BOOK IT: 5 Things I Think About the Jaguars, Week 7

If this was a crossroads game, what does that make our next match at Jerryworld against Tony Romo and his gang of potent pass catchers? There are some fundamental changes the Jaguars have to make to find a way to be competitive again. With the completely unpredictable way each weeks’ fixtures have been panning out in 2010 and what seems to be a completely bipolar Jacksonville team, honestly, who knows what could happen? Whatever the case, this season will rest on Garrard’s shoulders, like it or not. Hopefully he comes off his week of rest and decides to play like a new man.

“She falls down a well, her eyes go cross. She gets kicked by a mule. They go back. I don’t know.” – Cousin Eddie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

1.) Recently signed quarterback Todd Bouman showed the throwing ability and decisiveness to become Jacksonville’s quarterback of the future. That’s a little joke to take the edge off – Todd is 38 years old and was riding a tractor on his dad’s farm when he got the call from GM Gene to come man the offense for a week. But there were elements of Bouman’s performance that unfortunately, David Garrard has not shown in a long time. Passes had nice zip on them and were hitting receivers in the hands and in stride – unfortunately though, it looks like our guys still got a case of the dropsies. Todd also showed nice touch on a number of throws and did a good job (except on the picks) placing the ball where only our receiver could make a play on it. Most impressive was Bouman’s decisiveness – there was no one-beat hesitation once he found his open receiver and he wasn’t locking on to his first read on every play. He scanned the field and once he found the open guy, he fired. We’ve been missing these attributes at the quarterback position for a long time now. By the way, anyone catch Bouman’s shocking celebration after his touchdown pass to MJD?

2.) Safety Dance Status Report: some good, some bad. Courtney Greene seems pretty reliable in his performances thus far. He hits hard and rarely misses tackles, which makes him a decent prospect for the strong safety position in this defense. Don Carey looked pretty lost, on the other hand. If he’s going to make anything of himself in the free safety position, he will have to show better positioning and instincts. He is not very physical or a gifted tackler and on the Dwayne Bowe touchdown, he should have come up to make a play on the ball or at least brought Bowe down quickly, but instead got spun like a top trying to catch him.

3.) Costly turnovers, costly penalties, bad challenges, and seemingly no halftime strategic adjustments – the  hallmarks of the Jaguars’ losses this year. I don’t have to tell anyone that you can’t win like this. The turnovers fall on the shoulders of a quarterback picked up off the street (farm, in this case) and a heartbreaking fumble by Mike Thomas. The rest falls on the coach.

4.) The defense was gouged by the Chiefs’ rushing attack because of poor gap discipline, poor block shedding, and poor tackling. These are the fundamentals of defense and frankly, it is embarrassing to not get these right. How many plays were there yesterday where the front seven was not being overpowered by the Chiefs’ blockers and there seemed to be several Jaguars close enough to make a play yet couldn’t? They weren’t getting blown out on the blocks, but when the ball carrier was within reach they failed to shed and tackle. On other plays, our defense had the gap plugged, but would end up surrendering several yards because everyone left their responsibilities and the ball carrier was not contained. It was disheartening to watch. It had to have been disheartening to be on the field.

5.) The time for ultimatums may already be over. When a Jack Del Rio team cannot run the ball and cannot stop the run, management will likely make the decision to turn the page. I realize the Jaguars still have the #10 rushing offense and were ranked higher than that last week, but as the Chiefs’ showed, a good rushing team will find a way to get it done. To have a chance of winning this game, the rushing attack was absolutely crucial to setting the tempo, controlling the clock, and only forcing Bouman to make the plays he had to. We dared Matt Cassel to throw with eight and nine defenders in the box and they still ran for over 200 yards on us. They found a way. The Jaguars did not. I like Jack Del Rio and the attitude and leadership he has brought to our football team. But running the ball and stopping the run have always been his signature and what is, at the very least, expected of his team. Combined with the shortcomings mentioned in point #3, it should not surprise if Del Rio’s fate is already sealed.

- Andrew Hofheimer

Next Jaguars Game View full schedule »
Friday, Aug 2222 Aug7:30at Detroit LionsBuy Tickets

Tags: Book It Jaguars

  • Vernon

    These recent goal line and 3rd and short disasters are really bugging me. Draft a QB and new O-Line talent, get an OC who doesn’t run a west coast offense. Maybe get a new coach. Please not Gruden or Cowher…

    All of this after the season of course, mid season firing and hiring accomplishes nothing.

