Jacksonville Jaguars: Jeremy Mincey

Here is the seventh of a 10-part series breaking down the Jacksonville Jaguars' free-agency needs, position by position:

Defensive end

Who's on the roster: Tyson Alualu, Jason Babin, Andre Branch, Ryan Davis, Will Pericak, D'Aundre Reed and Gerald Rivers.

Analysis: Babin, Branch and Rivers play the leo position, which is essentially a defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid whose main purpose is to rush the passer. Babin led the Jaguars with 7.5 sacks in 2013 but his spot on the roster for 2014 is tenuous because of his high salary cap number ($6.175 million) and age (he turns 34 in May). He said he's willing to re-negotiate his contract so he can stay in Jacksonville but the team may choose instead to cut him as part of a youth movement. Branch looked like a bust but improved steadily throughout the 2013 season, thanks to better consistency, and finished with six sacks and tied for the team lead in tackles for loss (10). He also had the second-most quarterback pressures (nine) behind Babin's team-high 19. The other defensive end spot is not really asked to rush the passer much and Alualu did a solid job there in the run game (44 tackles). Davis got more playing time after the team released Jeremy Mincey and the 25-year-old certainly has a much bigger upside than Mincey.

NFL free agents of interest: Michael Johnson and Michael Bennett.

Need meter: 10. The Jaguars have finished last in the NFL in sacks in each of the past two seasons and finding a pass-rusher is the team's top priority along with quarterback. The Jaguars will sign at least one pass-rusher in free agency and it may be a mid-level player like Johnson. It's going to cost a lot to sign Johnson and the Jaguars may not be willing to invest that much money in someone now, especially with the abundance of pass rushers available in the top part of the draft.

Plays that shaped the season: No. 3

February, 12, 2014
Feb 12
Play No. 3: Game-saving interception

Situation: Third-and-10 from the Jacksonville 41-yard line.

Score: Jaguars lead 13-6.

Time: 45 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

DiRocco’s take: Defensive end Ryan Davis was playing in just his second game of the season but he delivered one of the biggest plays. It was partly a right-place, right-time situation, but Davis did come up with an interception that sealed the Jaguars' second victory of the season against the Texans in Houston. Texans receiver Keshawn Martin bobbled a pass from quarterback Case Keenum and Davis made a diving one-handed catch while using his other arm to shield Martin from the ball.

Season impact: Davis was on the field at that point in the game because coach Gus Bradley left Jeremy Mincey back in Jacksonville as punishment for being late to a team meeting. Davis had been on the practice squad until being signed to the active roster for the previous week’s game against Arizona. Davis ended up being a much better option for the Jaguars than Mincey, whom Bradley cut three weeks later after he was late again. Mincey had 14 tackles, two sacks, and three quarterback pressures in eight games. Davis had four tackles, one sack and six quarterback pressures in seven games. That’s basically the same production for much less money.

RTC: Mincey helped Broncos' run

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
Defensive end Jeremy Mincey's consistent tardiness cost him his job in Jacksonville -- and landed him in the Super Bowl.

The Denver Broncos, with former Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio as defensive coordinator, signed Mincey shortly after he was cut by the Jaguars Dec. 14. Mincey ended up playing a bigger role than anticipated and his performance in the Broncos' last four games was a significant part of their Super Bowl run, writes the Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran.

"When [Derek Wolfe] went down we needed a guy in that spot and I know he's filled in," Broncos defensive line coach Jay Rodgers said. "I know Jack had a high regard for him when they were in Jacksonville. The opportunity to get him was a good match for us."

Mincey repeated his praise for Jaguars coach Gus Bradley and said he understands why he was cut and has no ill feelings toward the Jaguars.

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our daily Reading the Coverage feature:

O'Halloran breaks down the matchup between Seattle center Max Unger and Denver defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, who spent four seasons with the Jaguars.

In an ESPN NFL Nation Confidential survey of 320 players, Seattle's Pete Carroll as named the coach for which most players would like to play. The coach that got the most votes from Jaguars players was Gary Kubiak.

Contract talks between the Jaguars and quarterback Chad Henne should be starting soon.

