The offense was stagnant like 2011. The defense was shaky unlike 2011. However, when put in a close game the Jags came out on top-much unlike 2011.
Before the big 80 pass to Cecil Shorts to seal the game, Gabbert only had 75 yards passing. Maurice Jones-Drew had 177 yards on the ground, and accounted for 193 total yards of the 253 yards of total offense. Scobee was automatic.
MJD and Josh Scobee are still the focal point of the team. Jones-Drew proved that he could still completely take over a game and totally dominated. He’s going to prove to Gene Smith and the world that he does in fact deserve the money that he held out for. It was certainly an impressive showing from Jacksonville’s star running back. Opposing defensive coordinators still have to account for pocket hercules.
The defense recorded their first turnover of the season with a Paul Posluzny interception. They did give up 313 yards through the air, however, and didn’t record a single sack. Fortunately they locked down in the second half and didn’t allow a single point in the 2nd half until Adam Vinatieri’s last minute field goal.
The Blaine Gabbert to Cecil Shorts connection is on fire. It’s very real and even though Gabbert didn’t have a stellar game, he was stellar when it mattered and hit Shorts for the go ahead touchdown.
There is cause for concern though. If in fact the offense is still centered around MJD, what does that mean for the passing game? Eventually this team will need to air it out especially if the defense continues to play like it did on Sunday. For instance Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and the Cincinatti Bengals are coming to town this weekend. Which begs me to wonder…
Is it time to set Gabbert lose? Is it time to let all of that offseason work come into fruition? If we end up down by 3 touchdowns in the middle of the 4th quarter, the coaching staff will have no choice. Gabbert will have to make big play after big play like we saw last Sunday.
For those of you throwing Justin Blackmon under the bus, check yourself. If you’re going to be patient with Gabbert, you better be patient with our young receiver. It takes rookie wide receivers time to develop-just like it takes rookie quarterbacks time to develop.
So who will our young QB throw to if we do end up in a shootout on Sunday? Robinson suffered a concussion. Who knows if he’ll play. Just how many miracle plays can the Gabbert/Shorts connection conjure?
Maurice Jones-Drew can’t take over every game. Eventually our offense is going to have to throw the ball. After all, it’s a passing league.
Tight defense. Explosive running game. Superb kicking game. It’s a tried and true strategy that is as old as the league itself, but how long can it work in today’s NFL? Just this one game? Maybe a few more weeks? It’s only a matter of time before a high powered offense marches up and down the field again, airing it out scoring touchdown after touchdown. Will Gabbert be able to answer? We’ll never know unless the coaching staff begins showing a little more faith in Blaine, our young wide receivers, and our make shift offensive line.
Will we be pleasantly surprised or will we be severely disappointed?
-David R. Johns