    As for the defense, it’s obvious the secondary needs a makeover. This rebuilding by Gene is going to take at least 2 more drafts. I hope he gets the time to see his plan through, so far I believe he is building the right way.

  • tkopa

    Andrew, I always love your articles and this is no different thank you.

    i do have to call you out on something. Last week, after Tennessee, i wrote it is obvious to me 1) David is not elite; 2) The run game and Maurice is not happening; 3) Jack looks to be a .500 coach; 4) Talent evaluation with Gene is not over the top; 5) Mike Sims-Walker is not elite.

    You said I was melodramatic and wasn’t seeing clearly.

    Today you think: Todd showed things David hasn’t shown in a long time, the running game isn’t happening, Jack looks doomed, Jaguars are suffering from talent issues.

    Do you still think I am not seeing clearly? I think you have it right in this article. Where is the dif?
    - Terry

    • thehof

      I didn’t say I disagreed with your points. It was just written and phrased in a sky-is-falling, everything-we’re-doing-is-wrong way. Concerning your points, I have agreed with you about David, saying we need to draft a QB and though DG is certainly capable of great performance and moments, he is not elite. I’m not convinced MJD has anything wrong with him other than some bumps and bruises, average interior run blocking, and defenses loaded up against him. I’d call Del Rio a coaching equivalent of Garrard. I have said that MSW is not a true #1 in as many words. Where we diverge the most is about Gene Smith. I’m not saying he’s hit homeruns on every move he’s made, because it’s entirely unrealistic for every UDFA you sign and no-name you pick off of another team’s practice squad to become instant Pro Bowlers. But you seem to think he misses as much as any other GM, which I disagree with. But a GM’s job is not to constant hit homeruns, it’s to get good value out of his transactions (or as Gene has said “make base hits”). Just because David Jones can be exploited and Don Carey is not a shut down corner doesn’t make them misses and I would argue far from it. David Jones was a starter for 5 weeks and all we gave up for him was Reggie Nelson (who was on his way out) and picked up a late round draft pick, in addition. We gave up nothing for Don Carey other than his salary last year while he recovered from his injury. I’d say for Reggie Nelson and no further consideration, two starters in a weak secondary when we weren’t getting help from anywhere else and a 7th round draft pick is good value.

      • tkopa

        If you read the post again, you do not find “the sky is falling” writing. You see a very objective statement of opinion. The situation surrounding the article cast it in that light.

        One year from now that post will stand up as factual. I am sure of it.

        As for David Jones and Don Carey, they have no business starting. It doesn’t matter that we gave up little for them, we got little in return. Reggie Nelson was on the way out because the coaching and GM decided it. Reggie is a better player than Don Carey. There was no upgrade in value.

        Gene Smith is doing a better job but not a stellar job. He is not the savoir he has been believed to have been. He will get better butright now he is middle of the road.

        We can disagree on that point easily. In fact, I hope you are more right than I am.

        Anyway, keep on writing! It is always worth reading.

        • thehof

          You definitely hit on some points that were not easy to own up to. The MNF loss was so disappointing (especially how good we had hoped the game would be and how bad it turned out), that the harshness of the article just added to the gloom. They were valid points to bring up, I’m just holding out longer before dismissing any new acquisitions as busts.

          • tkopa

            You have great insight and that is why your criticism matters. Keep publishing your POV. I might agree I might challenge. Same for you.

            The truth is what we are looking for, no matter how it is delivered. As Buddha said “reality always wins, best to greet him with an open mind and an understanding heart, he will be your friend”.

  • zoltanfrombudapest

    Great piece Andrew. By the way here is a question to everyone. Consider every QB is healthy who should start in Dallas?:
    A; Garrard
    B: Edwards
    C; Bouman
    D: Doesn’t matter who starts; the Dallas offense will score 40 points against this defense

    • surteal

      bouman earned it, oddly enough

    • jagsoldier

      I wish you would have added Luke McCown. I think given the chance he could play like Bouman did except that he is younger. He would be better than Garrard at the very least. If it wasnt for Garrards contract there would have been a serious QB battle in camp. Big paychecks saved DG because Luke looked good in the preseason.
      Now, I just want to say that I want this coaching staff gone and I mean right now. I would love either Cowher or Gruden. They are both good coaches and they would draw fans. Fire Del Rio and do it tomorrow! This season is a bust, I said after Terrys game day article. Fire Jack and the lest the pieces fall where they may. I want my QB and I want him by draft day next year.