The Jacksonville Jaguars return home from a rough west coast trip to face the Indianapolis Colts at Everbank Field this Sunday. While the Jaguars haven’t really threatened winning any of their three games so far this season, there has been steady progression from a lot of the younger players. Most of the disappointment has come from veteran players who are generally dependable. It’s only week 4 but a handful of players are in jeopardy of losing their starting jobs or even a roster spot. There are also a few players returning from injury or nursing an injury who are going to be counted on to play a big role. Here are a handful of players who need to step up and play well in week 4.
Will Rackley – Left Guard
Will Rackley has been nothing short of deplorable this season and might be one of the worst offensive linemen in the league. He has the fourth worst grade of all guards according to Pro Football Focus due to his balanced incompetence in pass and run blocking. Rackley is going to have his hands full against a defensive tackle rotation that has played pretty well against the run. Cory Redding, Ricky Jean-Francois, and Josh Chapman have all been consistent in plugging gaps and occasionally providing penetration. Cory Redding in particular has provided a decent pass rush (1 sack, 6 QB hurries) in addition to holding the point against the run
Tyson Alualu – Defensive End
Tyson Alualu hasn’t really flashed much at his new position, but he’ll have a chance to perform well against an underwhelming Colts offensive line. Outside of Anthony Castonzo, the Indianapolis offensive line hasn’t performed that well this season. The four lowest PFF grades on offense belong to offensive linemen – Mike McGlynn, Samson Satele, Jeff Linkenbach, and Hugh Thornton – and Andrew Luck has suffered as a result. Alualu has provided essentially zero pass rush this season, but he should be able to take advantage of a lower level interior line.
Marcedes Lewis – Tight End
With Justin Blackmon out, the onus of carrying the passing game has fallen on Cecil Shorts III over the first three weeks. Luckily veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis is slated to play this Sunday and he should provide a much needed ‘middle-of-the-field’ element to the passing game. Blaine Gabbert was ineffective in his only appearance this season against the Chiefs, but an added weapon and safety valve like Lewis should help him get comfortable early in the game.
Despite being on the road, the Colts are being favored by as much as 9 points. The Jaguars are going to need a lot of key players to improve to have a chance.
– Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89