Fact or Fiction – The Black Hole


With the current state of the Jacksonville Jaguars, it seems fitting that the team has to travel to Oakland’s “Black Hole” to try and climb out of their own internal collapse. The bye week has given us ample time to review the team’s many deficiencies and how to mend them.
With Gabbert struggling, Mularkey has noted that Blaine should run more when the opportunity presents itself. Mularkey has also mentioned that Blaine needs to let routes develop and be more patient in the pocket (a great breakdown here at Jaguars.com by QB coach Greg Olson). Blaine hasn’t received much help from his offensive line or Justin Blackmon, but the offense should improve as the season goes on.

With Daryl Smith (hopefully) returning to the lineup*** this week, the Jaguar’s defense looks like it should be back to full strength. Unfortunately, Dwight Lowery’s injury is going to force the oft maligned Chris Prosinski into the lineup.

Yup. That’s Jaguars. Phil Sears-US PRESSWIRE

Yup. That’s Jaguars.

With both good news and bad news coming out of the bye week, the Jaguars have to buckle up and take their game out west. What will happen? Let’s take a few educated guesses.

The Jaguars will force multiple turnovers against the Raiders: FACT
While Carson Palmer has had a decent season thus far, the Jaguars have reasons to believe they can take advantage of the veteran quarterback. With his former offensive coordinator, Bob Bratkowski, providing insight into Palmer’s tendencies, the Jags’ defense should be able to make some plays. Derek Cox has been playing solid football since his return, and Daryl Smith’s presence should help shore up the middle of the field. If the Jags can get any pressure on Palmer, they should have some opportunities to turnover the ball.

September 23, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden (20) rushes for a sixty four yard touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE

The Jaguars defense won’t give up a play of 40+ yards: FICTION
The Jaguar’s defense should be able to make some plays and force some turnovers, but they are also likely to give up a couple big chunks. If the Raiders’ offense has one facet you must account for it’s their speed. Denarius Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Darren McFadden are all capable of making one move and taking it all the way. The Jags’ defense has given up some long plays, specifically when Chris Prosinski was in the lineup. Welp.

Cecil Shorts III will have a 20+yard touchdown: FACT
Cecil Shorts III is deservedly getting a shot to cement himself as a starter at the wide receiver position. Of the Jaguars’ few big plays this season, Shorts has been the catalyst. The Raiders’ pass rush is just as anemic as the Jaguars’, which means Gabbert should have ample time to let routes develop and take a few shots down the field. Expect at least a few receptions for Shorts.

Blaine Gabbert will throw for 200+ yards: FACT
Hopefully the time will come when Gabbert throwing for more than 200 yards won’t be a reason to celebrate. The team needs to see a whole game where Gabbert looks in control and capable of leading an NFL offense. With a bye week to rest and prepare, an offensive line that’s finally healthy, and a two young receivers ready to make plays around him, the onus is going to start falling more and more on Gabbert to get this offense moving in the right direction.

This game could go either way. If the Jaguar’s get an early score, it should at least be a competitive game. If the Jaguars get into an early hole and Gabbert makes a mistake or two, it could be a long day. With a bye week to recoup, I’ve regained some optimism and my delusion, so why not?

Jaguars 27 – Raiders 20

– Daniel Lago

*** Daryl Smith was ruled out for the game on Sunday. Oh well.