The Jags may come off of their bye week considerably more competitive in football games. It’s tough to admit but hoping for competitive games has become a regular occurrence for us Jags fans. We have a conundrum on our offense. That conundrum is called stagnation.
This offense is unable to move the ball on the ground (MJD isn’t even over 100 yards combining the last two games) and in the air. It’s quarterback misses throws too often and his receivers fail to catch them too often when he does hit them. The offensive line is worse than a semi-permeable membrane trying to protect the quarterback. The tight ends aren’t weapons and are forced to block due to inefficiency.
Yet there is still a playmaker on the Jaguars offense and he’s coming on faster than we think. Justin Blackmon needs to be fed the ball. He isn’t as efficient in catching as Maurice Jones-Drew or Marcedes Lewis. He isn’t as productive as Cecil Shorts. But his problems aren’t a lack of talent. His problem is a lack of experience.
With the bye week behind the Jaguars we can only hope that Blackmon has been learning a thing or two. After holding out for training camp and most of the preseason the wide receiver is behind on the offense and behind in his development. This is apparent on blatant miscommunications between him and Blaine Gabbert. With one more week to get back on track we should have a much improved receiver. Can one week turn him into Larry Fitzgerald? No. But it can make him much better than his current productivity.
A lot of the targets that Blackmon receives come on routes where he is out of position. In the Jags’ game against the Bears Blackmon was out of position when Gabbert wanted to hit him on numerous plays. This resulted in a terrible 37.5% reception rate on eight targets. Yet he continues to be targeted. This is because of his playmaking ability.
Blackmon is a big, strong receiver. He is able to outplay the opposition…when he knows what he’s doing. We may not know until next week’s game, but getting the ball to Blackmon could be incredibly effective compared to his current lack of productivity before the bye week. Don’t expect a major shift to some magic next level but expect him to be playing on a level that most Jags receivers have been unable to over recent years: the level of an NFL receiver.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims