It’s hard to objectively look at a game minutes or even hours after it ends, and a little bit of time, even 24 hours, can change how you view what happened. With that in mind, let’s take another look at the Jacksonville Jaguars week 1 game against the Philadelphia Eagles on “the day after.”
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The Running Game is an Issue
One thing was clear early on in Sunday’s game – the Jaguars are going to have a hard time running the ball with what they currently have along the offensive line. While it should improve with time and experience in the system, starting Jacques McClendon at center and Cameron Bradfield at right tackle will only take you so far. It’s hard to properly evaluate Toby Gerhart’s performance given his injury and the poor offensive line play, so I’m going to direct the blame away from him for now. Gerhart barely got the handoff on some plays before getting tackled. What was most perplexing about the running game however was the decision to play Jordan Todman over Denard Robinson, despite their order on the depth chart. Regardless of who is to blame, it was highly discouraging that the Jaguars couldn’t milk the clock more with the running game after acquiring a 17-point lead.
The Jaguars Need their Defensive Leaders
All three of the Philadelphia Eagles long touchdowns could partially be attributed to the Jaguars defensive leaders being off the field. J.T. Thomas was in for Paul Posluszny on the Darren Sproles touchdown, and the two long touchdown passes to Zach Ertz and Jeremy Maclin looked like blown coverages by the safeties. It’s hard not to think Johnathan Cyprien’s absence had something to do with both of those touchdown passes. The Jaguars clearly have a huge drop-off in certain areas going from first string to second string – safety and linebacker appear to be two of those positions. Cyprien is likely out in week 2 because of the concussion he suffered, so hopefully the Jaguars can recover and figure out how to keep some of these big plays from happening.
Seriously, That’s Enough of Chad Henne
I’m beating a dead horse here, but I don’t know how the coaching staff is going to justify starting Chad Henne next week. Instead of talking about Allen Hurns’ outstanding debut, we’re stuck talking about how the Jaguars blew a 17-point lead and managed to get blown out in the second half. Henne did literally nothing after the first quarter. His two touchdown drives came off turnovers on a short field, so those aren’t even that impressive in retrospect. When your team has a 17-point lead, the least you can do is convert some third downs. This was Henne’s problem last year and has been throughout his whole career, so it shouldn’t be a shock, but it’s sticks out so much more after this game because it was a slow, painful fall from grace. Every Jaguars fan felt great after the first quarter, but deep down, everyone knew Henne was going to fall back to earth. I don’t know how many more times I can watch Henne go out there and be Henne.