 12:20pm ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (abdomen) underwent successful surgery on Tuesday to fix a core muscle injury. A full recovery is expected. OBJ didn't miss a game in his first season with Cleveland despite fighting through injuries. He caught 74 passes for 1,035 yards and only four touchdowns in what was a very disappointing first year with the Browns. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was extremely inconsistent behind a terrible offensive line, which didn't help matters for Beckham's fantasy owners. Another offseason to gain chemistry with Mayfield should help Beckham rebound in 2020, and he could be a nice value pick as a low-end WR1/high-end WR2.

From RotoBaller

Jarvis Landry Jan 21 12:20pm ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (hip) is not expected to undergo surgery, and he will play in the Pro Bowl. It's great news for a Browns offense that will be looking to shake off the disappointment of the 2019 season heading into 2020. Landry was the team's most consistent wideout last year, catching 83 passes for a career-high 1,174 yards and six touchdowns over a full season. In his six NFL seasons, Landry has had at least 81 receptions and four touchdowns and has never missed a game. He's a very consistent WR2/3 in PPR leagues, and the presence of Odell Beckham Jr. should continue to take attention away from him.

From RotoBaller

Odell Beckham Jr. Jan 21 11:43am ET

Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (abdomen) underwent surgery to repair his core muscle Tuesday, Jan. 21, in Philadelphia. He dealt with the injury for multiple weeks during the season.

Fantasy Spin: OBJ had a miserable season by his standards after most likely being a top-five pick. It's not a lock that he returns to the Browns after considerable drama that comes along with his immense talent. He's a risky fantasy asset because of that, but he'll be a WR1 in drafts again next year.

From TheHuddle

Deebo Samuel Jan 20 10:40pm ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Deebo Samuel combined for just three catches for 65 yards in the NFC Championship victory against the Green Bay Packers. Samuel added two rushes for 43 yards. The Niners opened up the game with a dominant running attack and a 27-0 lead, resulting in quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo attempting just eight passes. While the stat sheet was underwhelming, both aerial playmakers made the most of their opportunities, picking up chunk gains on each touch. With the vaunted Kansas City Chiefs offense on deck, the Niners will conceivably need to throw the ball more in the Super Bowl.

From RotoBaller

Emmanuel Sanders Jan 20 10:40pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders failed to record a catch in the NFC Championship blowout win against the Green Bay Packers. With quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo attempting just eight passes, Sanders saw only a single target. The clear third option in a low-volume passing game behind standout rookie wideout Deebo Samuel and tight end George Kittle, Sanders has just two catches in the playoffs. Hell likely be tasked with more work in the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs.

From RotoBaller

Raheem Mostert Jan 20 10:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert exploded for 220 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship. He also caught two passes for six yards. Mostert was unstoppable on Sunday, converting three rushing scores of 36, nine and 18 in the first half. He capped his evening with a 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter. The fifth-year breakout player was the star in the Niners easy 37-20 victory and will again lead the backfield into the Super Bowl in two weeks against the Kansas City Chiefs.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo Jan 20 10:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed just six of eight passes for 77 yards and no scores in the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. Garoppolo had little to do but watch running back Raheem Mostert annihilate the Packers rush defense for 220 yards and four scores. With two consecutive easy victories in the playoffs, Jimmy G has attempted just 27 passes this postseason. Sledding will surely get tougher in the Super Bowl against the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs.

From RotoBaller

Jaquiski Tartt Jan 20 8:13pm ET

San Francisco 49ers S Jaquiski Tartt (ribs) aggravated his injured ribs during the NFC Championship game but should be available for Super Bowl LIV.

From TheHuddle

Tevin Coleman Jan 20 7:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said that running back Tevin Coleman (shoulder) suffered a dislocated right shoulder in the NFC Championship win over the Packers on Sunday. Coleman had his shoulder popped back into place and Shanahan thinks that Coleman has a chance to play in the Super Bowl in two weeks. Only time will tell if the 26-year-old will be able to play against Kansas City. He ran the ball six times for 21 yards before his injury and had a season-high 22 totes for 105 yards and two touchdowns in the Divisional win over the Vikings. Even if Coleman plays, he'll be second fiddle to Raheem Mostert, who ran for over 200 yards and four scores against Green Bay. Matt Breida would spell Mostert in the backfield if Coleman doesn't gain clearance.

From RotoBaller