9. Jacksonville Jaguars (6): They're likely to benefit from playing in what projects as the AFC's weakest division, but they could progress into title contenders if 2022 first-round defenders Travon Walker and Devin Lloyd enjoy sophomore surges.

Syndication The Tennessean

Jaguars may need temporary 2-year home during renovations

Major stadium renovations, if approved, will keep the Jacksonville Jaguars from playing home games at TIAA Bank Field, and also impact the site of the annual Georgia-Florida college football game.

Jacksonville major Lenny Curry said in radio interview on Wednesday that the “best-case scenario” is renovations would be over two years and displace games from 2025-26.

University of Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin told The Athletic that he thought the time period was 2026-27 for the game called the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

Regardless, the mayor’s comments put the focus on the impact to football, NFL and college, in Jacksonville and potential sites in Florida and Georgia.

“The goal would be to play somewhere in Jacksonville,” Curry said of the Jaguars’ alternatives on 1010XL/92.5 FM, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. “Those discussions are happening, but two years is the goal. … I do know that they are considering certain sites that are local that could accommodate them for at least two years.”

With TIAA Bank Field unavailable, the next-largest facility in Jacksonville is at the University of North Florida, which does not field a football team. Hodges Stadium, which is used for soccer and track and field, is listed at 9,400 with an estimated capacity as high as 12,000.

The Jaguars, who regularly play home games in London and have two scheduled for 2023, could have other options outside of Jacksonville, such as large stadiums in Orlando, Gainesville and Tallahassee, Fla.

The Georgia and Florida college programs have considered alternatives to Jacksonville as the contract has cycled through terms, including moving the games on campus.

The current contract expires after the upcoming season with the schools having the option to extend it through 2025. Jacksonville has hosted the game annually since 1933 — except for in 1994 (in Gainesville) and 1995 (Athens, Ga.) when the Gator Bowl was being renovated.

“We look forward to having conversations with the appropriate City of Jacksonville officials which will provide more information on the scope of construction, the timeline of the project, and how it would impact the future of our game vs. Florida,” University of Georgia athletic director Josh Brooks said in a statement.

Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart has been a proponent of the campus home-and-home option because of the benefits he sees in recruiting as well as a true home game. But the neutral site in Jacksonville has been lucrative for each team, with Georgia getting a $1.25 million guarantee in addition to ticket revenue for the 2023 game, a rate that goes up to $1.5 million for the next two years, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.

The schools also get incentives such as funds for travel costs and a percentage of alcohol sales in the stadium.

The rivalry game also could move to relative neutral sites in Atlanta, Orlando and Tampa while Jacksonville’s stadium is renovated.

The Jaguars have the city-owned stadium leased through the 2029 season.

“When it’s done, you will think you’re in a brand new stadium,” Curry, whose term ends in June, said during the radio interview without providing projected costs. “We’re basically renovating because the bones are good. It will be a completely different facility. It will be state of the art. It will be something that other cities look at and say ‘Wow, look at what Jacksonville just did.’”

–Field Level Media

Dec 11, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard (20) is tackled by Houston Texans safety Jonathan Owens (36) during the game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys reinforce offense for matchup vs. Jaguars

The Dallas Cowboys will aim for their fifth straight win on Sunday when they head to Jacksonville, Fla., to take on the Jaguars.

Dallas (10-3) still trails NFC East rival Philadelphia in the division standings for a top playoff seed, but the Cowboys are in the driver’s seat for a top wild card spot.

The Cowboys head into this matchup against the Jaguars (5-8) with some added firepower on offense, and someone who is very familiar with Jacksonville.

Dallas signed veteran wideout T.Y. Hilton on Monday to a deal for the remainder of the season.

Hilton spent 10 seasons with Jacksonville divisional rival Indianapolis, where he pulled in 631 catches for 9,691 yards and 53 touchdowns while making four Pro Bowl teams. Hilton hasn’t played this season. Last year, he caught 23 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games.

