It’s difficult to admit, but Sunday’s beat-down at the hands of the Lions did everything to demoralize the Jaguars. We didn’t see the pass rush we anticipated (the lone sack by George Selvie was generously accredited), the passing offense wasn’t let off its leash until far too late in the game, and the running attack did little to whittle away at the Lions.
In fact, everything that could go wrong did.
It wasn’t as bad as the Bears/Titans game in Tennessee, but the Jaguars showed everyone that they are who they thought they were.
The Jaguars are a young, developing, but – at this point – a largely mediocre team. Playmakers like tight end Marcedes Lewis and wide receiver Cecil Shorts are dependent upon consistent above average play from the other players around them. Shorts can’t succeed without respect for the run (which hasn’t existed the past three games), Lewis can’t succeed without plays underneath opening up from the threat of a long ball which isn’t coming because the running game isn’t opening things up for Shorts downfield. Are these guys playmakers? Yes. Are they game changers? No.
The only game changer on the Jaguars roster is Maurice Jones-Drew. He sets the threat of a run better than anybody else and can do it with or without blocking in front of him. That in turn opens everything else up.
Without MJD on the field the Lions were able to take the Jaguars’ fleeting hopes and dreams and run them over with a dumptruck named Mikel LeShoure. This wasn’t a tough game that was played close. This wasn’t some trap game for the Lions. This game was exactly what the Lions expected from the Jaguars.
Maybe 5-11 was much better than the strength of the roster last year. This team may finally be playing to its strengths and showing that its strengths aren’t good enough.
It’s tough to admit, but those Lions showed us just what we are.
Is there still hope? I think so. But the last tendrils are floating away in the wind each week, quickly getting out of reach.
The Jaguars need a game to reset and focus once again because this past week will be tough to get past unless the players do something they haven’t been able to do thus far: find the next level.
– Luke N. Sims