Are the Jacksonville Jaguars finished?
By David Johns
This can’t be what Shahid Khan had in mind when he bought the Jacksonville Jaguars last November. This can’t be what fans expected…well, maybe a few were expecting it. This is the last thing the team needed. Starting off 0-2 really isn’t what ANY team needs by week 3, but at least the Saints will be respectable and competitive. If the Jaguars continue to perform like they did last weekend, look for local interest to drop. When local interest drops, ticket sales drop. When ticket sales drop, that’s when the NFL Network experts will slightly mention Jacksonville. It will be a quick name drop in a list of small market teams that could move out to Los Angeles. It’s a train that’s never late.
Historically, only 12% of teams who have started out 0-2 made the playoffs since the modern playoff format came into play in 1990. That’s two decades and some change. Make no mistake about it, there was playoff talk in Jacksonville. No, it wasn’t mentioned nationally, but there was a hint of hope. The hope has shifted from hoping to make the playoffs to just hoping to make a first down…much like 2011 right?
So this is when it starts. The fans in Jax are sick and tired of seeing the team they saw last Sunday. It looked like a few moves (ie. Blackmon at no. 5 overall, signing Robinson in free agency) were made over the offseason that made people wonder, “what if?” Much was made about Gabbert’s development as a NFL quarterback that made people wonder, “what if we’re better?” Well ya know what? What if the team has gotten better? Yes, the Jaguars are 0-2, but they are much better than they were last season. They made a play last week in the 4th quarter that put them ahead of the Vikings that NEVER would have happened last year. Yes, they lost in overtime, but it was a tight hard fought cage match of a game. A lot of naysayers are dogging the Jaguars for their performance in week 2 and with good reason. It was a nightmare, but those games were of the norm in 2011. So you have two samples from 2012…week 1 went into overtime and week 2 was more of the same.
I have bad news Jags fans. The Jacksonville Jaguars were that bad last season. The team you’re seeing right now is improvement.
I already knew what kind of game it was going to be during the Texans’ opening drive that ended in a Shayne Graham field goal. They were sure to expose our slow linebackers with a lot of quick passes to their tight ends for moderate gains, and they did it all the way down the field. It looked very easy. Speaking of linebackers, Daryl Smith must return to action. Kyle Bosworth is not a starter. I don’t even know if he should be in the league.
Arian Foster and Ben Tate had huge games as our defensive line was shredded for 3 touchdowns on the ground. Houston didn’t even need to throw the ball on one of last season’s top 10 defenses that has most of it’s parts back in 2011 save for Daryl Smith. Think about that…Houston didn’t even need to throw the ball.
Herb Taylor was a street free agent signing filling in at guard. How many injured offensive linemen do we have now? This year’s offensive line will be the equivalent to last year’s secondary. Signing guys off the street. I wonder why so many guys go down for this team. It really makes you wonder if these football players are going through their strength and conditioning programs like they should. Or maybe the program itself is flawed and the front office needs to hire someone new to keep these players healthy and in shape. Or maybe this is just a team made of glass that will end up with 20+ players on IR again. Either way injuries are a part of the game and a team must learn how to overcome those injuries.
The offense…goodness gracious. Blaine Gabbert was 7 of 19 for 53 yards and a TD. MJD had a touchdown. The offense total only gained 117 yards. It’s a miracle we only lost by 20 points.
Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE
It’s scary when the best player on your team in a game is a punter. Congrats everyone. We have a really awesome punter! I hope it was worth the 3rd round pick.
We can hash out stats and what happened all day long. It doesn’t make a difference. It’s time to look ahead. What’s next? The Indianapolis Colts.
Reggie Wayne is looking like a weapon once more. He’s scored in two straight games now and it looks like Luck is trusting him. Donnie Avery is doing an admirable job doing exactly what Laurent Robinson was supposed to be – a complement receiver. Avery had over 100 yards on 9 catches in week 2. The Colts also have two rookie tight ends that I like in Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen who scored a touchdown. Andrew Luck made strides in one week. He bounced back from a game in which he threw 3 interceptions to doing something the Jaguars couldn’t do – beat the Vikings. If this really is how fast Luck learns within a week, imagine how good he’s going to be when the Colts come to town in November for Thursday Night Football?
Robert Mathis. Dwight Freeney. I just don’t know if Gabbert or Henne (whichever one starts) will have time to throw. Gabbert had some kind of hamstring injury that forced him out of the game. If he’s not ready, look for Henne to take the reins.
I know this team is a hard working blue collar team. I know they prepare. I know they want to win, but I think it’s high time to start wondering if these players are any good. Do they have the talent to win? Do they have the talent to even compete?
The Jaguars must reach deep within and really give their division rivals everything they have this upcoming Sunday. Do I think the Jaguars can win their week 3 match up? Yes, I do believe they can beat the Colts. Dropping 3 in a row, 2 to division rivals, won’t kill them…but it can be very difficult to come back from. This game has officially become a “must win.” No, they won’t be dead in the water by the numbers with a loss, but it can’t help the overall mentality and attitude of the team.
If they don’t look for a lot of fans to jump ship and be “all out”. When and if that happens prepare for the consequences…