The first game of the season was not a very long one for Myles Jack, as the star linebacker was ejected in the first half of the Jacksonville Jaguars-Kansas City Chiefs game for throwing a punch at an opponent.
A scuffle broke out between the two teams following a Patrick Mahomes fumble in the red zone, and Jack got into it with Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Jack got up off the ground and threw a punch, which drew a flag and an ejection.
Jack had to be physically restrained by teammates and then dragged off the field by staffers after being kicked out of the game.
Jack could face a fine and/or suspension for both the punch and the way he acted after being tossed. With the Jaguars having already lost one star linebacker in shocking fashion during the offseason, they need Jack on the field as much as possible.
The Jacksonville Jaguars were close to fully unleashing the kraken last season.
Speaking with the media on Sunday, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone discussed linebacker Myles Jack’s big contract extension with the team and revealed that they nearly had the 23-year-old play running back for them in 2018.
“I’m happy for Myles,” said Marrone, per team reporter Ashlyn Sullivan. “He’s a unique guy. He’s a guy that can play all three linebacker positions. There was also a time last year where we were getting him ready to play running back. He’s an exceptional athlete.”
Of course, Jack put himself on the map at UCLA as a two-way sensation, getting situational carries for the Bruins in addition to his linebacker duties and doing a lot of damage with them. In just over two collegiate seasons, he recorded 387 rushing yards with 5.7 yards per attempt and 11 touchdowns.
Indeed, the ex-second-rounder was a walking highlight in the UCLA backfield, and perhaps the Jaguars will consider the proposition again at some point.
Linebacker Myles Jack is getting a big payday from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Jaguars and Jack have agreed to terms on a four-year contract extension. Jack will make $57 million with $33 million of that guaranteed, making him the third-highest paid inside linebacker in the NFL.
Jack has become a massively important part of the Jacksonville defense. The linebacker, who turns 24 on Tuesday, collected 107 total tackles in 2018 along with 2.5 sacks. He did it all despite a college knee injury that knocked him out of the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft and raised questions about his long-term health. He has answered those questions, and both Jack and the Jaguars are beneficiaries as a result.
The NFL can be notoriously fickle. The risk of injury, the lack of guaranteed money, and the ever-changing game can alter the trajectory of a career very quickly. For some players, it leaves them in a position where they have to prove themselves again in order to re-establish themselves as top-tier stars.
Here are 15 players who are looking to do just that in 2018. They may have had off-field issues, a lot of injuries, are entering a contract year, or any combination thereof. Either way, all eyes will be on them this coming season, and it’s up to them to respond.
1) Odell Beckham Jr., Giants
There’s so much good about Beckham, but we haven’t seen enough of it in the last year or so. He hasn’t stayed healthy. He’s gotten involved in off-field distractions. He hasn’t produced to the standards he’s capable of even when healthy. Now entering a contract year, he needs to prove to the Giants and everyone else that he can let his football do the talking. So far, he’s reportedly off to a good start.
It may be hard to believe, but training camps are just around the corner, and that means meaningful football isn’t far off. It also means that previously injured players, under-performers and sophomores have another opportunity to prove they belong in the hard-hitting NFL.
Here’s a look at 32 players — one from each team — who are ready to make the leap entering the 2018 season.
Arizona Cardinals – Budda Baker, S
With the departure of Tyrann Mathieu, the Cardinals have an obvious void to fill in their secondary. Enter second-year safety Budda Baker, who is expected to take on a much larger defensive role for Steve Wilks. In an aggressive system (Wilks blitzed on 44 percent of the defensive snaps in Carolina), Baker should find himself in a position to excel as a sophomore and potentially even improve upon his already impressive 84.5 Pro Football Focus grade from a season ago.
Myles Jack may have given away how he was feeling about Sunday’s loss to the New England Patriots with some of his social media activity afterwards.
Following the 24-20 defeat in the AFC title game, the Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker “liked” a tweet by Oakland Raiders counterpart Bruce Irvin jokingly hinting that Tom Brady paid off the referees working the contest.
The tweet, which is still prominently displayed under the “likes” section of the former UCLA star’s Twitter page, summed up how many seemed to feel about Sunday’s game, as the officiating drew a significant amount of criticism.
As for Jack, he did all he could for his team (including this big defensive play), and you can sense his frustration at so narrowly missing a Super Bowl berth.
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack may have made one of the biggest plays of the AFC Championship, but not without a somewhat controversial replay review.
Jack tackled Patriots running back Dion Lewis well into field goal range early in the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship, with the Jaguars leading 20-10. The linebacker stripped the ball from Lewis, and things looked unclear on the field at first — Jack came up with the ball, but the play was quickly whistled dead and ruled a fumble.
Replay review showed that there was definitely some question as to what the ruling would be.
The sticking point was Lewis’s attempt to regain control with the ball at his hip. Patriots fans will argue that he had done so, but the ruling on the field stood, and Jack got the fumble. The Jaguars didn’t score on the ensuing possession, but the fumble likely kept at least three Patriots points off the board.
Though he hadn’t lost a fumble all season, Lewis has had problems in that department in the past. Don’t be surprised if Bill Belichick doesn’t go back to him.
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack made a play befitting a wide receiver in the first quarter of Sunday’s AFC divisional game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was trying to find tight end Vance McDonald, who had Jack on him in coverage. The second-year linebacker was able to get around the receiver, bobble the football, gain control, and get both his feet in bounds — with the receiver-like awareness to deftly avoid the sideline until he had possession.
The play gave the Jaguars the ball inside the Pittsburgh 20, setting up an immediate Leonard Fournette touchdown to put the visitors up by two scores early.
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Myles Jack has officially made it in the NFL, and the newspaper headline that was printed about him earlier this week is proof of that.
Jack made his first ever NFL start when the Jags defeated the Indianapolis Colts in London, and he did it while playing strong side linebacker, which is a position he is not all that familiar with. The former UCLA star held his own, leading to this fantastic headline in the Florida Times-Union:
Classic. That has to be the best one we’ve seen since this highly inappropriate headline was used to describe a tennis match.
Not surprisingly, the online version of the story has a reworded headline. But the old school print version was already mass produced, and it’s too late to do anything about it. For that, we’re incredibly grateful.
H/T Extra Mustard
Once considered a lock to be a top-10 pick, Myles Jack slipped into the second round of the NFL Draft last month because of injury concerns. Jack will not be practicing with the Jaguars until next month, but that has nothing to do with his balky knee.
Instead, Jack has to wait a few more weeks to rejoin the team because of the NFL’s graduation rule, which prohibits players from officially joining their teams until the senior class at their school graduates.
“It really sucks,” the the former UCLA star said Tuesday, per Mike DiRocco of ESPN.com. “That’s the best way I can put it.”
Unlike most schools, UCLA runs a quarter system for classes instead of having semesters. The final quarter doesn’t end until June 10, whereas most schools that have a semester system wrapped things up at the end of April or early May.
“I think I’m missing like a month and some change, and you can’t get that time back,” Jack said. “I’m going to make the most of it, and hopefully when I come in I’ll have the best idea of the playbook I possibly can so that way they can kind of clean me up and get me right.”
Jack says the Jaguars gave him an iPad loaded with the defensive playbook at rookie orientation, so he will be able to do plenty of work off the field. The NFL rule also does not prohibit teams from keeping contact with players, so he can still work with the coaches on some level.
If you heard what Jack said after falling out of the first round of the draft, you’ll understand why he is so anxious to get to work. Jaguars fans should appreciate the enthusiasm.
Photo: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports