Jacksonville Jaguars: Kansas City Chiefs

Live blog: Chiefs at Jaguars

September, 8, 2013
9/08/13
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Join our ESPN.com NFL experts as they break down the Kansas City Chiefs’ visit to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Contribute your thoughts and questions beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET. See you there.

Jaguars fantasy breakdown: Week 1

September, 6, 2013
9/06/13
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Looking for some help with your fantasy football lineup? Every Friday I'll give you my opinions on which Jacksonville Jaguars players to play and sit as well as which of the opposing players might be a good play against the Jags. For more fantasy football advice, check out ESPN.com's fantasy football page.

Jaguars

RB Maurice Jones-Drew: He says he’s healthy and ready for whatever workload Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch throws his way. He had just 10 carries during the preseason because the team was trying to ease him back. If he is healthy, he’s capable of a 1,300-yard season. The only question is his TD production, which has fallen off from a high of 15 in 2009. Verdict: Play him as a flex option this week until a clearer picture emerges of his workload.

WR Cecil Shorts: With Justin Blackmon serving a four-game suspension, Shorts is the Jaguars’ top receiver. He’s coming off a year in which he caught 55 passes for 979 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 17.8 yards per catch -- better than Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, and DeSean Jackson. Verdict: Only play him as your No. 3 WR because of the uncertainty at quarterback.

TE Marcedes Lewis: He has been ruled out with a calf injury.

K Josh Scobee: He’s been a consistent performer and has made at least 22 field goals the past three seasons. However, after making five field goals of 50 or more yards in 2011, he only made one last season. Verdict: Because of the uncertainty of the offense, you’d be better off keeping him on the bench.

Jaguars defense/special teams: The special teams were pretty poor during training camp and the first half of the preseason schedule but an influx of players claimed off waiver claims has helped improved the units. Still, there aren’t any game breakers. The defense is starting two rookies in the secondary and is trying to improve a pass rush that produced NFL-worst 20 sacks last season. Verdict: Bench ‘em.

Kansas City

QB Alex Smith: Smith has been an efficient quarterback over the past three seasons. He has thrown only 20 interceptions in that span, the fewest in the NFL. However, he’s not regularly ripping off 300-yard games and with the Chiefs’ running game, his role will be as more of a game manager, even in Andy Reid’s West Coast offense. Make a few key throws here and there, but most importantly take care of the ball. Verdict: Keep him on your bench.

RB Jamaal Charles: He ran for 1,509 yards last season and there’s no reason to think he’s not going to threaten that number again in 2013. He’s the key to the Chiefs’ offense. He can be a grinder as well as a big-play runner -- he had three TD runs of at least 80 yards last season. Verdict: No question he’s a starter.

WR Dwayne Bowe: Bowe is one of the most talented receivers in the NFL, but he has been hurt by poor quarterback play. Smith is an upgrade from Matt Cassel in terms of efficiency and not turning the ball over, but the problem is that teams can double Bowe because of a lack of complementary playmakers at receiver. However, Bowe has caught 11 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns in three games against the Jaguars. Verdict: Play him as your No. 2/3 receiver.

WR Donnie Avery: He is the starter opposite Bowe. He caught 62 passes for 781 yards last season but is more of a deep threat. Since Reid’s West Coast offense stresses shorter passes, he may not have as many opportunities for big plays. Verdict: Sit him.

TE Anthony Fasano: He is entering his eighth season and coming off a career year in which he caught 41 passes for 332 yards and five touchdowns. The Jaguars struggled to cover tight ends in the preseason, so he could have a big day. Verdict: Play him.

K Ryan Succop: He makes 81.5 percent of his field goals and the Chiefs’ offense should be improved. Verdict: Start him.

