Sunday, December 26, 2021

Jaguars, Turning The Page

 BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

When the Jacksonville Jaguars hired former Coach Urban Meyer on January 14, 2021 to turnaround the franchise misfortunes, there was excitement especially with the future arrival of Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence coming to town.

Meyer also drafted Lawrence’s running back Travis Etienne but unfortunately, he sustained a season ending injury therefore, didn’t play a down in his rookie campaign.

On Sunday, December 19, 2021, I finally had a chance to cover My first Jaguars game of the season vs the Houston Texans.

What should have happened was a meeting between two first year coaches, Urban Meyer vs David Culley.

What also should have occurred was a matchup featuring two former Clemson iconic QB’s, Lawrence vs DeShaun Watson. 

Due to off the field issues, Watson hasn’t played a down for the Texans in 2021.

But what we saw should have been Meyer roaming the sidelines.

Instead, Meyer was fired by Jacksonville for cause due to a myriad of incidents throughout his short tenure with the Jaguars.

There was the controversial hiring of former Iowa Coach Chris Doyle who left after one day after a track record with bullying and racism. 

Meyer kicked his kicker Josh Lambo during stretching exercises in training camp.

There were numerous feuds with players and coaches.

Lawrence called out Meyer for not using running back James Robinson citing the fact that the best players should be on the field.

But the biggest incident and undoubtedly the most embarrassing was when in early October, a video appeared to show Meyer touching a women who wasn’t not his wife while he was at his Columbus Area Restaurant. An incident that was a result of Meyer not flying home with his team following a 24-21 road loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday, September 30, 2021.

When you add up all of Meyer’s mistakes, you could hardly blame Jaguars Owner Shad Khan for ridding himself of all the drama that was created!

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During the week, on the Sports Exchange, Myself, Greg Fuchs, Rick Curti and Mel Farr Jr. discussed whether Meyer should ever get another coaching job. 

The link is included in this story and we encourage you to watch the show as everyone of us gave strong points of view about the coach who was ridiculed badly throughout the week on ESPN.

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Meyer was replaced Offensive Coordinator Derrell Bevel as interim coach. Bevell is no stranger to this roles because for the second straight season he’s in this situation.

A year ago, Bevell replaced Matt Patricia as the Detroit Lions interim coach.

Bevell calmed the Lions ship down and won is coaching debut defeating the Chicago Bears 34-30 on December 6, 2020. Bevell finished his tenure in Detroit with a 1-4 mark.

With a chance to audition for the Jaguars job, how did Bevell do against the Texas?

Not very good as Houston came away with a 30-16 win and the Texans have won eight straight games against Jacksonville. The Texans snapped a three game losing streak.

The Texans QB we did see was Davis Mills, who won for the first time in eight starts. The the rookie out of Stanford, who was drafted in the third round, connected with Brandin Cooks twice for touchdowns. The second touchdown pass was for 43-yards.

Cooks continued his success against Jacksonville. He finished with seven receptions for 102 yards and two scores and improved to 6-0 against the Jaguars, getting wins with New Orleans, New England and Houston. He has five 100-yard games in those six contests. He has 34 catches for 701 yards and five touchdowns against the Jaguars.

Houston improved to 3-11 while Jacksonville dropped to 2-12. The Texans have swept their rivals for the ninth time in 11 years.

As for Lawrence, he was 22-38 for 210 yards. He threw no touchdowns and had no interceptions.

Robinson had a solid day with 16 rushes for 75 yards and one touchdown.

Jacksonville led in total yards 296-281 but the only positive that came out of this game was Detroit defeated the Arizona Cardinals 30-12, and the Lions improved to 2-11-1, thus, at the moment, Jacksonville would own the top pick in the 2022 Draft.

When I took the five hour trek north on I-95 for this game, I thought the Jaguars truly had a chance to win this game with Meyer no longer and Bevell auditioning for the full-time job.

Even gamblers put enough money on Jacksonville to make Houston a five point underdog at kickoff, according FanDuel Sportsbook. 

But none of that came to fruition.

During the post game press conference, Bevell talked about the preparation after Meyer’s departure.

