There’s no doubt about it, folks. No denying it, no sugar-coating, no nice quotes about finding the positives.
This team is not good.
We knew this was a rebuilding process, and we knew it would take time. So why, then, would this week’s loss to the Oakland Raiders hurt?
Optimism, that’s why. We all have high(ish) hopes for our beloved Jaguars. How can you call yourself a fan if you don’t? Objectivity dictates, though, that this is a gutted roster and a completely new system and way of doing business. What do we take away, then? Caveat: this was against the Raiders, and next week it’s the Seahawks (who, at the time of this writing, are dismantling the 49ers).
1 – The pass rush is improving. Terelle Pryor is one shifty dude, but the Jaguars were able to register three sacks in the game.
2 – It’s all about the ball. Motivational posters with that statement are all over the organization, and this week, unlike last week, they took care of it. A plus-one turnover differential isn’t anything spectacular, but it’s what a team that’s not good needs to do.
3 – The pass defense wasn’t bad. Was that because Pryor wasn’t good? I wouldn’t know, personally… my favorite overseas television network decided that a rain-delayed race took precedence and bumped the game. My hunch is that it was a big part of it, but to hold any NFL quarterback to 126 yards is a pretty decent day.
4 – The number twos are coming along. Maybe it’s because there’s a bunch of them playing as ones right now, but it seemed to me that the backups who were in are progressing.
5 – Mental mistakes are killers. Too many instances of guys being out-of-place, committing penalties or blowing assignments today. It’s a new system, but they have to learn it and execute if they want to be successful.
6 – They must protect the quarterback. Much like the pass defense had a lot to do with the quarterback, this one is, in large part, on Henne. Five sacks? To be certain, Jedd Fisch’s offensive style isn’t exactly tailored to our current starter, but he has got to get rid of the ball.
7 – These guys have heart. When you’re rebuilding, that’s what matters. They’re not good–not yet– but I’m still optimistic that they’ll get there.
Next week is probably going to be rough. To think differently would be foolish, and there’s a very high probability that this team starts 0-3 now. The Seahawks are good, and the Jaguars aren’t yet. This is a team that needs to get healthy and continue to improve under the new regime. If they can do just that, then there’s hope, and your optimism may prove not to be unfounded.