Oct 6, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts (84) carries the ball as St. Louis Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson (22) attempts to tackle during the first quarter at The Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports
Despite losing 34-20 against the less-than-stellar Rams on Sunday, the Jacksonville Jaguars were surprisingly watchable for a majority of the game. Justin Blackmon’s return from suspension helped spark an offense that only managed a combined 31 points in its first 4 games and the defense held its own against Sam Bradford. While the Jaguars still look like a team destined for an 0-16 record, there are a handful of positives to take away from this game.
So let’s delve right into the grades provided to us by our friends at Pro Football Focus. Here’s how week 5 played out according to PFF:
Best Overall Offensive Grades: Cecil Shorts III (+3.4), Maurice Jones-Drew (+1.8), Austin Pasztor (+1.8)
It’s refreshing and definitely encouraging to see not only Cecil Shorts, but MJD at the top of the offensive grades. Shorts managed 5 receptions on 11 (erratic) targets but thankfully had no drops. Comically enough he was credited with a missed tackle on one of Gabbert’s interceptions. Jones-Drew finally cracked 4 yards per carry (4.1) and he also caused 6 missed tackles which led to 68 yards after contact. Austin Pasztor did a great job filling in at right tackle and only gave up 1 QB hurry in 54 snaps. Good play from Pasztor is going to be critical now with an ailing offensive line.
Best Overall Defensive Grades: Russell Allen (+1.9), Josh Evans (+1.0), Sen’Derrick Marks (+0.3)
Russell Allen has quietly put together a solid year and is now the highest rated 4-3 outside linebacker (+3.5 overall on the year). He was particularly stout in coverage this week allowing only 6 yards on 3 receptions. It was nice to see Josh Evans improve from his poor outing last week. Evans only had one ball thrown his way and it was incomplete. He also had a presence in the run game with 3 tackles. Marks had a couple big plays and was terrific pass rushing (+4.4 grade) with a sack and 3 QB hits, but his grade was dragged down by poor run defense (-4.8 grade).
Most Disappointing Grades: Blaine Gabbert (-5.8), Cameron Bradfield (-5.2), Uche Nwaneri (-3.6), Jason Babin (-4.7), Paul Posluszny (-3.0), Tyson Alualu (-2.6)
Before possibly going down for the season with a hamstring injury, Blaine Gabbert was bad enough to cement himself at the bottom of the QB grades through 5 games despite only playing in 3 of them. Gabbert’s overall grade (-11.1) is tied for the worst with E.J. Manuel, but you don’t need advanced metrics to measure how bad Gabbert is/was. Gabbert averaged 9.5 yards per attempt thanks to a long touchdown to Blackmon, but he was comically bad in almost every facet. On 13 drop backs where Gabbert had no pressure, he managed to go 6/13 (46.2%) for 111 yards, a TD and an INT. Gabbert isn’t a functioning quarterback even when he has time and space in the pocket.
Enough about Gabbert, we know he’s awful. Compounding his problems were the performances of some of the offensive lineman. Will Rackley managed to avoid the bottom of the grades for a 5th straight week thanks to Bradfield and Nwaneri. The two lineman only gave up a combined 4 QB hits and hurries, but they had a combined (-6.8) run blocking grade.
Jason Babin hasn’t let up in his apparent quest to get cut. In addition to another stupid penalty, Babin provided absolutely no pass rush in 52 snaps. Posluszny had another poor showing in stopping the run – the Rams managed 143 yards and 4 missed tackles despite a lack of talent in the backfield. Alualu has just been unspectacular and seems like a replaceable piece this offseason.
- Johnathan Cyprien improved his grade from previous weeks (-2.2 overall) but he’s still the lowest graded safety overall (-14.1 overall). Watching live, he sometimes shows up late in plays where he probably should have reacted earlier. It’ll be interesting to see what level of play he’s at towards the end of the year.
- Will Blackmon has been one of the better defensive players this year but he got picked on a lot on Sunday. He was targeted 8 times and gave up two touchdowns, but he had tight coverage on almost every play. His overall grade (-0.3) seems about right, but he’s definitely a positive on the squad.
– Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89