“It really ends up being a normal week. We’re used to all kinds of things that change, so we have to be ready to make adjustments and be able to adapt to the situation. I thought our guys, whether it was the players of the coaches, did a good job putting a plan together. The guys were ready. They were into it. We just didn’t play a clean football game today.”

Bevell also addressed his teams struggles in the red zone and whether these problems are fixable.

“Yeah, I thought there was things that we did better today. There was a little bit of explosion. You were able to find guys—we were able to create some space for people again. But again, there were opportunities to make plays. We didn’t make some of them, and we’ve got to catch the ball, we’ve got to throw the ball. We’ve got to protect better, and we’ll be able to find the end zone.”

Lawrence talked about the difference between Meyer and Bevell.

“You know, obviously it’s different. Coach Bev and Meyer are different personalities, so it’s very different. But I thought the guys handled it well, we’re excited, ready to play. Had a lot of energy. Obviously didn’t turn out that way we wanted it to, but we had our chance. In that game, it’s a one possession game and didn’t finish. But I thought all the guys were ready. We had some good energy on the sidelines, very positive. It was nice having Bev on the sidelines so I could go talk to keep building on it, keep getting better.”

Lawrence was glad that Robinson turned out to be a factor in the offense.

“I thought it was great. Obviously we’ve talked about how good a player James is and just continue to build on that. We need all of our players to play well, and that goes back to what I said earlier. We’ve all got our part in it, and we’ve got to play better. But yeah, it was great to see James, obviously, very involved. Yeah, I thought we started off strong and we just, like I said, got to finish.”

Bevell talked about what it was like to be on the sideline with his team.

“Yeah, I thought it was really good. I thought the communication was clean with all the coaches being able to go back and fourth on the defensive line. Our analytics guy upstairs, I was able to talk to him pretty cleanly, so I thought it went well for the first time out.”

After the loss, Bevell dropped to 1-5 as an interim coach with the Lions and the Jaguars.

How would things turn out as the Jaguars hit the road to face the New York Jets in a battle of the top two QB’s selected in the 2021 draft with Lawrence and Zach Wilson?

New York defeated Jacksonville 26-21. Wilson went 14-22 for 102 yards and had one touchdown pass. The rookie signal caller from Brigham Young rushed four times for 91 yards and had a touchdown to win the showdown.

Meanwhile, Lawrence went 26-39 for 280 yards with zero touchdowns and interceptions but was sacked once and had a fumble loss.

But the big story in this game was Robinson, who suffered a torn Achilles Tendon early in the game.

The Jets improved their record to 4-11 while Jacksonville dropped to 2-13. 

Bevell is now 0-2 as the interim coach and 1-6 overall.

On Sunday, January 2nd, Jacksonville has a road date with the 9-6, New England Patriots.

Through Sunday’s action, the Jaguars still own the No.1 overall pick in the 2022 Draft.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com and you can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.

You can see his broadcasts by subscribing to The South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel for free.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Motor City Mad Mouth Meets Mr. Comedy

 BY SCOTT MORGANROTH 

The Motor City Mad Mouth returned to his radio roots on Saturday, December 4, 2021 as he made an appearance on the Steve Eskow Show from 11-Noon. The show was simulcast on 98.3, ESPACE FM and on Facebook: Steve Eskow.

Inside the West Palm Beach, FL., Studio, he wore a Michigan Wolverines hoody and baseball cap reminding folks that the Maize ‘N Blue were playing the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Big Ten Championship. The Wolverines did thrash the Hawkeyes 42-3 earning their first trip to the College Football Playoffs.

In addition to Eskow, Donna Borriello and Lindanna Morgana sat alongside of “The Motor City Mad Mouth.”

But how did the guest appearance originate?

Eskow has another business where he sells placemat ads and those appear at restaurants across South Florida.

I spotted Eskow’s ad at a Lake Worth, FL.,  business and contacted Steve to see if he was looking for a guest on his show. I introduced myself, told him that I owned The South Florida Tribune and was looking for a win-win situation to cross promote one another’s platform.

We agreed to meet at a restaurant which uses his placemats after a couple of conversations on the phone.

At our meeting, Eskow was wearing a New York Giants jersey. It’s safe to say that I knew where his NFL allegiances were. It didn’t take him long to realize that I was no normal potential guest as my energy was endless and that I’ve been in the Media for 42 years doing on-air and newspaper throughout my career.

What made the timing of yesterday’s broadcast so significant was next week, I’ll be in Winston Salem, NC for the National Sports Media Association’s Awards Presentations.

During the course of the broadcast, I made it clear to Eskow and his audience that my roots are in Terrestrial Radio but that I’ve acclimated to Internet Radio as well as the newest kid on the block, Podcasting. 

The listeners found out that the South Florida Tribune is a Digital Platform that not only does it have Written Content but there is a strong focus on Videos and Podcasts to make it a versatile entertainment website. 

I mentioned on the air that our clients gain valuable Google Exposure and this enhances their Credibility on the World Wide Web.

During the course of the broadcast, it was evident that our styles were like night and day. 

The title of this story should automatically give you that indication.

We talked about Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban buying a city in Texas and Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver misleading the NFL with a fake vaccination card. 

I also gave Eskow my baseball home run call which included his name in it.

He did a great job asking me questions about some of the top people that I’ve worked with in the business such as my Mentor former Detroit Tigers Hall of Fame Broadcaster Ernie Harwell, Muhammad Ali and the late Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda.

Eskow found out quickly that my focus on the air is like none others he’s ever seen. When I become animated, I’ve been know to pound on the desk and my one-liners come out fast and furious.

I enjoyed the numerous references that he made that not only do I talk fast, but I can maintain my train of thought, remain attentive with any question that gets thrown my way and am a good talker.

I quipped that caffeine is my version of PED’s, (Performance Enhancing Drink).

I made references that I talk as fast as cars drive at the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500.

You could tell throughout the course of the show, there was a tremendous amount of mutual respect!

During the course of the broadcast, it was neat to see producer Josiah Pierre become entertained while he was doing a dynamite job handling the technical behind the scenes work.

I appreciated the kind words that Eskow said throughout the day that acknowledged I can keep a show going easily with my background and locked in approach.

What I never had the chance to tell Eskow that in another lifetime, I was a co-host of a Terrestrial Radio Show in the 1980’s where we did a sports broadcast from 6-Midnight on Saturday Nights. His one hour show was a walk in the park.

But when the Motor City Mad Mouth matched wits ends with Mr. Comedy, for those that saw the show, the contrast between us was evident. I enjoyed Steve’s stories talking about the entertainment world and the people he’s met. 

Not only did he learn about my sports background but the one thing I had to make sure that I addressed was that because of COVID-19, I’ve been forced to acclimate to a much different change in the industry and leave my sports comfort zone and get into different topics.

I told him that our business approach is changing that I don’t go to as many Sports Events because the main access is via Zoom and as a result seek out other projects which provide direct interviews.

I have to admit that leaving my comfort zone and finding new challenges outside of it has been as much fun as the time being on Eskow’s show.

More importantly, one of the biggest messages I was able to convey was that there are only two things yet I want to accomplish while I’m alive.

First, I want to fulfill my dream and be a play-by-play announcer for a professional baseball team.

Second, I want to write a book that best defines my lifetime in the media with my experiences through the years.

But this appearance wouldn’t have happened if Steve Eskow didn’t have an open mind and talk to me about cross promoting our ventures.

What occurred on Saturday, December 4, 2021 was the ultimate win-win situation!

That’s what life is about and I’m glad that my wife Candy had an opportunity to watch all of this take place because I’m glad that Eskow and the station shared this to the audience in Social Media.

I’m confident that this working relationship with Eskow not only leads to more projects together, but it leads to other opportunities down the line.

But, Act One: The Motor City Mad Mouth Meets Mr. Comedy will leave a long lasting impression for all of those involved both the participants as well as the ones that saw the Steve Eskow show live from West Palm Beach, FL.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com and you can find him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.

You can see his broadcasts by subscribing to South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel for free.

Miami’s 25th Year World Series Weekend Celebration

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