The Jaguars won their first game of the season this past Sunday and did it with a succinct game plan. Run the ball and pass when necessary on offense and dominate the line of scrimmage on defense forcing the Titans to throw. However, this game plan will not be the norm (although run the ball will be the theme) for the rest of the season. Click the jump to see what the Jaguars could possibly be thinking of doing in future games.
I tend to believe that the shorten work week that McCown experienced was one of the main reasons for the simple, power running game plan. He didn’t get many reps during the preseason games and was playing near the bottom of the depth chart as the Jaguars gave Gabbert as many chances as they could to win the starting gig. However, we all know the outcome. Garrard bombed and was cut and Gabbert never stepped up to fill the void, which leads us to this, the Luke McCown interim gap-filling era.
Luke McCown is an unknown, at least to other teams. The talking heads don’t know a thing about him. They don’t know that he has been better than Garrard in camp for the last two years. They don’t know that if he hadn’t blown his knee out against the Chargers last year, he’d probably be the starter right now. They don’t even seem to realize that he’s been with the Jaguars as long as he has. What they do know is that he has been a career backup. What they do know is that he was (1-6) overall in his games played. What they don’t know is that they don’t know.
Luke McCown showed some things against the Titans Sunday. He showed some ability to use his legs, alleviating some fears that his knee might still be bothering him. He showed good decision making, throwing away passes rather than forcing throws or taking sacks. He also showed that he would take risks, throwing it down the center of the field, rather than constant dinking and dunking on quick outs and short slants. He showed that he could put zip on the ball in clutch situation (see Mike Thomas catch). Finally, he showed that he could be accurate throughout the game. His biggest flub-up? He and Meester screwed up a snap that killed a promising drive. He also missed a defender near the end zone and almost gave up an INT.
Based on what McCown has shown and the limited time running the offense as the first team QB, it would be folly to believe that the Jaguars would continue to limit his workload to the level that it was against the Titans. Expect to see the team give McCown more chances to create plays rather than pounding the rock for 45+ carries (even though, if the game dictates that they run the ball, they will run the ball). McCown will probably throw the ball around 25-30 times, not that much more than he did Sunday you say, but the throws will probably me more aggressive throws down-field, on first-down or even both. Expect the Jaguars game plan against the Jets to be more balanced than the Titans game (especially considering the defense they are playing) and expect the Jaguars to lean a bit more on McCown than the previous week.