Even though we have only seen two games this season, there are things we are learning about the Jacksonville Jaguars. Some of them provide hope for the future, some of them point to a new direction we need to take. But all learning is good so let’s get on with it.
Eben Britton might be good after all! I have taken thousands of pictures of the line play and watched over and over how Eben Britton missed a block or didn’t hold it. I didn’t believe he had the skill at an NFL level until the San Diego game. Eben Britton showed a performance not previously seen. He is worth watching now. If he does develop, we are in much better shape.
The running game misses Vince Manuwai! The Jaguars can’t run to the left this year and the reason is Justin Smiley. The Jaguars may be addressing the pass protection problems by starting Justin but are doing so at the expense of the running game. Justin Smiley is a solid pass protection guard, but not a people mover. His limitations are restricting the play calling.
Kirk Morrison is a run stopping quarterback hitting linebacker! But he is not a coverage guy and never showed coverage skills. There is an old saying, never try to teach a pig to sing, it only frustrates you and annoys the pig. Kirk Morrison was used as a coverage guy in San Diego and it didn’t work. He was used as a quarterback getting guy against Denver and it worked. Memo to Jaguar coaches: don’t try to teach a pig to sing.
For God’s Sake sign Marcedes Lewis NOW!!! I would take a large bag of money, large bills, and quietly place it in his locker. In it I would place this note “We will take care of you and your mother for life”. Make him an offer he can’t refuse.
Tyson Alualu is not John Henderson. This is not a bad thing, Tyson is different. He is a defensive end playing defensive tackle. He is a get to the quarterback guy. John Henderson was a rock up the middle that could push the pocket. Tyson Alualu is more like water, he will keep probing until he finds a hole. Tyson Alualu needs backup on the runs up the middle. He may be spinning as they run by. He is and will be a valuable guy, but understand what he is and use him properly.
We have pulled the Goalie this year! Daryl Smith, Kirk Morrison, Aaron Kampman, Tyson Alualu and even Derrick Harvey can get to the quarterback, but once the ball is in the air, we have no defense. The Jaguar defense against the pass has deteriorated to unimaginable levels. Only Rashean Mathis is back there. The mystery of Derek Cox remains. Truth be told, he was never great, but what happened to him is odd. Why Tyron Brackenridge isn’t starting is another mystery. I don’t understand the Jaguar thinking on this.
Mike Sims-Walker is not a number one receiver. Don’t get me wrong, he is good. There is no question that he belongs starting, but the Jaguars lack the ultimate threat. Anquan Boldin would have been a nice pickup for the Jaguars, but money is so tight right now they can’t get there. Too many top ten draft choices. The Jaguars must get into the 15-20 drafting range to afford free agents of quality.
Maurice must be hurt, no question. He is silent on and off the field. It is as if he doesn’t exist anymore. Against Denver, there were opportunities to break one, it hever happened. One day he might be better and emerge again, but this year so far he doesn’t exist.
The Jaguars can’t win 8 games this year. Not unless they can shut down the pass more effectively and run the ball. David Garrard can’t be engaged in a shootout every week. Houston and Indianapolis can, but it is not our game. If we lack a running game, a top quality receiver and a defensive backfield, there is no formula for winning week after week.
I actually like watching the Jaguars to see how they are developing. I don’t see a playoff run this year, but beating Denver was a good start. If the offensive line get healthy and Maurice returns, we have a chance to be competitive. That is what we need to expect this year. Maybe after the Philadelphia game things will look different, so stay tuned. In the mean time, I will see you at the stadium!
– Terry O’Brien