The Jacksonville Jaguars are playing to win. And win it all.
Jaguars are coming off a disappointing 30-14 loss on the road to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Jaguars began the season 2-0 after a convincing road win over the New England Patriots. The Jaguars have not started 2-0 on the road since the 2007 season.
The defense forced the Chiefs headlining quarterback Patrick Mahomes to throw his first interception of the season. However the recipe for success, I continue to harp, the team goes where Blake Bortles takes them. The Jaguars did not capitalize on the turnover moreover Bortles was picked off four times and sacked him five, and Chris Jones of the Chiefs took one of those interceptions back for a touchdown.
“They did a good job early in the game getting a lead. They did a good job early on third downs in the game. Offensively, we didn’t execute,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “Again, we had a poor showing in the red zone, we had turnovers, and the game got out of hand. Got to play better. We’ve got to coach better, play better. We got to go back and get this team back on track.”
The running game has given Bortles lackluster support. Leonard Fournette has been battling a hamstring injury and has been ruled out for a fourth time in five games; coach Doug Marrone shared Wednesday that T.J. Yeldon will continue to “carry the load” Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.
Yeldon, had 53 yards rushing against the Chiefs. Jacksonville needs more from a position that is stumbling along at this point of the season.
They plan to win, leading them to sign free agent Jamaal Charles to a one-year deal, the team announced Tuesday.
A valuable move that comes after No. 3 running back Corey Grant was placed on injured reserve with an injury to his left foot. Grant was the next man up into playing time with starter Fournette out indefinitely because of a right hamstring injury and Yeldon playing with an irritating ankle injury.
The Jaguars also promoted first-year back Brandon Wilds from the practice squad, but he has been a non-factor with the ball and a liability as a blocker. Charles’ veteran experience will help Wilds and the entire backfield. Boldly, if they all can get healthy, the Jaguars will have commanding support for Bortles.
Charles, 31, who worked out for the Jaguars on Tuesday morning prior to signing the deal, said he’d been waiting for the right opportunity to sign with a contender.
“I’ve been trying to do all my condition work, just trying to stay in shape just in case I got anybody to call,” Charles said Tuesday. “The reason why I wanted to come here, really, was because I wanted a potential shot at a Super Bowl. That’s why I still kept my options open. I really want to win a championship.”
He should be able to pick up the offense quickly and make an immediate contribution Sunday at Dallas (2-3) while playing behind Yeldon.
“I have a lot [left in the tank] and I’ve got to prove a lot,” Charles said. “Opportunities don’t come around like this all the time.”
Charles spent nine years in Kansas City and played 14 games with the Denver Broncos last season. The four-time Pro Bowl selection has 7,556 yards rushing and 44 touchdowns, plus 2,586 yards receiving and 20 more scores.
“In my mind, I want to come here and make my own history,” Charles said. “I want to start a new history. Everybody says, ‘he’s old’ right now, but I want to start something new. … I want to do something special for the Jaguars. I hope we can go all the way.”
In his early years growing up, Charles reported being diagnosed with a learning disability as a child, having difficulty reading, and being mocked and teased. In 2015, he shared his experience including being invited to participate in the Special Olympics in a heartfelt speech “I was afraid. I was lost. When I was a boy, I had trouble reading,” Charles said. “I found out I had a learning disability. People made fun of me. They said I would never go anywhere. But I learned I can fly.”
“When I was ten years old, I had a chance to compete in the Special Olympics. That’s right; the Special Olympics gave me my first chance to discover the talent I did not know that I had.” Charles added. “When I competed in the Special Olympics, I found out just how fast I was. I stood high on the podium, getting the gold medal in track and field.”
Charles has won and continues drawing from inspiration. Now, it is time for him to dust off those cleats.