RTC: Brad Meester calling it quits

December, 19, 2013
Jaguars center Brad Meester has given his two weeks notice.

The 14-year veteran on Wednesday announced that he will retire at the end of the season, ending a career that saw him play for every coach in franchise history and hold team records for most games played, most games started and most consecutive starts.

"It’s something I seriously thought about for a long time," Meester said. "It’s been a tough decision for me because this is something that I love doing. I’ve done this for a long time and I truly love doing this but the more and more I thought about it the more I know that it’s time and I’m looking forward to that next chapter in my life and being able to spend some time with my family."

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars content from around the Web in our daily Reading the Coverage feature:

Defensive end Jeremy Mincey, whom the Jaguars cut last week, has signed with the Denver Broncos and is reunited with former Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio.

NFL.com breaks down the top three draft needs for every team. No surprise with their list for the Jaguars: QB is No. 1.

Speaking of the draft, ESPN's Todd McShay released his first mock draft on Wednesday. He has the Jaguars taking Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel at No. 4.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --Austin Pasztor was an afterthought in training camp.

Now he might be the Jaguars' right tackle of the future.

Pasztor, forced into action when left tackle Eugene Monroe was traded to Baltimore before the St. Louis game in Week 5, has steadily progressed over the past nine games and the Jaguars may not have to address that position in the draft or free agency, writes the Florida Times-Union's Hays Carlyon.

"I love the way Austin is progressing," offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said.

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars content from around the Web in our daily Reading the Coverage feature:

The T-U's Ryan O'Halloran reviews five key plays from the Jaguars' 27-20 loss to Buffalo.

The Denver Broncos signed former Jaguars defensive end Jeremy Mincey, writes ESPN Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold.

Here are some items from this blog: the weekly list of the top 10 playmakers from the previous game; despite losing, the Jaguars remained No. 29 in the ESPN.com Power Rankings; playing time broken down for offense and defense.

Five things to watch: Jaguars-Bills

December, 14, 2013
Here are five things to watch in Sunday's Jacksonville Jaguars-Buffalo Bills game at EverBank Field:

Pre-game warmups: If you get there early enough, check out how running back Maurice Jones-Drew, receiver Cecil Shorts, and safety Johnathan Cyprien are moving around. Jones-Drew (hamstring) and Cyprien (thigh) are doubtful while Shorts (groin) is questionable. All three will test their injuries during warm-ups to see if they’re able to play. Coach Gus Bradley said it didn’t look good for Jones-Drew and Cyprien.

Pass rush: The Bills lead the NFL in sacks (44), including 12 by defensive end Mario Williams and eight by defensive end Jerry Hughes. The Jaguars’ offensive line has only given up three sacks in the last two games and effectively neutralized Houston’s J.J. Watt. Williams is the right defensive end and will line up against Cameron Bradfield so keep an eye on that battle.

Trickery: Two weeks ago Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch had Jones-Drew throw a touchdown pass. Last week it was receiver Ace Sanders. What kind of trick play does he have ready for the Bills? Fisch said he doesn’t like to call them trick plays, though. "We want our guys to believe that they’re not trick plays, just part of the offense," he said. "I think that was something I got from Coach [Steve] Spurrier. If we call a double pass it just happened to be a play that we called that game and it could have been like any other play."

Getting his chance: The team’s decision to cut defensive end Jeremy Mincey means more playing time for first-year player Ryan Davis, who was signed from the practice squad on Nov. 15. He has been nearly as effective as Mincey (three sacks, three quarterback pressures). Davis has one sack and four quarterback pressures in just four games. In the first game that Mincey missed after he was late for a team meeting, Davis came up with a game-saving interception in the final minutes.

Secondary issues: The Jaguars are giving up more than 300 yards per game passing since the bye week, but Bills quarterback EJ Manuel has had a rough rookie season and is coming off his worst performance. The Jaguars’ pass rush has been better the past few weeks and the hope is putting pressure on the inexperienced Manuel will result in turnovers. Manuel, however, has shown flashes of elite ability and if there’s any team he’s going to carve up it’ll be the Jaguars, who may be down Cyprien.

Mincey's release tied to production

December, 13, 2013
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have released defensive end Jeremy Mincey, who missed two games after missing a team meeting last month.

