So 2013 was a rebuilding year. More like a blow up, then reconstruct year. There were a few highs and too damn many wanted to kill myself lows! I sat back recently and compiled a list of 10 things that made me feel good. Some long term and some in the fleet of a moment. I’ll tell you mine and if I have missed something that made you smile, please make a comment. I’d love to hear what other fans thought. These are in no particular order.
- I loved that Blaine Gabbert came back from a second injury and never regained his starting position. Gabbert was becoming a pill that Jaguar fans were being forced to swallow. A big, stupid, inaccurate pill that didn’t make us feel better. Actually it made us feel worse. I’m glad Gus Bradley & Dave Caldwell didn’t keep throwing him out there because he was a first round pick. As we have learned, there is a lot of first round picks…but not first round talent. Gabbert has never had the talent.
- I loved winning four out of five following eight straight losses. After opening the season with eight straight losses, most of which we weren’t competitive, that five game stretch really invigorated the fan base. Like playing badly for 17 holes and still having a great round because you made a 15 footer on the last hole.
- The trick play that allowed Brad Meester to catch his first and only pass in his final home game. I may have been at home watching but you could feel the electricity and the love the Jaguar faithful gave to a very deserving player who will be missed. Also don’t forget people…This was a first year coach. A first year offensive coordinator. They didn’t owe Meester, a 14 year veteran, anything. That kind of classy move will not be forgotten by any current Jaguar, or any fan for that matter.
- LaRoy Reynolds running down field and making a special teams tackle…without a helmet. Against the Colts, Reynolds was heading downfield after a kickoff & had his helmet knocked off by a block. Instead of ducking away until the play was over, Reynolds ran toward the ball carrier and made the tackle. The commentators loved it, I loved it, and I’m sure the coaching staff loved it.
- Paul Posluszny, regardless of the circumstances, being invited to the Pro Bowl. Well deserved. The fact that he is an injury replacement player doesn’t matter. I’m proud of him!
- Paul Posluszny, in an interview after finding out, gave all credit to the coaches & fellow players. This is a team leader. His salary for next year is a bargain at any price. Thank you, Paul. Your play will be a main reason if this team has a quick turnaround.
- The unexpected improvement in the play of Andre Branch. Much like the stunning improvement in play by Cecil Shorts III last year, Andre just got better as the year progressed. Even if he still isn’t starter material yet, unlike Derrick Harvey, Quentin Groves, and Austin Lane, Branch has shown signs of being what they thought they had drafted.
- The amazingly strong draft class of Dave Caldwell in his first year. Aside from 7th round CB Jeremy Harris, who was placed on IR during the preseason, every one of the other seven rookies selected played during the season. Three of those rookies (John Cyprien, Dwayne Gratz, & Ace Sanders) played significantly and made their mark. Even an undrafted free agent, Carson Tinker, won the long snapper job. We can all look forward to these players being the building blocks to the Jaguars’ resurrection.
- The capable play of multiple players as injury replacements. 1st round pick Luke Joeckel goes down with a season ending injury. Austin Pasztor, a second year undrafted free agent guard, shifts to tackle and plays very well the rest of the season. MJD misses games with various injuries, journeyman Jordan Todman shines in limited play. Undrafted free agents Abry Jones & LaRoy Reynolds also filled in when starters had to rest and recover. In the very recent past when Jaguars went down with injury, there was no depth and everyone suffered. Are we the Patriots with our depth? Absolutely not! But it was very inspiring to see guys step up.
- I don’t care how it sounds…I’m glad we lost our last three games! The five game set, in which we won four, gave this team confidence. In themselves, their teammates, their coaches, and the system. You could see a change and it gave you hope. When they swept Houston to win only their second out of the last twelve home games, it gave the city a boost. But when they lost to Buffalo the next week and were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, all I wanted to see was competitive losses. That was what they had in week 15 and 16 before they didn’t show up and got smoked by the Colts in the season finale. That loss was a step back but it also nailed the 3rd pick in the draft. A great position to be in for an impact player or to make a trade and accumulate picks. I JUST CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS OFF SEASON!!!
This list was formulated by Michael McDonald.
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