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Jaguars week in quotes: Free agency special

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By: SimonCarroll

The Jaguars introduced the newest members of their team to the media this past week

As the dust begins to settle on a crazy first week of free agency, it’s time to get to know a host of new faces in Jacksonville. Here are the biggest soundbites of the last seven days:

“This is a quarterback-driven league”

The Jacksonville Jaguars kicked off free agency really before it had even officially begun, signing former Buffalo Bills center Mitch Morse to a two-year deal. Speaking to the media last Wednesday, Morse identified two of the biggest reasons that attracted him to Duval County:

“I think it was kind of a slew of deals, so not only my familiarity with Doug [Pederson] in the past, I’ve always had a sense of trying to get back to him ever since he became a head coach. I thought it would kind of be a fun deal. The culture, we [the Bills] got absolutely smacked last year in London and I’ve been a big fan of that defense for a very long time as well as the offense of course. I think this is a quarterback-driven league and to win in this league you have to have a quarterback with the tangibles and the intangibles. I think Trevor [Lawrence] kind of embodies both of those things. So, that and the sunshine doesn’t hurt, right? Being able to get the joints lubed up a little and feeling my fingers in November and December, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy my time in Buffalo. It was home for so many years. The only thing I have to say is that it is a little warmer here so we’re looking forward to that.”

Protecting a trio of QB’s of the caliber of Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Trevor Lawrence is rarified air. Let’s hope Morse catches rays and helps make big plays during his time in Jacksonville.

“Yeah, I’m a Jaguar man”

It’s fair to say Gabe Davis was pretty happy to get a phone call from the Jags last week. Speaking to the media on Thursday, the former Bills wide receiver spoke of his delight to be returning to his hometown state – and was actually back on the east coast before Trent Baalke dialed his number:

“Yeah, I was at UCF, watching my brother and watching the whole team. Gus [Malzahn] actually wanted me to talk to the receivers, he was saying like, ’20 minutes, come talk to the receivers real quick.’ I’m like, I got to go. I got phone calls I’m about to be on. I went home, showered, I got a gym down there in Orlando that I run, so I was sitting in the conference room there and as soon as 12 o’clock hit, it all just started going and going. As soon as I heard Jacksonville, I was like, ‘Thank God, they called. Thank God.’ I wanted to come back to Florida, I wanted to be around guys that I knew, a coast that I loved and the team is great. Shoot, we could never beat them. Came here and as soon as they sent it in, negotiating was in and then boom, I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m a Jaguar man.’ A pretty easy decision.”

Davis might not be the last receiver to be added to the roster before training camp begins – but he’s probably the most excited.

“You’ve just got to trust your gut”

Darnell Savage trusted his instincts when embracing free agency for the first time in his career. The hard hitting safety shared his experience with the media on Thursday after his time with the Green Bay Packers came to an end – and explained what it was about Jacksonville that led to him signing a three-year deal with the Jags:

“Just the energy. The energy from the coaches, just everybody here. I kind of had a feel for that during the whole process and it’s stayed true since I’ve gotten here. I’m excited. It’s always a difficult decision when you are basically picking up and moving to a whole new location. But it’s kind of one of those things where you kind of have to go with your gut a little bit. I was talking to a couple of my friends that are in the NFL too and I feel like our whole lives we just pick up and go. We get adjusted, that’s kind of what we do. That’s what people do in general, whether it be a job or anything. So, I just look at it like that and then you’ve just got to trust your gut. You can’t go into anything with bad vibes, you’re not really going to get too much good out of it.”

Violent on the field, philosophical off it. Expect to see a smile on Savage’s face when he takes the field this fall.

“My agent got it done”

The Jags weren’t done strengthening their secondary, also signing former Baltimore Ravens cornerback Ronald Darby. Darby looks to be a perfect fit in Ryan Nielsen’s press-man scheme – and as he explained on Thursday, he feels it’s a team that’s ready for a playoff push:

“It was more than a phone call. Doug [Pederson] of course, I played with him. We had success before. He’s a great coach, so I didn’t have any problem at all coming back to play for him. There wasn’t any like, I don’t know, once my agent told me, I was like, ‘Alright, I’m down.’ And my agent got it done. This is a young team, they’re talented. There’s a lot of talent here, that’s why I had no problem coming here because there’s a bunch of guys that want to win.”

“I just want to win”

Okay, so technically, Mac Jones isn’t a free agency signing. But he was an offseason addition, and introduced to the media with everyone else last Thursday. A fairly lengthy presser, Jones was grilled about his time with the New England Patriots. But for me, most interesting was how he viewed his role in Jacksonville. Speaking of the confliction between backing up Trevor Lawrence and harboring ambitions of being a starter once again in this league, Jones feels he’s in a great spot to continue his development:

“Yeah, for sure. I’ve known Trevor for a little bit of time here since high school. We have a few mutual friends and stuff. I’ve always kept up with him, I have a lot of respect for his game and I’m here just to learn from him, like I said. He’s the captain and he’s a great player, he’s done a lot of good things here and really, I just want to win.”

“Yeah, that’s a great point. It’s about confidence, it’s about putting in the work and doing everything right that you can. I feel like I did that and I’m going to continue to do that. The results may have been there some days and may not have been there the others. But I think the important part for me is sticking to that process like I’ve always done and just trying to get back to that. At the same time, just knowing my role, knowing where I’m at, understanding that this is a great spot for me in my hometown.”

“Explosiveness, excitement, speed and physicality”

A man of few words, Devin Duvernay might represent the low-key signing of the Jags’ first wave of free agency. Likely a replacement for Jamal Agnew, the receiver was undoubtedly added to the roster for his prowess on special teams – and he was unequivocal when asked what he brings to his new team:

“Super excited. The love was there, mutual interest and the opportunity, just couldn’t turn it down. So, I’m excited and happy to be here. As far as what I have to offer, just explosiveness, excitement, speed and physicality. Just excited to play my game and bring my game to Jacksonville.”

I’m not sure what is quicker – a Devin Duvernay press conference or one of his kick returns.

“I want to have a positive impact here”

We wrap up this week’s quotes with possibly the biggest free agency signing of them all. After only being released a few days into the NFL’s yearly free for all, Arik Armstead’s surprise departure from the San Francisco 49ers threw a curveball. The Jaguars appeared to be the quickest to pivot, signing the defensive linemen just two days later to a three year, $51m deal. What was it about Jacksonville that made it attractive to a perennial Pro Bowler?

“My goal was to find the next stage of my career in some place that I feel comfortable, that valued me as a player as well too, and a place I can take the next step and grow in. A place that’s competitive and that I feel I can come in and help get them over the hump. The Jags were a good team before me and whenever I enter a situation, not just in football but in life in general when I’m meeting people and when I’m entering situations working with people, I want to make the place better than when I found it. I want to have a positive impact here. I think this team was already a phenomenal team and I think I can help get them to the next level. Having that opportunity is something I look forward to as well.”

Originally posted on Big Cat Country – All Posts