Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Are the Jags Getting Any Better?

You never know just how you look through other people’s eyes. Ain’t that the truth? It’s recently been brought to my attention by a fellow Jaguars fan that I seem much too negative at times. I really don’t consider myself a negative person with a negative perspective on the team, but I can see where one could draw that conclusion. I certainly hope I don’t sound like one of those desperate fans wanting this guy fired and this guy sucks and we’re going to London…and TIM TEBOW would have saved the franchise for sure!!!

I only want to bring you the truth. We’re a 1-6 football team. We’ve lost some close ones. We’ve been blown out. We have yet to blow the doors off of the opposition. That’s not negative. That’s the truth.

We have a hard time moving the ball. We have a hard time stopping the opposition. I’m not going to look at the numbers, but I believe we are probably at the bottom of the league in both offense and defense. Is that negative?

This will not be a “reality vs. negativity” argument. Those are so boring and cliche’. I’m not writing this post to appear less negative either. I’m simply writing this post to let you, the reader, know exactly what I think of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

First and foremost I love this team. My brother, who will be my best man in my wedding in two weeks, bought us and my groomsmen tickets to the Thursday Night Football game next week. This will  be my bachelor party and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend it than watching my team.

So…is this team any good? NO. They aren’t. Are they getting better? YES. You better believe they are getting better, and they might surprise a few teams along the way. I would love to see them beat the Jets. That game will probably be the biggest spotlight on the Jaguars this season…because…well “he who will not be named” is an expensive gimmick for Gang Green. All eyes will be on him and the team who let him go…TWICE. This is a golden opportunity for the Jaguars to step onto a national stage and beat the Ryan/Sanchez/Tebow circus.

Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Is Blaine Gabbert the future? Yes. I’ve seen enough from Gabbert and in my opinion I believe that he can continue to learn and develop and eventually be a very efficient quarterback in the NFL.

Is the defense any good? I think it’s safe to say that after holding THE Aaron Rodgers to only 186 yards passing…the defense has made huge strides. I don’t quite know what happened at the beginning of the season, but I’m a firm believer that the defense is about to return to form.

Is there a game changer on the roster? NO. Not yet at least. Justin Blackmon WILL be one day, but not any time this year. Cecil Shorts is the closest thing for the time being. With Mike Thomas now gone, I’m thinking Laurent Robinson will return to the slot where he flourished last year with Dallas.  Blackmon and Shorts will continue to start.

Will the defense ever generate more sacks this year? Ya know…it’s not all about sacks. I’d take consistent pressure on the quarterback over 2 sacks in a game any day of the week. I think we’ll begin generating more pressure in the near future.

There is enough young talent on the team to build a solid foundation. Players like Derek Cox, Eugene Monroe, Cecil Shorts…look…I could go on and on.

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRThere is a lot of young talent on the Jacksonville Jaguars. Right now they are inexperienced and some might be having a hard time not only adjusting to the new playbook, new ownership, new coaches, but just to the professional game in general. A lot of these players come from smaller schools. It takes time for those guys to adjust.

The Jaguars played a good game last weekend, but lost because the offense fell flat. That’s a problem. To not recognize the fact would be ridiculous. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. Is it getting better? YES. I can’t tell you the last time the Jaguars’ offense threw for over 300 yards. When was the last time we even had a receiver with 100 yards in a game? So…yes it’s getting better.

But other teams get better too. Can our team be competitive and sock the other guys in the mouth? The jury is still out.

Last weekend we all saw what the Jags are capable of. We watched them play a football game against one of the best teams in the league not just this year (Vikings), but over the last four years. That is a Super Bowl contender they played last Sunday, and they hung with them.

The most important thing is having guys in the locker room who buy into the culture. Sometimes there can be vets from the old regime who don’t always accept the new. In order for this team to be successful Mularkey MUST win over every football soul in that locker room. The players have to have faith in their coach. They have to believe in his system and in his way of doing things. I’m seeing some hold overs from the last few years who look like they simply aren’t buying it. They’ve been with the team too long. They’ve been losing for too long and are just ready for a change. How could you possibly blame them? The organization has to be able to identify those players and well…get them out. Bad attitudes are cancerous.

Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE

I think the real change will happen next season. Khan will not keep these players who have “quit” on the team.* See Mike Thomas…(even though I was very sad to see him go and think that he really does have some talent). Somewhere along the way, however, Mike Thomas just simply stopped caring. Why keep him if he quit? We got a 5th round pick for him in the 2013 draft, and I would say that’s pretty good considering where we took him in 2009 and his lack of production the last few years. If we can start trading away some of these “old parts”  and actually begin stacking draft picks…that would certainly bode well for the future.

All of that is speculation of course. I’d much rather focus on this season. There’s so much football left to be played. Don’t quit on this season. The Jaguars have not quit on us! We could be witnessing the beginning of something really good.

Hang in there my Jaguars faithful and I’ll see you at the game…

-David R. Johns

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Tags: Blaine Gabbert Jacksonville Jaguars Mike Mularkey Mike Thomas

  • JaxLifer

    and have been a season ticketholder in the past. I have a vested interest What bothers me about this post is, like many of my fellow Jags fans, you still seem to back Gabbert (“is Blaine Gabbert the future? Yes”) while dismissing our boy, you know the guy who’s lived here his whole life and is now the most famous footall player in the world, as a “gimmick”.

    I’m born and raised in Jax, am starting a family here and have been a season ticket holder in the past. I have a vested interest in having an NFL team in our great city for a long time. No question, bringing Tebow in would’ve created the kind of buzz that the franchise has lacked for over a decade.

    What gets me is the people out there, like yourself, who act as if Gabbert is a better option at QB than Tebow. Based on what, exactly? In his 16 starts, Tebow has thrown for 2,835 yards, 19 TDs, 9 INTs, and rushed for over 800 yards and 12 TDs. Tebow has clearly been a better NFL QB than Gabbert thus far, the evidence is indisputable. Gabbert will improve and develop? Well, so will Tebow!!

  • David

    I really like your enthusiasm! It’s good to hear someone so passionate about having a pro team here in Jax! We need more of that. Tebow would put the Jags on the map and in the media spotlight ad it could do us some good to get some positive press. Why I don’t understand is if Tebow is such a great QB then why isn’t he starting yet? There’s something about him that scares teams away. Do you really believe Tebow has a long career of being an NFL QB ahead of him? He plays on special teams for crying out loud. Gabbert may or may not work out, but he has a better chance of a credible nfl QB.

  • Keenan Jones

    I’d have to agree that the team is getting better. More importantly, it’s gettitng better in the areas that matter the most. At the quarterback position, the offensive line in pass protection, the defensive line rushing the passer and the secondary in coverage. The defense as a whole is getting better at defending the run, which I think is important also, just second in importance to the things I mentioned.

    I’m curious as to who you think some of the players are the team might need to start think about moving on from. The only two that come to mind is Meester and Mathis. Mathis because it’s apparent he isn’t the player he once was and Meester because at some point he his play will begin to decline rapidly, so a replacement is paramount, although I believe that player could already be on the roster in Estes, Rackley or Brewster. Yet, at the same time, they I don’t think either of them fall into the category of players who have “quit” on the team. Thomas might be the only player who qualified and because of that, he’s no longer on with the team. Speaking of him, we didn’t get a pick in ’13′s draft, it was a 5th in the ’14 draft. Just saying for the sake of clarification.

    You spoke of their not being a game changer on the roster and while I partially agree, I don’t think that was ever Gene’s approach to building the team. I think he wants to build a roster of overall solid players that you can depend on week in and week out, ala Daryl Smith. I think he’s playing a game of probability, in believing that the odds of winning will favor us, game in and game out, if he’s able to succeed in his mission. I hate to use a Madden reference here, but it’s like pitting a team full of players rated from 80-85 against the team that has a few 90′s here and there. That team of 80-85′s are going to, more than likely, beat the team’s they should beat and compete heavily with that team with the few 90′s each week. Is that what Gene is trying to do? I can’t say for sure, but there’s evidence to say that he is. Can that be an approach to build a perennial contender? Another question I can’t answer, but I think it’s one we’re going to find the answer to over time.

    A final word on the game changer conversation. How do you define game changer exactly? As I said, I partially agree, because I see Monroe and Cox as game changers to their respective units. I’d call it game changing when you have a LT that can stonewall his defenders and a CB that can provide consistent converage every week. I’d also be hard pressed to not consider Poz as game changer either. Our defense wouldn’t be able to function at it’s highest level without him manning the middle the way he does.

    And as a closing statement, your opening paragraph came as quite the surprise. A good one though. No doubting whether or not you guys take notice of the input of your readers who join in on the discussion.