Chiefs defense/special teams: Rookie Knile Davis returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in the preseason and he’ll get some work on Sunday. The defense is loaded with playmakers -- linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston and safety Eric Berry -- and the Jaguars are starting a rookie right tackle in Luke Joeckel. Verdict: Start the Chiefs against a Jaguars offense with few experienced pass catchers and either a QB with a fractured right thumb or his back up.
Gud Bradley, Andy ReidAP PhotoGus Bradley and Andy Reid are looking to get off to fast starts with their new teams.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Fans know a lot about their favorite teams, but they don’t have the same depth of knowledge of the 31 other teams in the NFL. That’s not going to be a problem any longer.

Each week the NFL Nation writers will team up Q&A style to help you get a handle on each team. Today, Kansas City Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher and Jacksonville Jaguars reporter Michael DiRocco help break down Sunday’s matchup.

Michael DiRocco: Is Alex Smith really an upgrade over Matt Cassel?

Adam Teicher: He had better be or the Chiefs are in some trouble. Cassel and Brady Quinn turned over the ball far too many times last season. One thing we know about Smith is that he hasn’t thrown many interceptions. He threw just 10 in his last 25 starts with the 49ers. So he’s been a quarterback who protects the ball, and if he can just do that, he’s already an upgrade over Cassel and Quinn. Another thing: Andy Reid’s West Coast offense will succeed if the quarterback completes a high percentage of throws. Smith completed 70 percent last season. If he can get close to that number this season, he’s even more of an upgrade.

Teicher: How patient will the Jaguars be with Blaine Gabbert on Sunday and this season?

DiRocco: This is a make-or-break season for Gabbert, who must prove he’s capable of being a franchise quarterback. That’s the team’s No. 1 goal for the season, so there will be a certain amount of patience. It does no good to give him a half or one game and yank him because the team will essentially be where it was heading into the season. That being said, if Gabbert really struggles during the first two months of the season, then the team will have its answer and may turn to Chad Henne or the recently signed Ricky Stanzi for the remainder of the season.

DiRocco: What’s the biggest change Andy Reid has brought to Kansas City?

Teicher: It’s a change brought by Reid and John Dorsey, the new general manager. Everybody seems to be pulling in the same direction. The Chiefs went through plenty of infighting the past few years and it was dragging them down. People often had their own agendas or felt they had to align themselves with one person or another. Dorsey and Reid swept that out the door. Winning looks to be the only goal and it certainly appears everybody is on board with that. Of course, it’s easy for a new administration to have everybody on board when it’s undefeated. So it’s an issue to keep an eye on once the Chiefs start losing some games.

Teicher: What are the biggest changes Gus Bradley and Dave Caldwell have brought to the Jags?

DiRocco: On the field, it’s on defense, where Bradley is implementing a more aggressive attitude and trying to rebuild the secondary with bigger, more physical cornerbacks -- essentially what he did in Seattle. Off the field, Bradley and Caldwell have changed the culture in the locker room. There’s a lot of energy and enthusiasm around the franchise even though everyone knows that the talent level needs a significant upgrade and the team likely isn’t going to reach .500. It was a much-needed boost, because the atmosphere around the team the past few seasons under Jack Del Rio and Mike Mularkey had become somewhat stale.

DiRocco: Some NFL experts have pegged the Chiefs as a playoff team just one season after finishing 2-14. What are a few things that have to happen for that to become a reality?

Teicher: They have many good players, but from the GM to the coach to the coordinators to the offensive and defensive system to the quarterback to 29 other players who didn’t play for the Chiefs last season, there’s a lot new here. How quickly Reid and his staff can pull everything together will be a key. The Chiefs have a favorable schedule the first half of the season and they need to take advantage because it gets more difficult after that. On the field, the Chiefs have to fix a turnover differential that was minus-24 last season. Their defense and special teams have to do a better job of providing better field position for the offense. This offense won’t make a lot of big plays, and if it has to go 80 yards on every possession, it will be a struggle.

Teicher: What are realistic expectations for the Jags this season in terms of number of wins?

DiRocco: I kind of let that slip in my earlier answer, but a six-win season would be the best-case scenario for the Jaguars. Four or five victories seems more likely, though, especially considering the team has back-to-back road games on the West Coast, plays San Francisco in London, and has to play at Denver, Indianapolis and Houston.

RTC: Rebuilding Jaguars' pass rush

September, 6, 2013
9/06/13
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The Jacksonville Jaguars were not very good at pressuring the quarterback last season.

In fact, they were pretty bad.

Hays Carlyon of the Florida Times-Union writes that one of Jaguars coach Gus Bradley's main tasks in turning the franchise around is rebuilding a pass rush that recorded an NFL-worst 20 sacks in 2012. Six new starters on the defense is a start.

Here are some other pieces of content from around the web in the Jaguars' version of Reading the Coverage:

• The Jaguars have added some interesting halftime entertainment. The Times-Union's Garry Smits writes that Jaguars mascot Jaxson DeVille and a PGA Tour golfer will have a closest-to-the-pin contest. The Tour player and Jaxson DeVille -- in full costume -- will hit a 125-yard shot from the Sky Patio in the north end zone to an island green on the 50-yard line. There's money for charity on the line, as well as free cheesesticks -- and possibly $1 million for one fan.

• J.P. Shadrick breaks down the quarterback situation and gives a closer look at Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles in a video on jaguars.com.

• Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star writes that rookie running back Knile Davis will be worked into the rotation as a kickoff returner on Sunday. Davis returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in the preseason -- including a 109-yarder -- but has had some issues with ball security.

• Star columnist Sam Mellinger writes that while the importance of quarterbacks has increased exponentially over the past 10-15 years, the evaluation of quarterbacks has lagged behind.

Joeckel still miffed at being No. 2

September, 5, 2013
9/05/13
10:00
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It has been a little more than four months and Luke Joeckel is still annoyed.

And the source of his irritation is coming to town on Sunday.

Joeckel
Joeckel is still miffed that the Kansas City Chiefs passed on him with the No. 1 overall pick in April’s NFL draft, instead opting for another offensive tackle -- Eric Fisher of Central Michigan.

That he went one pick later to the Jaguars doesn’t ease his frustration, either.

"I’m a very competitive guy. I think every guy that was down in New York was competing for that first pick," Joeckel said. "Not getting that and having another tackle go before me, that puts a chip on my shoulder. I’m ready to work. It’s going to push me even harder. He’s a good player and all, but I’m ready to go prove Kansas City wrong."

If he wants a reason why the Chiefs opted for Fisher, he’s not going to get it from Chiefs coach Andy Reid.

"Both of them -- and I felt this way at the draft time -- are very good players," Reid said on a conference call. "They’re both going to have long careers and a lot of success in this league and I’m not going to get into why we did it. The end result was we did it and that speaks for itself.

"I think Luke is a heck of a football player and I think he’s done well in the preseason so I know he’s going to have a great career."

Joeckel isn’t unhappy in Jacksonville. Nor is he harboring the kind of grudge that Maurice Jones-Drew did because 32 teams passed on him in the first round of the 2006 NFL draft before the Jaguars took him in the second.

Joeckel just wanted to be the first player drafted. Sunday is his first chance to prove to the Chiefs that he should have been No. 1.

"There’s a little bit of a chip, but I’m ready to go," he said. "I’m glad I’m here and I’m playing for the Jags. Now we’ve got to go get a win."

Get to know the Kansas City Chiefs

September, 3, 2013
9/03/13
11:00
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars’ 2013 season -- and with it the Gus Bradley/Dave Caldwell era -- finally begins on Sunday when they play host to Kansas City. The Jaguars and Chiefs were two of the worst teams in the NFL last season, but there’s optimism in both cities that 2013 will be better.