“The timing is right,” Dallas coach Mike McCarthy said this week. “He’s ready to go. He’s an excellent addition, especially at this time of year.”

Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore added: “As a veteran, he knows ball. He’s really, really smart. To have a guy like that, he’ll be able to handle the transition really, really well and provide some depth. We’ll see where all the roles transpire.”

And Dallas owner Jerry Jones said that the team has not ended its flirtation with another former star receiver, Odell Beckham Jr. He remains a free agent.

Dallas also signed defensive tackle Anthony Rush to its practice squad and claimed corner Trayvon Mullen off waivers from the Cardinals this week.

Despite the Cowboys’ record, they are 20th in the league in passing offense. They’ve been powered by the rushing duo of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, who have combined for 1,610 yards and 18 touchdowns.

The Jaguars are coming in with some positivity though, having won their last time out, topping the Titans 36-22 on the road. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 30 of 42 passes for 368 yards and three touchdowns. He is ninth in the NFL in passing yards (3,202) this season and 10th in passing touchdowns (20).

“I would say he still has some room to grow, you know, and get better but he’s definitely taken steps in the right direction,” Jacksonville coach Doug Pederson said of Lawrence.

Lawrence was absent from Jaguars’ practice on Wednesday, nursing a sprained toe. He suffered the injury in a Week 13 loss to the Detroit Lions, but still played last week against the Titans, putting forth one of his best passing performances of the season.

“If he can go, I’d rather him go than not. If Trevor can practice some, I definitely want to get him out there,” Pederson said.

Also absent from Jacksonville’s practice Wednesday were linebacker Travon Walker (ankle), corner Darious Williams (abdomen) and offensive lineman Brandon Scherff (abdomen).

Dallas on Wednesday put right tackle Terence Steele and defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins on injured reserve.

The Cowboys are 4-3 all-time against the Jaguars.

Also attracting attention in this game will be Dallas pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr., who was drafted No. 3 overall by Jacksonville in 2015.

He played at Jacksonville last season as a member of the Atlanta Falcons and recorded a sack on Lawrence. Fowler has five sacks and seven QB hits this season.

–Field Level Media

Dec 4, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) throws a pass against the Detroit Lions in the second quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence active vs. Titans

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is active for Sunday’s game against the host Tennessee Titans.

Lawrence was listed as questionable after missing two days of practice with a toe injury sustained on the final play of the first half in last week’s 40-14 loss to the Detroit Lions. He returned to the game and finished with 179 yards passing and one touchdown to go along with four carries for 32 yards.

Lawrence, 23, has completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 2,834 yards with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions this season for the Jaguars (4-8).

He has 6,475 passing yards with 29 touchdowns and 23 interceptions in 29 career games since being selected by the Jaguars with the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The inactive players for the Jaguars in Week 14 were wide receiver Kendric Pryor, defensive lineman Corey Peters, defensive backs Andre Cisco and Tevaughn Campbell and linebackers De’Shaan Dixon and Chad Muma.

Inactives for the Titans (7-5) were running back Hassan Haskins, defensive lineman Denico Autry, linebacker Ola Adeniyi, cornerbacks Kristian Fulton and Tre Avery and wide receivers Treylon Burks and C.J. Board.

–Field Level Media

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) looks onto the field from the sideline during the thirds quarter of the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Philadelphia, Pa.

Nfl Tennessee Titans At Philadelphia Eagles

GM’s firing underscores Titans’ urgency vs. Jaguars

Owning a three-game lead in the AFC South with just five games left, the Tennessee Titans still pulled the trigger on a major move on Tuesday.

Owner Amy Adams Strunk canned general manager Jon Robinson, two days after watching wide receiver A.J. Brown, who Robinson traded in the offseason to Philadelphia, catch eight passes for 119 yards and two scores in the Eagles’ 35-10 rout of Tennessee.

The Titans try to pick up the pieces from that outcome and organizational upheaval Sunday when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are hoping to mount a late challenge to Tennessee in the division.

