The Jaguars will be playing their 15th game of the season at home on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. The Jags won their earlier matchup in Tennessee for their first win of the season. The stakes are much lower now as the Jags have won a few more times and the Titans are eliminated from playoff consideration. Not a lot of people are going to care much about the game. I will though and here are five things I will be hoping to see.
1) I would like to see Jordan Todman continue to prove he has the ability to handle a starting running back position in the NFL. Even if MJD decides to test out his injured hamstring, Todman would get more of the carries. Continued good performances by Todman will go long towards resolving next years RB decisions. If Todman plays out the rest of the year proving he is capable of handling the load, the Jags will have negotiation leverage with MJD to stay or the ability to let MJD go and focus on a RB in the draft to compliment Todman. Basically its a win-win situation.
2) It goes without saying that I have no interest in seeing Chris Johnson running all over the field. What I am more keen to see is Ryan Fitzpatrick on his butt multiple times. The defense has been steadily improving, but opposing QB’s see us on the schedule and start licking their lips. This has to stop. The Jags defensive secondary is young and aggressive. We don’t want to see them become passive and weary of trying to make the big play. That can only happen with a fierce pass rush.
3) Geno Hayes, who I feel has earned the starting weak side LB position in 2014, has been hurt all week and didn’t practice Friday. That means we will probably get a steady diet of youngsters John Lotulelei and J.T. Thomas. Thomas is a third year guy and will possibly be playing for an invitation back next year. Lotulelei, whom we claimed off waivers from the Seahawks, is someone I’m very interested in. A cousin of Carolina’s first round pick DT Star Lotulelei, John has had some limited playing time (10 combined tackles). What stat I like is two forced fumbles. That’s aggressive and the Jags need more of that.
4) I want to see Chad Henne play a mistake free game. Henne played a sloppy game last week and we lost. The Jags need a veteran QB to come in next year and mentor whatever QB we hopefully draft. It sure as hell won’t be Blaine Gabbert. Henne has played well enough this year to earn a backup role with any team in the NFL, but not as a starter. There is no reason for Henne to leave the Jags. He knows the offense. He’s respected by teammates. Most important, knowing that a young guy will be in here next year, there is still a chance for him to compete for the starters job next year. It’s up to him over the next weeks to prove worthy of an invite.
5) I want everything to be done to get Denard Robinson a touchdown this week. The unfortunate fumble on the goal line last week can play havoc with a player’s confidence and I would hate to see Denard’s spirit broken. I still feel Robinson has a value to this team if they can figure out his role. They have done a pretty good job of finding plays for Ace Sanders to showcase his playmaking abilities. Let’s do the same for Denard.
We are to a point now where victories are not as important as good disciplined play, on both sides of the ball. We may not get a win on Sunday, but a lot can be accomplished towards earning wins in 2014. Now let’s establish who will be on the field to help make that happen.
Contributed by Michael McDonald
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