In Jacksonville, it’s because of the energy and enthusiasm of Bradley, who spent the past four seasons as the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive coordinator, and the presence of Caldwell, who spent his formative years in the NFL under two of the league’s top executives in Bill Polian and Thomas Dimitroff. In Kansas City, it’s because of the addition of Andy Reid, who led Philadelphia to nine postseason appearances in 14 seasons, and quarterback Alex Smith, who seemed to turn a corner and become a consistent player for San Francisco before being injured and eventually replaced by Colin Kaepernick.

The Chiefs also have a new general manager in John Dorsey, who spent the past 12 seasons as the director of college scouting for the Green Bay Packers.

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. EST and the game will be televised on CBS with a broadcast team of Spero Dedes (play-by-play), Steve Beurlein (color) and Steve Tasker (sideline).

Here’s a look at the Chiefs:

2012 Record: 2-14.

Coach: Andy Reid, first season; 14th season overall (130-93-1).

Offensive coordinator: Doug Pederson.

Defensive coordinator: Bob Sutton.

Series record: Jaguars lead 6-3.

THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW ON OFFENSE

RB Jamal Charles: The Chiefs were fifth in the NFL (and tops in the AFC) in rushing last season and were paced by Charles’ 1,509 yards. His 4,536 career rushing yards is fourth on the Chiefs’ all-time rushing list and he’s 361 yards shy of third place (Christian Okoye, 4,897 yards) and 1,536 yards shy of tying all-time leader Priest Holmes (6,070). The 5-foot-11, 199-pound Charles is a capable between-the-tackles runner, but he’s also a big-play threat, having recorded four touchdown runs of 80 or more yards in his career.

QB Alex Smith: He may not be a dynamic passer, but he has been careful with the football. Since 2010, Smith has thrown the fewest interceptions (20) among quarterbacks who have thrown at least 1,000 passes. That’s four fewer than Tom Brady, five fewer than Aaron Rodgers, and seven fewer than Ben Roethlisberger. One of the Chiefs’ biggest issues last season was turnovers. Kansas City turned the ball over 37 times, including 20 interceptions by Chiefs quarterbacks.

WR Dwayne Bowe: Bowe is one of the league’s most dangerous receivers but was hurt last season by inconsistent quarterback play. He caught 59 passes for 801 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games, which were his lowest numbers since he caught 47 passes for 589 yards in 11 games in 2009. He’ll be a tough player for the Jaguars’ secondary to handle, especially considering the Jaguars will be starting a pair of rookies in cornerback Dwayne Gratz and safety Johnathan Cyprien.

THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW ON DEFENSE

OLB Justin Houston: The third-year player from Georgia had a team-high 10 sacks to go along with 66 tackles last season. He emerged as one of the league’s top young defenders and was voted to the Pro Bowl. The Chiefs want to pressure the quarterback more this season and Houston is a big part of that plan, but he’s also athletic enough to drop into pass coverage. He’ll likely be matched up against Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis.

S Eric Berry: Berry is a Pro Bowler who will sometimes be used as a linebacker in Sutton’s defensive scheme. He bounced back last season with 86 tackles and 10 passes defensed after missing all but one game of the 2011 season with a torn ACL. Expect Berry to be all over the place as the Chiefs try to take advantage of the athleticism and playmaking ability of one of the league’s top young defenders.

OLB Tamba Hali: Nobody has been more reliable and consistent for the Chiefs than Hali, who has missed just one game in eight seasons. Although his sack production has slipped the past two seasons (12.0 in 2011 and 9.0 last season) from 14.5 in 2010, he is still a solid pass rusher off the edge and he was voted to the Pro Bowl last season. He’ll be matched up against Jaguars left tackle Eugene Monroe, who is coming into his own as one of the league’s better tackles.

ETC.

Kansas City has lost six of its last seven season openers. … The Chiefs’ special teams were impressive during the preseason. They blocked two kicks and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. Kicker Ryan Succop made all nine of his field goal attempts. … The Chiefs have 30 new players on the 53-man roster, but among the 23 returning players are six Pro Bowlers from 2012. … Punter Dustin Colquitt put 45 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line last season.

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