It appears to be a move that was made for two reasons: Discipline and lack of production.

Mincey overslept and missed a team meeting on Nov. 23. Bradley decided not to take him on the team's trip to Houston to face the Texans and also fined him an undisclosed amount. Mincey also was inactive for the Jaguars' Dec. 1 game at Cleveland, although he did make the trip.

Mincey said he had some other minor transgressions over the past few months and missing the Nov. 23 meeting was the tipping point for coach Gus Bradley. Mincey has a 3-month old daughter and also owns a recording studio in Jacksonville and said he had gotten caught up with both of those things and his commitment to football slipped. He said he was grateful for Bradley's punishment because it helped him reorganize his priorities.

Mincey, who signed a four-year, $20 million contract ($9 million guaranteed) in March 2012, had just 14 tackles, two sacks and three quarterback pressures in eight games as a sub rusher this season. In addition to the two he missed for disciplinary reasons, he also missed three games with a concussion. Ryan Davis has been nearly as effective, with one sack and four quarterback pressures in four games since being signed from the practice squad on Nov. 15.

Davis also intercepted a deflected pass to seal the Jaguars' 13-6 victory over the Texans in Houston on Nov. 24.

Here's another factor: Mincey was scheduled to make $4.475 million and $4.9 million in the next two seasons while Davis has a base salary of $405,000 this year and is scheduled to make $495,000 next year. The Jaguars are now paying significantly less money for similar production, plus the 24-year-old Davis -- a first-year player from Bethune-Cookman -- has more upside than Mincey, who turns 30 on Saturday.

Jacksonville Jaguars mailbag

December, 12, 2013

Jags, MJD need each other

December, 12, 2013
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Maurice Jones-Drew isn’t the same player he was two years ago, but the Jaguars need him just as badly as they did then.

Not for anything he’ll do on the field, though.

The Jaguars need Jones-Drew to help bridge the gap between the old and new Jaguars, to carry the franchise from the last five tumultuous seasons into what appears to be (right now, at least) a stable, energized and successful environment.

Jones-Drew needs the Jaguars, too, because doing that would add another piece to his legacy in Jacksonville and ensure that he’ll be considered among the greatest ambassadors of a franchise that many around the country believe never should have existed in the first place.

So the two sides agreeing on another contract -- whether it’s a two-year deal worth $10 million with incentives or something a little more -- to enable Jones-Drew to finish his career in Jacksonville needs to be done quickly.

Jones-Drew is one of six current players who were on the team that made the franchise’s last playoff appearance in 2007. The five seasons after that were a downward spiral that culminated in last season’s 2-14 record. Coach Jack Del Rio was fired 11 games into the 2011 season, original owner Wayne Weaver sold the franchise (and somehow kept the negotiations secret), Mike Mularkey was hired, and new owner Shad Khan eventually fired GM Gene Smith and Mularkey after the 2012 season.

It was not exactly an environment conducive to success. Several players -- all starters or key contributors -- have quietly admitted they were miserable over the last few seasons. They hated coming to the facility, felt no connection to the coaching staff and didn’t want to be associated with the franchise.

Jones-Drew didn’t help the atmosphere by sitting out the entire 2012 offseason, training camp and most of the preseason because he was unhappy with his contract.

But things are different now. Khan fired Smith and hired Dave Caldwell, who worked with both Bill Polian and Thomas Dimitroff. Caldwell hired Gus Bradley, an energetic, positive coach who was a successful defensive coordinator under Pete Carroll in Seattle. There’s a positive energy around the facility now, players are happy, and they’ve completely bought into the Caldwell and Bradley regime.

It’s not a surprise that the young players on the roster -- 41 of the 53 have played less than five full seasons -- would do that. Veterans, though, are much harder sells, but the six who still remain from the 2007 playoff team (Jones-Drew, Marcedes Lewis, Uche Nwaneri, Brad Meester, Josh Scobee and Jeremy Mincey) are all in, as well.

The most important one is Jones-Drew. He’s the face of the franchise, the one player with national recognition, the guy who would occasionally pop off when things weren’t going well. If he has bought in then how can any young players, many of whom have grown up watching Jones-Drew play, not do the same?

