The season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday was painful. Seriously, it was hard to watch. Simply put: this was some of the worst football I’ve ever seen in my life. It was an embarrassment to the players, coaches and fans.
Blaine Gabbert was downright horrible, only throwing for 125 yards and a two picks including the nail in the coffin pick six to Tamba Hali. Alex Smith looked like he had enough time in the pocket to actually leave the stadium, go eat at Burrito Gallery, go fishing in the St. Johns River, and return to complete whatever he was doing. The pass rush was poor. The pass protection was even worse.
Maurice Jones-Drew only had 15 carries for 45 yards. I was hoping he was going to be a bit more involved in the game plan. Yeah, Jacksonville was down and throwing the ball made more sense at the time, but if it’s not working then you obviously have to try something else.
Look. I’m all for Jacksonville trying to throw the ball, don’t get me wrong. That’s been one of the biggest things holding the Jaguars back in recent years-lack of a passing game. However, when your quarterback throws the ball 35 times and only completes 16 passes for 121 yards, maybe Jones-Drew should have touched the ball a little bit more. Jones-Drew wasn’t a factor in the passing game, which if he was it might have helped Gabbert get into more of a rhythm. With Justin Blackmon out, the Chiefs were able to solely focus on Cecil Shorts even though Shorts has come out and said that he was open…
The offensive line gave up 6 sacks. I can’t blame this on our tackles. Sorry, folks. When pressure comes from up the middle, everything tends to break down. The interior of the offensive line. YIKES. Hopefully as the season rolls on these five will begin to play with a bit more solidarity, but on Sunday it looked as if this was the first Monroe, Nwaneri, Meester, Rackley and Joeckel had ever even met one another.
The bright spots were close to non-existent, but if there was one it was the fact Kansas City did not score an offensive touchdown in the second half. The defense had some solid stops, but the offense simply couldn’t take advantage of the opportunities provided.
So where do we go from here? This is the team that we have, Jacksonville. The big signing period in free agency is over. Draft has come and gone. This is the team that we have. So…will it get any better?
Yes. It may not be next week. May not be until super late in the season, but this unit will begin to show signs of life. Really what I saw on Sunday was a lack of execution. True, Jacksonville isn’t the most talented team in the league, but they are still professional football players. The lack of execution was really what was so startling. This is a young team. Rookie right tackle. Rookie starting receiver. 1st year receiver seeing extensive time in the slot. 2nd year left guard who missed all of 2012 is starting. Rookie starting CB. Rookie starting at SS.
Maybe this disastrous season opener was a result of a unit with a lot of new parts trying to adjust to the new scheme, the speed of the opponent and just the overall size of the NFL.
With that being said, that was still some pretty terrible football.
What’s next? The Jacksonville Jaguars travel to Oakland to take on the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders were supposed to be terrible this year, probably just as bad as the Jags. What do they do? They hang tough with Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts and lose a heart breaker in the 4th, 21-17. Wow. I was not expecting that.
Terrelle Pryor had 13 carries for over 100 yards and looked elusive and just plain fast when flushed from the pocket. If the Jaguars want even a hint of a chance next Sunday they’re going to have to force him to stay in the pocket and throw the ball. If they can’t, I’m not looking forward to seeing this defense chase this guy around.
But ya know what? He actually looked pretty good throwing the ball as well completing 19 of 29 passes for 217 yards a score and two picks. Yeah I know the 2 picks look bad, but he was able to successfully move the ball and give his team a chance.
And how about the Oakland defense? 4 sacks on Andrew Luck. How did they do it? They brought guys like S Tyvon Branch and CB Tracy Porter on blitzes. Lamaar Houston and Jason Hunter had a sack a piece too, but I’d advise the Jaguars offensive line to be on the look out for blitzing DBs as well.
Thing is, Pryor IS the Oakland Raiders at this present time. If the Jaguars are able to stop him, then maybe they could pull out a “W”.
The Chiefs had several parts on offense and defense to worry about. Right now, the Raiders are going “all in” on Pryor and just letting him go out and play ball. It worked against the Colts and maybe it could work all season? That’s the parity of the NFL.
Or maybe it was just a fluke thing and they end up imploding. That’s the parity of the NFL too.
SO. Chad Henne will be starting in place of Blaine Gabbert this Sunday due to 15 stitches in Gabbert’s hand. Dwayne Gratz is out too and either Mike Harris or Will Blackmon will replace the rookie.
I’m not quite sure that Henne will make the earth-shattering difference some out there believe he will. I’m definitely going to take the “wait and see” approach next Sunday and hope that the Jaguars are actually able to execute and play to their full potential.
-David R. Johns