If you have been listening to the Jaguars Monday program with Pete Prisco, Tony Boselli, and Brian Sexton (usually a pretty good listen, I recommend it), a theme over the last few weeks has been whether or not winning games this year is good for the franchise long term. Prisco and Sexton both maintained the stance that this team bottoming out is ultimately the best scenario because the Jaguars will have their pick of the litter at the top of the draft. Boselli has vehemently countered that opinion by arguing that winning is more important in the sense of cultivating a culture and validating the things head coach Gus Bradley and GM David Caldwell are doing.
If you’ve read the site you know I’m a huge Teddy Bridgewater fan and I would love for the Jaguars to select him in the 2014 draft. I’m of the opinion that Bridgewater will be the first overall pick, so I’ve been open about wanting the Jaguars to bottom out. The Jaguars have had different plans obviously and they’ve shown it by winning two of their last three games. What seemed like a guaranteed shot at Teddy Bridgewater is starting look more tenuous especially when you consider the rest of the Jaguars schedule – they play the Browns, Texans (again), Bills, Titans (again) and Colts. The Jaguars have a shot in almost all of those game with the way their defense is playing.
The possibility of the Jaguars selecting outside the reach of a franchise quarterback is no longer laughable. But in reality, how many more games can the Jaguars win the way they are playing right now? Consider the following:
- The Jaguars are averaging 12.9 points a game this season – 15.9 when Chad Henne starts.
- In the two games they won, the Jaguars had 8 drives that started at their own 40 yard line or better. The results were 1 touchdown, 1 field goal, 4 punts, and 2 ended the game.
- The Jaguars are a converting a league-worst 29% of their third down attempts.
The point I’m trying to make is even with Chad Henne, who is playing significantly better than Blaine Gabbert, the Jacksonville offense has a lot of trouble staying on the field, let alone scoring. The interior offensive line is a mess, the quarterback play is erratic at best, and Maurice Jones-Drew just started showing signs of life (he’s still only averaging 3.2 yards per attempt). The Jaguars have won their two games courtesy of the defense playing well, causing turnovers, and taking advantage of terrible quarterback play. Of their remaining opponents, the Jaguars face one quarterback they beat outright (Case Keenum) and a quarterback who had no trouble moving the ball on them (Ryan Fitzpatrick). The Bills quarterback situation is a mess, but they’re still averaging 21.5 points per game. The Colts have struggled recently, but they still have Andrew Luck. I think AT BEST, the Jaguars win two more games. They have a decent shot against the Texans and Bills at home, and the Browns game this week is a toss-up.
It’s tough not to think about how the rest of the season affects the Jaguars draft slot, but for now it’s better to forget about it and enjoy the progress the young players are making. Hopefully it will all work out and David Caldwell will pick the right player wherever they are slotted.
- Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89