Fifth-year coach Mike Vrabel, whom Robinson hired in January 2018 after Strunk fired then-coach Mike Mularkey, will team with vice president of player personnel Ryan Cowden to handle player moves for the season’s remainder.

“The message is the same as it’s always been — we’re charged to win,” Vrabel said Wednesday. “We’re here to win championships. We all have a job to do and we’re held to a high standard and we’re evaluated each and every day on that job.

“And it’s the same thing I told the football team and the players this morning.”

The Titans (7-5) have lost their last two games after going 7-1 in their previous eight games to take command in one of the league’s weakest divisions. They are the only team with a winning record in the AFC South.

As things presently stand, they would be the fourth seed in the AFC playoffs and in the first round would face Cincinnati, which knocked them out of the postseason back in January and defeated them in Week 12. With just one winning team left on Tennessee’s schedule, there’s an opportunity to improve its playoff positioning.

For that to happen, the Titans need to get Derrick Henry going. A two-time league rushing champ, Henry has been held under 100 yards in each of the last four weeks, including just 30 on 11 carries at Philadelphia.

“I pride myself on being a playmaker for this team and I feel like I haven’t really done that these last two weeks,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jacksonville (4-8) has one shot to maneuver into some sort of contention. It either wins this week or it will miss the playoffs for the fifth straight year since advancing to the AFC finals in 2017, when it held a fourth-quarter lead before losing in New England.

The Jaguars are coming off one of their worst games of the year, allowing points on Detroit’s first eight possessions last week in a 40-14 loss at Ford Field. The Lions carved up Jacksonville for 437 total yards and never punted, going 8-for-12 on third down.

“It was an ugly day for us, for sure,” said Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who went 17-for-31 for 179 yards and a touchdown in defeat.

And Lawrence didn’t go unscathed, leaving the game after his left leg was twisted during a sack. Lawrence didn’t practice Wednesday with a sprained toe and there’s a chance backup C.J. Beathard may have to play in his place this week.

“He’s been in these situations before in his career so it’s not unfamiliar territory to him,” said Jacksonville coach Doug Pederson of Beathard.

–Field Level Media

Aug 8, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears kicker Elliott Fry (8) watches from the bench in the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Jaguars signing K Elliott Fry

The Jacksonville Jaguars are signing Elliott Fry after working out four kickers on Friday, NFL Network reported.

Fry, 27, appeared in three games with three different teams (Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs) over the past two seasons.

For his NFL career, he has made five of six field-goal attempts (with a long of 44 yards) and five of seven extra points.

Third-year veteran Ryan Santoso and undrafted rookie Andrew Mevis have been competing for the No. 1 kicker job throughout the offseason.

–Field Level Media

Oct 17, 2021; London, England, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Adam Gotsis (96) during an NFL International Series game against the Miami Dolphins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Jaguars defeated the Dolphins 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars re-sign veteran DL Adam Gotsis

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced the re-signing of defensive lineman Adam Gotsis on Wednesday.

Terms were not disclosed.

Gotsis, 29, started four of his 16 games with the Jaguars last season and registered 27 tackles, seven quarterback hits and three sacks.

He has 173 tackles, eight sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in 89 games (46 starts) with the Denver Broncos (2016-19) and Jaguars.

The Broncos drafted the Australia native in the second round out of Georgia Tech in 2016.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Carlos Hyde (24) runs with the ball in the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Jaguars releasing RB Carlos Hyde

The Jacksonville Jaguars are releasing veteran running back Carlos Hyde, multiple outlets reported Friday.

Hyde, 31, is entering the second season of a two-year, $4.5 million contract he signed in March 2021.

The Jaguars will clear more than $1.9 million in salary cap space with the move, according to Spotrac.

Hyde appeared in 12 games (two starts) with Jacksonville in 2021, rushing for 253 yards and one touchdown and catching 12 passes for 65 yards.

A second-round pick by San Francisco in 2014, Hyde has gained 5,846 yards from scrimmage with 40 touchdowns in 102 games (60 starts) with the 49ers, Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks.

