It doesn’t matter that the Jaguars will be overlooked all week despite winning on Monday Night Football. No matter how little attention is placed on Jacksonville by the media and casual fans, I guarantee that the NFL took notice. Coaches and general managers noticed a defense that was able to stop the run, abuse the offensive line, cover their gaps, blanket receivers, and harass the quarterback. But can the Jaguars win again?
The Jaguars are developing a winning formula: develop Blaine Gabbert slowly, avoid dropped passes, run the ball, and make sure the defense plays more physically than whatever offensive personnel are on the field. So far, three of those four variables are being achieved. But even without being able to execute on catching the ball, the Jags may become a team that could win.
Monday Night was an anomaly for the Jaguars. Only allowing seven points is not the norm, but it looked like the defense was one cohesive unit that has molded over the five game losing streak to realize how they can compensate for their deficiencies and best attack the quarterback, ball carrier, and receivers. It’s almost like there’s a second coming of the early 2000s Ravens or something.
I don’t generally approve of copying things from other teams, but when it comes to winning Super Bowls, it’s widely acknowledged that a premier defense is a prerequisite. It doesn’t matter if you have Tom Brady and can out up gaudy offensive stats week in and week out. Eventually, a team will outgun you, out-coach you, or outplay you on defense. The Packers won with a strong offense and defense, the Saints won with an opportunistic defense and strong offense, the Colts even won when their defense was more decent than usual. And the Ravens back in 2000? Trent Dilfer was their quarterback (To give you an idea of how anemic their offense was, they won 34 to 7, Dilfer had 12 completions 154 yards and a touchdown).
If Blaine Gabbert can up his game even a little bit, averaging just 150 yards a game without a pick, or at least a 1:1 TD/INT ratio may be enough for the Jaguars to win even more. If anything was proven on Moday, it was that the Jaguars can cover the pass well. Derek Cox was smooth in coverage, Rashean Mathis was channeling a younger version of himself, and the linebackers were able to cover the shorter routes and tight ends while also supplying a healthy dose of pressure on Joe Flacco. Almost every defensive stat-line would indicate this defense is made up of play-makers. And if they continue to play in the cohesive, team-minded way they did on Monday Night. Well, give it some time, but I’m willing to look forward to our own Festivus Miracle in Jacksonville’s future.
- Luke N. Sims