This wiser and more mature Jones-Drew appears to understand that his role as a leader in the locker room is as much, if not more, important than what he does on the field. He’s still effective (719 yards rushing) but he’s not as dynamic and explosive as he used to be.

He can’t put the team on his back on the field any longer. But he can help carry it into what looks like a bright future, which is why both sides need to come to an agreement so he can finish his career as a Jaguar.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A look at snaps played by Jacksonville Jaguars defenders in Thursday’s 27-20 victory over Houston, while analyzing what it means:

S Johnathan Cyprien: 83 of 83

S Winston Guy: 83 of 83

LB Paul Posluszny: 83 of 83

CB Alan Ball: 80 of 83

CB Dwayne Gratz: 75 of 83

DT Sen'Derrick Marks: 73 of 83

LB Geno Hayes: 72 of 83

DE Jason Babin: 65 of 83

DE Andre Branch: 54 of 83

DE Jeremy Mincey: 36 of 83

DE Tyson Alualu: 35 of 83

DT Roy Miller: 35 of 83

LB Russell Allen: 32 of 83

CB Will Blackmon: 29 of 83

CB Mike Harris: 25 of 83

DE Ryan Davis: 20 of 83

DT Abry Jones: 13 of 83

LB J.T. Thomas: 11 of 83

LB John Lotulelei: 8 of 83

CB Jamell Fleming: 1 of 83

Analysis: Marks played a season-high 73 snaps, which was more than twice the number of snaps Miller played. … Defensive tackle Brandon Deaderick was inactive for the first time this season. Coach Gus Bradley opted to have Jones active instead. ... Mincey was active for the first time since the Nov. 17 Arizona game. He made little impact, assisting on just one tackle. ... Davis recorded the first sack of his career. It came on the game’s final play. ... Branch has recorded a sack in three of the past four games. ... Guy made his first career start.

Five things to watch: Jaguars-Texans

December, 5, 2013
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Here are five things to watch in Thursday’s Jacksonville Jaguars-Houston Texans game at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.:

Where’s Andre? The Jaguars did a good job in the last meeting of limiting Andre Johnson to two catches for 36 yards. Part of the reason was how poorly quarterback Case Keenum played, but the Jaguars did have a hand in that as well, sacking him twice, hitting him five other times, and breaking up nine passes. But the Jaguars also made sure they knew where Johnson was at all times and gave the corners safety help over the top. Plus, a player without coverage responsibilities slid over to help on shorter routes. Expect the Texans to get Johnson involved early and often.

Playing loose: Coach Gus Bradley told the players he didn’t want them getting amped up because Thursday’s game will be on national TV. "What are we doing next Sunday?" Bradley said. "Don’t get amped up? I don’t want to send them that double message." Still, you can sense excitement among the players, who are eager to show they’re a significantly better team than the one that started the season 0-8. Does that mean they’ll play loose and trust their preparation, like Bradley told them, or will be they a big tight? Sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to get from a young team until the moment happens.

Watt’s happening: Texans DE J.J. Watt had only one sack in the first meeting, but he hit quarterback Chad Henne five times and had two tackles for loss. The Jaguars have to do a better job of neutralizing him this time. Henne took quite a beating in that game (four sacks, 13 hits) but stood in the pocket and didn’t make poor throws. Look for some quicker throws to keep that from happening in this meeting.

More Todman: Running back Jordan Todman has gotten more work the past four games, in part to give Maurice Jones-Drew a bit of a break but also because he has proven he deserves carries. He has run for 82 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in the last four games, including 62 yards on 16 carries in the past two games. He had a career-high 11 carries for 31 yards against Houston on Nov. 24, which was also the day that Jones-Drew produced a season-high 144 all-purpose yards.

Defensive line surprise: Bradley said defensive end Jeremy Mincey and defensive tackle Abry Jones will both be active against the Texans. That means another defensive lineman -- possibly tackle Brandon Deaderick or end Ryan Davis -- will be inactive. Tackle Roy Miller has been battling a shoulder injury all season but the Jaguars going non-contact this week because of the short turnaround gave him additional time to rest the shoulder.

