Three Jaguars to Watch Against the Dallas Cowboys
By David Levin
If the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to earn their fourth win of the season against the Dallas Cowboys and gain some momentum heading home to face the Houston Texans, these three players must play better this weekend.
It’s no secret Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone has a tough task this week. Fresh off a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and question remaining about the offense and lack of productivity, there has been a feeling in this city this franchise is in crisis mode.
Injuries, lack of consistency on the offensive side of the ball and an up and down season so far by quarterback Blake Bortles has created a bit of panic amongst the masses here in town. Marrone had a simple message when asked by the media on Wednesday about how he prepares this team for this upcoming matchup.
"“We just try to regroup and go. We’re still developing as a team the same way we were last year,” he said."
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It might not be what the fans want to here, but it’s the gospel down at TIAA Bank Field.
"“We’re still trying to make sure we can come back and get a good plan together, have a good week of practice,” he added."
Since Marrone became this team’s coach, replacing Gus Bradley in Week 16 of the 2016 season, Jacksonville is 8-1 following a loss. Let’s hope that is a sign of things to come, not a statistic that is wasted as the Jaguars face a Dallas team that has had its own offensive issues this season.
If the Jaguars are going to win on Sunday, these players must improve their performance against the Cowboys. And if you are asking, I took out the obvious need for better play under center.
Jermey Parnell returns to Dallas after spending five seasons on the Cowboys roster. He had arguably the worst game of his career last week against the Chiefs. Parnell can play better and should this week.
The problem isn’t just Parnell as the entire Jaguars offensive line must do a better job of blocking up front. The Dallas pass rush is no slouch.
The offensive line gave up five quarterback sacks last week and Bortles was hurried 11 times, which led to four interceptions. It was supposed to be a strength of this team, now it may be the organization’s biggest weakness.
It should start with Parnell, but all five starters, including left tackle Josh Walker, is in need of a huge game.
I say this because Jaguars fans do not know what they are going to see from the free agent signee. At 31, how much is left in the tank for Jamaal Charles even if the wheels are fresh and he has not played since last season?
Marrone already stated T.J. Yeldon will get the majority of the carries on Sunday. Leonard Fournette is already ruled out. If Charles gets 10 touches and catches five passes out of the backfield, it helps to open up the passing game.
There is no word as to when Fournette will return. He has played a total of two halves of football this season and has been MIA with an injury that has remained a mystery here in North Florida.
On a fast field, could we see some of the breakaway speed Charles was known for in his prime? Could his presence make the Jaguars running game elite again?
Marcell Dareus and the Jaguars interior defensive line must stop Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys have become a one-dimensional offense. Stop the running game and chances are you win this game.
Elliott has 480 yards rushing and averages 5.1 yards a carry. The Jaguars have played the run better this season. Dareus is one of the reasons. He and Malik Jackson have been impressive so far in 2018.
If Dareus and company stop Elliott, it forces Dak Prescott to throw. There aren’t any wide receivers in the Dallas roster that strike fear in defensive backs, including former Jaguars wideout Allen Hurns.