I heard it from Oakland fans all week last week leading up to the Jags/Raiders tilt.
The Raiders were going to do this and that to the Jaguars. The Raiders were going to whomp the Jaguars by 30 and what have you.
Well, it wasn’t quite by 30, but it certainly felt like it. Last weekend, the Oakland Raiders gashed the Jaguars on the ground for over 200 yards. The Jaguars offense lead by Chad Henne struggled to get anything going all day, but somehow managed to KIND OF crawl their way back into the game when it was pretty much already decided. It was late. It was garbage time, but Henne managed to connect with TE Clay Harbor for the Jaguars first TD of the season and bring the team within 10 after a failed two point conversion.
Really and truly, Cecil Shorts’ 93 receiving yards, Ace Sanders’ 5 grabs for 64 yards and Henne going 25 of 38 for 241 yards and a TD, was nothing more of a desperate last gasp of air for the Jaguars as they fell to 0-2 on the 2013 season.
The running game looks much like it did last year. Maurice Jones-Drew had only 27 yards on the ground. Henne was sacked 5 times. I guess the offensive line is still an issue, huh? No holes for our backs to run through…no protection or time to throw.
This is all the obvious stuff though. On a team that just hasn’t lost two games, but have pretty much been dominated, the bad will be blatantly obvious. What’s not obvious is the fact that this defense…well it’s not good, but you can see the potential.
In the last 6 quarters of football the Jacksonville Jaguars have only allowed one offensive touchdown-an 11 yard scamper by Marcel Reece who is a very underrated football player by the way. Yeah, the pass rush is terrible and the Jaguars have a hard time stopping anyone before they cross the 50, but the point is that the defense can hold opponents. It should only get better in the coming weeks, and it should be something to build on.
Paul Posluszny and Geno Hayes are playing hard. They are giving a lot of effort out there, and it’s apparent in how they always seemed to be around the ball on Sunday. Johnathan Cyprien is a guy to watch in the upcoming weeks on the defense as well. He had a forced fumble and 8 tackles on the day and is showing why he was taken with the 33rd pick of the 2013 draft. He’ll definitely be a piece on which the Jaguars defense will be built in the next few years.
Instead of coming all the way back out to JAX before heading out yet again to the west coast to face the Seattle Seahawks, Bradley and the team were like, “hey, while we’re out here why don’t we just stay and practice all week?”
OK. This was decided during the offseason, but for some reason I just like to imagine them making this decision last minute. Anyways…
Losing the first two games to the Kansas City Chiefs at home and the Oakland Raiders in the black hole was the easy part of the Jaguars’ schedule. Yep. That was the easy part because now they travel to Seattle where they will face a Super Bowl contender in the Seattle Seahawks.
The Seahawks can run the ball with Marshawn Lynch. Beast Mode. Skittles. Whatever you want to call him, this guy is a bull. He can run through defenses like a sledge hammer demolishing an old, rusty kitchen. Russell Wilson is one of the most electric players in the league right now. He can beat you with his arm. He can beat you with his legs. He can beat you with a wiffle ball bat. Ok. He can beat you. On Jaguars.com, where everything is lollipops and rainbows, even they have to acknowledge the Seattle defense…but for some reason they just mention how physical the secondary is. Yes, Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas are an intimidating group who can lay the wood and hawk the ball like a heroic demon falcon, but what about the rest of the defense, jaguars.com? Stop lying to the people!
The Seattle defense could be getting their premier pass rusher in Chris Clemons back, but really they shouldn’t need him. Not against this Jaguars offensive line that has allowed 12 sacks so far. No. They should be able to get the job done with the likes of Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, both of which were signed as free agents during the offseason. The Seahawks have an incredible rotation along their defensive line. Rackley, Meester and Nwaneri are going to have their hands full with Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniels. And don’t even get me started with the athleticism of Seattle’s linebackers. Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright are two very underrated aspects of the Seattle defense. They can both fly to the ball, and are fully capable of making plays themselves.
And what about the crowd noise? Didn’t the Seattle fan base cause an earthquake, put a jet engine to shame and summon Mothra?
On paper, this is NOT a good match up. Really, the Jaguars don’t stand a chance. The Jaguars do, however, have something going for them.
The Seahawks are coming off a very emotional, high-octane thrill ride win in which they thumped a divisional opponent on prime time national television. Do you really think they are going to approach the Jaguars with the same kind of energy and fervor with which they approached the NFC champion 49ers? I doubt it. Don’t give me that coach speak about how every team takes every team seriously in the NFL.
It happened last year with the Green Bay Packers when the Jaguars played them tough in Lambeau. It can happen again this Sunday. Am I saying the Jaguars are going to win? Haha. No.
I’m simply saying that if and only if the Seahawks go to sleep, and if Jacksonville cuts back on the penalties and begin sticking to their assignments, then it could actually maybe look like a football game instead of something out of A Song of Fire and Ice…
This is the NFL, folks. Any given Sunday. And as likely as it is that Seattle will probably drop a 50-bomb on the Jags, this is in fact why they play the game. Because however probable “likely” is, you still have to settle it on the field.
-David R. Johns