- 1. JDR and Dirk Koetter cannot get away with playing not to lose anymore. Seriously fellas, I’m all about the hard running and tough defensive team identity, but this is getting ridiculous. Yes, it was Blaine Gabbert’s first start. Yes, the we were having some success on the ground. Yes, the weather was terrible. But this isn’t a new development and the story is getting old. The Jaguars started the second half with 10 consecutive running plays. 10 rushes back-to-back. You call 10 consecutive rushes when you’re protecting a two score lead late in the 4th quarter, not to open up the half. Blaine Gabbert needs to be eased in to the pro game somewhat, but the kid is now our starting quarterback and it’s time they treated him like it.
- 2. I think there’s a lot to like about Blaine Gabbert’s debut and it will be exciting to see how quickly he develops. Seriously, the kid has got some skills and he already looks like he’s growing up. What more can you ask for? He’s got a lighting-quick release, can make every throw on the field, has the field intelligence to read the defense and audible, and of course, he’s got the swagger. You can see the twinkle in his coaches’ and teammates’ eyes when they talk about him – they know he’ll pick it up soon and with each game he starts, he’ll gain more of the experience needed to let his talents shine through.
- 3. The Jaguars have a top 5 defense right now, but this weekend will be the big test. The Jaguars have allowed opponents the 4th least running yards in the NFL and the 7th least passing yards in the NFL. There are plenty of excuses the glass half-empty thinkers will come up with, but the Jags have earned those rankings so far. Next week will be the real test, as the Jaguars take on an elite Saints offense. The safeties are playing competently, the linebackers are closing in on everything near the line of scrimmage, and the D-line is making their presence felt. Having Matt Roth back next week will be needed. Having Aaron Kampman back next week (not likely, right now), would be a Godsend.
– Andrew Hofheimer