–Field Level Media

Nov 4, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman looks on prior to the game against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Jags interview Rick Spielman for front-office job

The Jacksonville Jaguars met with longtime Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman in person Monday about a “high-level front office position,” NFL Network reported Tuesday.

The specific nature of the role is unclear. The Jaguars already have a general manager, Trent Baalke, and are in the process of hiring a head coach to replace Urban Meyer.

Spielman, 59, was fired at the end of the 2021 season. He had been with the Vikings since 2006 and had served as general manager since 2012.

Before joining Minnesota, Spielman worked with the Miami Dolphins from 2000-04, including as general manager in his final season. He was the Chicago Bears’ director of pro personnel from 2000-01.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2022; Jacksonville, Florida, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) drops back to pass in the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars finish in style as Colts miss out on playoffs

Trevor Lawrence capped a rocky rookie season with 223 yards passing and two touchdowns Sunday as the Jacksonville Jaguars earned a 26-11 upset victory over the visiting Indianapolis Colts, who were eliminated from playoff contention.

The Colts still were alive for playoff consideration after the defeat but those hopes ended when the Pittsburgh Steelers earned a 16-13 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

Lawrence completed 23 of 32 passes, including a 3-yard strike to a leaping Marvin Jones in the back right corner of the end zone with 3:08 left in the third quarter. Lawrence jumped to rescue a high snap and then avoided blitzing safety Khari Willis to make the game-breaking play.

Jones caught seven passes for 88 yards as Jacksonville (3-14) snapped an eight-game losing streak and gave interim coach Darrell Bevill his first win after replacing Urban Meyer last month.

The Colts’ Carson Wentz hit 17 of 29 passes for 185 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown pass to Michael Pittman with 4:26 left in the game. But that was much too little, much too late for Indianapolis, who would have advanced to the playoffs with a win or a tie.

NFL rushing leader Jonathan Taylor had 77 yards on 15 attempts but was stuffed for no gain on fourth-and-goal at the 1 early in the fourth quarter with the Colts trailing 23-3. He finished the regular season with 1,811 yards rushing.

Jacksonville put its stamp on the game immediately, driving 75 yards in 12 plays with its first possession of the game. Lawrence drilled a 2-yard touchdown pass to Laquon Treadwell at the 7:48 mark of the first quarter.

The Jaguars didn’t let Taylor get going in first half, limiting him to 18 yards. They also mounted a consistent pass rush that kept Wentz from finding a rhythm in the passing game. Indianapolis’ only points until late came on Michael Badgley’s 41-yard field goal with 9:08 left in the half.

Jacksonville made it 13-3 before halftime on 22- and 20-yard field goals from Matthew Wright, both after 11-play, 71-yard drives. The latter came one play after Laviska Shenault dropped a potential touchdown pass with two seconds left.

Lawrence finished the first half 19 of 25 for 208 yards.

–Field Level Media

New offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien watches quarterback Bryce Young take a snap during practice. The Alabama Crimson Tide opened practice for the 2021 season as they prepare to defend the 2020 National Championship Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Alabama First Practice

Reports: Jaguars to interview Bill O’Brien next week

The Jacksonville Jaguars are bringing in former Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien for an interview next week, multiple outlets reported Friday.

O’Brien, 52, led the Texans to a 52-48 record and four playoff appearances during his seven-year tenure (2014-20). He was fired after an 0-4 start to the 2020 campaign.

He is currently the offensive coordinator at Alabama and will coach in Monday night’s national championship game against Georgia.

The Jaguars are seeking a replacement for Urban Meyer, who was fired last month due to a disappointing season on the field and a series of embarrassing incidents off of it.

Doug Pederson, Jim Caldwell and Todd Bowles have reportedly already interviewed with Jacksonville. Others said to be under consideration include NFL offensive coordinators Kellen Moore (Dallas Cowboys), Nathaniel Hackett (Green Bay Packers) and Byron Leftwich (Tampa Bay Buccaneers).

–Field Level Media