RTC: Bradley never lost the players

December, 5, 2013
Jaguars coach Gus Bradley lost a lot of games this season, but he never lost the players.

That's why the Jaguars are 3-1 since the bye, writes the Florida Times-Union's Gene Frenette.

"Gus has been consistent with the same message since April 2nd of getting better," receiver Cecil Shorts said. "When you're 0-8 a lot of teams can go downhill and everything can be in turmoil. He kept the locker room together, kept his coaches together, and kept us growing together. That's all on Gus."

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars content from around the Web in our daily Reading the Coverage feature:

The T-U's Ryan O'Halloran provides four keys for tonight's game, a capsule with pertinent information, and a breakdown on why the offensive line has performed better in the running game.

The T-U's Hays Carlyon writes that holding Houston receiver Andre Johnson in check as the Jaguars did in the earlier meeting will certainly not be easy.

A roundup of items from this blog: the Jaguars can still make the playoffs; the weekly NFL Nation Buzz video; defensive end Jeremy Mincey is likely to be active; the weekly Jaguars mailbag (a day early because the Jaguars play tonight).

RTC: Draft spot on line on Thursday

December, 4, 2013
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --Thursday's game will go a long way to determine whether the Jaguars have the No. 1 overall draft pick in May.

If the Jaguars lose to the Houston Texans they're in good shape to have that first pick. If they win, however, they could drop all the way to ninth by the end of the weekend -- depending on what happens elsewhere around the league, writes Times-Union columnist Gene Frenette.

If the season ended today, the Jaguars would have the No. 3 overall pick.

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars content from around the web in our daily Reading the Coverage feature:

O'Halloran gives three storylines for Thursday's game, including having to deal with Texans defensive end J.J. Watt again.

Coach Gus Bradley says defensive end Jeremy Mincey is likely to play against the Texans after sitting out the last two games for disciplinary reasons, the T-U's Vito Stellino writes.

The T-U's Hays Carlyon writes that the Jaguars had their best mix of play calling and execution against Cleveland.

Here's a roundup of items from this blog: stopping Texans receiver Andre Johnson like the Jaguars did in the first meeting won't be easy; receiver Cecil Shorts has the top spot in the weekly rankings of the Jaguars' top 10 playmakers; the Jaguars remained No. 31 in the ESPN.com Power Rankings; Marcus Mariota's decision to return to school impacts the Jaguars' draft.

Evans out; Mincey may play

December, 3, 2013
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars safety Josh Evans will miss Thursday’s game against Houston because of a shoulder injury, coach Gus Bradley said.

Evans was on the field for only nine snaps against Cleveland before suffering the injury. He was replaced by Winston Guy, whom Bradley said will start against the Texans.

Evans, the team’s sixth-round draft pick, has 41 tackles and one pass breakup.

The Jaguars (3-9) may have defensive end Jeremy Mincey back this week. Bradley said there’s a 90 percent chance that Mincey would be active against the Texans. Mincey did not make the trip with the team to Houston for the Nov. 24 game against the Texans because he overslept and missed a team meeting.

Mincey was not active for last week’s game against Cleveland, either.

RTC: Jeremy Mincey gets wake-up call

November, 28, 2013
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars defensive end Jeremy Mincey wasn't happy about being left behind in Jacksonville last weekend as punishment for oversleeping and missing a meeting, but he said the punishment is the wake-up call he needed.

"I needed it," he said. "It's time to refocus and rededicate myself to football. Gus [Bradley] was just honest. He just made an example of me and I feel bad to be the example, but I'll always fight back and will come back and do everything right."

The Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran writes that Mincey faces a significant fine but expects to be active for Sunday's game in Cleveland. And here's my story on Mincey's first comments since the Jaguars announced that he wasn't accompanying the team to Houston.

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars content from around the web in our daily Reading the Coverage feature:
And here's a roundup of items from this blog: offensive lineman Mike Brewster is bummed because he may have lost his only chance to score a touchdown; defensive coordinator Bob Babich will be facing off against his son, Browns assistant defensive backs coach Bobby Babich, for the third time; and the weekly NFL Nation Buzz video, in which I preview the top storylines for the week.