It’s the worst feeling in the world, and no matter how many times you go through it, it always feels worse than the last time. The morning after your team goes through a loss is always disappointing, but when you know your team is finished by midseason, it’s down right depressing.
The Jaguars are currently 1-5, but the record is not what is most disappointing. The fact of the matter is the Jaguars are not performing well. Injury’s have mounted up with players like Laurent Robinson and Clint Session out due to concussions, Daryl Smith having one of the worst cases of a groin injury, Blaine Gabbert has a torn labrum in his non throwing shoulder, and the worst of all being Maurice Jones-Drew with a foot injury who is now out for multiple weeks.
Injury is inevitable but underperforming can be cancerous. Players like Justin Blackmon and Blaine Gabbert were set to be the great players of Jacksonville’s future, but so far haven’t shown much. Blackmon was the best receiver in the NCAA for the past two years, but his high draft status is his highest achievement so far in the NFL. This is linked to Gabbert’s performance playing quarterback. Having a quarterback play more than 20 games with only four 200+ yard games is alarming. Excuses can be made as development and progress is slow but steady, but our society is based on instant gratification and changes will be made quickly.
Speaking of change, seats are beginning to heat up in the Jacksonville heat. General Manager Gene Smith has gone on record to say the team needs more talent, and he’s been the man in change of finding it for the past few years. The “Muslim Mustache” Shahid Khan might just pull the rug out from Smith as he is the new owner with no ties to Smith. Not to mention it is his team to mold in the way he sees fit.
So what now? The only thing that can be done is to continue suiting up for Sunday. This is the time that backups appreciate so they can get quality reps on the practice field as well as on the national stage. This is the time to scout some talent. Cecil Short III has shown that he can play at this level, being the most valuable player on the team. He is one of the cheapest players on the team with the most production. Another player who has stepped up is Russell Allen, who has shown the ability to fill in for Daryl Smith; yet he may be a better fit on the right side as Smith is more effective against the pass if he does return.
The most value that can be found is if Gabbert can now operate with Maurice Jones-Drew not at his side. As stated in THIS article by my editor Mr. Sims, Jones-Drew has been a security blanket in which the Jaguars are now forced to no longer rely on. Gabbert will now have the pressure shifted more his way and it will force the team to game plan to his strengths. While check downs will still occur, Gabbert will now have more of a chance to throw the ball down field, especially if playing from behind. Gabbert must show that he can play through injury and show he can be effective on the field, and it will be a good test this coming week against Green Bay.
- Antonio Furgiuele