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The Jacksonville Jaguars came into Baltimore this past Sunday as huge underdogs to the Ravens, but they put up a respectable effort in a 20-12 loss. Moral victories are starting to get quite tired with this team, but it’s really all we have to work with until 2015. The Jaguars once again lost this game thanks to the offense’s inability to get the ball into the endzone. All 12 of the Jaguars points came off the foot ofJosh Scobee
, which everyone knew wasn’t going to be enough to hold a 12-10 halftime lead. The Ravens scored 10 points in the second half, andBlake Bortles
couldn’t muster his offense to any points to keep up.
With the benefit of hindsight, let’s go back and highlight a few more points from Sunday’s loss:
1. The Jaguars desperately need an edge rusher
The Jaguars have manufactured quite a bit of sacks this season, 38 to be precise, good enough for 6th in the entire league. Most of those sacks have come off of interior pressure driven primarily by Sen’Derrick Marks and Ryan Davis, both of whom have played at a Pro Bowl level this season. Davis unfortunately left the game with a hip pointer, and the Jacksonville pass rush might as well have walked off the field with him. Chris Clemons has had his moments this season, but he’s rendered completely ineffective against even mildly competent tackles. Sen’Derrick Marks can only do so much, and the other 2 guys on the defensive line aren’t really there to rush the passer. The Jaguars have plenty of issues, but finding an elite pass rusher on the edge is their highest priority this offseason.
2. Cecil Shorts may not have a place on this team next year
I have been a proponent of re-signing veteran receiver Cecil Shorts this offseason, and I still am. He has had 2 very rough games in a row, and he really hasn’t set himself up for a big contract next year, which could work in the Jaguars favor. Still, it’s hard to see where he fits in with this team next year if he does come back. The Jaguars clearly like what they have in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, and they are still trying to figure out how best to use Marqise Lee. The Jaguars could potentially sign a different veteran wide receiver in free agency, maybe a guy who fits better in the slot role. Shorts is supposed to be a the dependable veteran who the rookie quarterback can count on, but his drop on Sunday against the Ravens came at a crucial time and killed a drive that looked like it might end in a touchdown. Shorts is likely going to have to take a very team-friendly contract to come back in 2015.
3. Blake Bortles is getting better
He’s had better box scores this year, but Blake Bortles had his best day of the year on Sunday on second watch. He had more “wow” throws than he had in any other game, and he was hampered by the playcalling more than I can remember at any point this year. The Jaguars are calling way too many wide receiver screens and not challenging Bortles with actual route progressions enough. In probably the most critical 3rd down of the game, Jedd Fisch called an inside run with Jordan Todman, one play after Brandon Linder left the field with an injury. Blake Bortles is supposed to be the guy who takes the snap on a big 3rd down like that and finds a way to get past the first down marker. Fisch didn’t even give Bortles a chance, and it’s starting to get frustrating to see Blake handcuffed by what appears to be protective playcalling. All in all though, Bortles progressed and that’s what really matters.