Oct 7, 2012; Jacksonville FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey reacts in the fourth quarter of their game against the Chicago Bears at EverBank Field. The Bears won 41-3. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-US PRESSWIRE

Bye Week Improvements?

It’s been a tough season to watch so far. The Jaguars seem to be a team that is falling apart. While that may or may not be the case, who is to say improvements haven’t been made during the bye week?

It’d be nice to win. Let me rephrase that. Beating the Oakland Raiders in the black hole this Sunday would be a major statement coming off of a 41-3 blowout at home. Winning on the road in the NFL is far from easy and it would say a lot about this team if they were to march into the Raiders’ own back yard and pull out a win.

So with that being said, I’m going to note a few things I’ll be watching for this Sunday.

  • The offensive line played much better last game despite the blowout. I’m looking for the offensive line to build on that performance, provide even better protection for our quarterback and open lanes for MJD.
  • Daryl Smith returned to practice this week. That should automatically improve our run defense if he returns to the lineup this week.

    Mandatory Credit: Fernando Medina-US PRESSWIRE

  • Our front four has to start winning their one on one battles. Austen Lane had a rare sack on Jay Cutler. I know it’s just one sack, but when sacks come as rare as they do for this defense, one must wonder…could Lane become a pass rushing threat?
  • Where is Andre Branch? This kid has the talent, but he’s been invisible so far. I’m guessing that his struggles have more to do with the entire front four struggling than just him individually.
  • I don’t think Laurent Robinson plays this week. With that being said, I’ll be keeping an eye on Cecil Shorts. Even if Robinson did suit up, I think Shorts will continue his progress.
  • Is it time for Rashad Jennings to get more carries? He was a guy everyone was very excited about in the offseason then fell off the grid once MJD returned. Maybe it’s time to get Jennings involved a bit more. It could also be beneficial to Jones-Drew.
  • Throw Justin Blackmon the ball. I really do think that he’s going to have the ability to take over a game one day. Maybe it starts this Sunday against Oakland.
  • Gabbert has to have more patience and go through all of his reads instead of just hitting the first guy he sees.

I know it’s hard to imagine the Jaguars winning another football game this year, but anything can happen in today’s NFL. Teams can make major midseason adjustments and start playing better ball.

Overall I have to say that the Jacksonville Jaguars must execute. It’s imperative that the Jags play solid, fundamental football. If they play smart, if they play tough maybe they can begin to look like a team that belongs in the NFL.

Look, I’m not saying that the Jaguars aren’t going to get blown out again this season. It’s definitely possible, but at the same time maybe they can actually begin to compete and at least keep games close.

They aren’t explosive. They only have one playmaker. They have to play as a team and take care of their individual assignments. They can’t panic. They just have to play solid, free of mistakes and as a unit.

Hopefully the bye week has allowed them the time to lick their wounds, get it together, and play a sound 60 minutes of football this Sunday.

-David R. Johns

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Tags: Austen Lane Daryl Smith Jacksonville Jaguars Justin Blackmon Rashad Jennings

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