Here at Black&Teal, Terry and I have kept a vigil as to whether the Jaguars will be ready for the very critical opening weeks. We are just 12 days away from the 1st regular game, but I still cannot give you a clear “yes” or “no” if they are ready for Denver. There are two big focus points I have a clearer picture on after the last game; the offense as whole unit; and the secondary. The secondary scares me very very much.
I am optimistic about the offense after the way they worked in Tampa. The Buccaneers might have a lot of problems, but that defense is not one of them. That’s a good unit; espcially the secondary; and that game was a really good barometer where the Jaguars offense are right now – as far as preparation. And if we see; that they put up almost 400 total yards without Maurice Drew and mostly without Marcedes Lewis, the 2 best players of the offense (I might count Eugene Monroe to that group); I must say is more them promising! Even without Maurice and Marcedes the Jaguars looked sharp; executed well (outside the red zone…). The offensive line didn’t allow a singe sack. Last week they allowed one sack against Miami, so the protection is getting better. The weapons are looking for real. Once you add in Maurice Drew then you can get really exited. In fact I say this, if the Jaguars have even an average at best defense, this team will punish you big time. So I think if David can limit his flaws and errors; I think the offense will be fine. In fact, better than fine, exciting!
The downside is the secondary which to me looks like a mess. Tampa’s passing offense easily made big plays with their backup QB. With all the respect to talented rookie WR Mike Williams; he gets a lot of credit; because he torched a very bad defensive backfield. We know that we have issues at safety (which is turning to a real trouble; if the rumors are true- more on that a little later); but now the starting corners look like they have issues as well. Rashean Mathis looked like an average CB in the preseason. You want more money Rashean, right? Then play better please; because Gene Smith may start to search for your replacement if you’ll not impove your game! Derek Cox battles with an injury it seems. I know it is harder to play well with that; but so far he is just an average corner as well. And we have not mentioned Don Carey yet… Is better then a Practice Squad guy? Based on what I saw from him on the field the answer is a big NO! Despite that he will make the final 53. The only corner who I thought played well is Michel Coe, a guy who was cut by Indianapolis last year. And the safeties? Besides Anthony Smith I see no real solution to the huge problem. In fact; Gerald Alexander; who was a lock as the starter FS before the preseason games; looks like he lost that spot. If Josh Johnson can torch this secondary with 4th round rookies; what will Kyle Orton with Eddie Royal do? How easy will it be for Philip Rivers to find Antonio Gates? How many big plays will DeSean Jackson; Brent Celek and Jason Avant make? Plus should I mention a guy named Peyton Manning? The Jaguars will meet them within a month. I’m glad when Rashean said on Monday; that he thinks this secondary has depth. I hope he is right because if not all we can hope for is the pass rush.