1. Blake Bortles was outplayed by Blaine Gabbert.
We all know Blake Bortles isn't the long term solution at QB for the Jaguars. But he was still expected to play better than Blaine Gabbert yesterday. Gabbert, who was a former first round pick by the Jaguars, is the Cardinals third string QB. But due to injuries Gabbert has been forced into the starting lineup in the Cardinals last two contests. Neither QB was particularly impressive on the day - both made some crucial errors and struggled with consistency, but Gabbert was able to stretch the field where Blake Bortles failed to do so. Gabbert hit 50% of his passes that were 10+ yards down the field, while Bortles missed each of his attempts of the same variety. Bortles was miserable in the fourth quarter, while Gabbert was able to lead his team on a game winning drive, completing two passes that went for first downs in the waning moments of the game. In the battle of former first round picks by the Jaguars at QB Gabbert clearly came out on top.
2. The Jaguars WRs aren't getting the job done.
Part of the reason Blake Bortles struggled so much against the Cardinals defense was the lack of quality play at WR. The Jaguars are without their two most proven wide receivers right now. Allen Robinson was lost for the season in the Jaguars first game and Allen Hurns is currently battling an ankle injury. In their stead Marqise Lee has done some nice things - he’s also done some not so nice things. Lee seems to drop at least one catchable pass every game - he leads the NFL in drops. Against the Cardinals Lee’s crucial drop came in the final minute of the game. Had Lee caught that very easy catch the Jaguars would have gotten to overtime and would have had a chance to win. Instead the clock stopped, allowing the Cardinals enough time to get in field goal range at the end of the game. On top of Lee missing that easy catch there were several other drops on the day by wide receivers. Keelan Cole continues to show his speed, but also continues to show inconsistent hands.
3. The offensive line is struggling.
After a surprisingly impressive start to the season the Jaguars offensive line has struggled in two of the past three games. Most of their struggles can be pinned on the injury bug that is currently affecting the O-Line. Cam Robinson has been playing in recent weeks after suffering an ankle injury against the Colts, but hasn’t been the same player. He had no chance when lined up one on one with the Cardinals pass rusher Chandler Jones yesterday. Jermey Parnell, who has been excellent for the Jaguars in 2017 missed this game and it played a huge factor as the Jaguars could not stop the Cardinals pass rush. The Jaguars were also with out left guard Patrick Omameh, who has been enjoying his best season as a pro. The Jaguars need their offensive line to be healthy and functioning on all cylinders in order for them to run their normal smash mouth running offense. It has not worked in two of the pas three contests and is something to monitor moving forward.
4. Doug Marrone “got greedy”.
On the crucial Marqise Lee dropped pass late in the contest, there was a mistake made by Doug Marrone before the play even started. With poor field position and very little time left in regulation the Jaguars were playing for overtime. Instead of running the ball on second down Marrone elected to pass the ball. And while the play should have succeeded, it did not. Thus stopping the clock and allowing the Cardinals enough time to eventually win the game with a 57 yard field goal. After the game Doug Marrone admitted he "got greedy" on that play call.
5. The defense didn't prepare for Blaine Gabbert the way they should have.
While the offense didn't hold up their end of the bargain, the defense wasn't as good as they need to be either. After the game Tashaun Gipson had this to say about the Jaguars preparation for Blaine Gabbert heading into their matchup:
"I think that just realistically we just didn't give him enough credit. I'll be the first one to admit that I don't think nobody thought that he would come out and play the way he played. Again, that's an NFL starting quarterback, first round pick. For us to come out here and not give the man the credit he was due, he made some pinpoint throws throughout the course of the game and he made plays with his feet, too.”
The Jaguars defense must rebound next week against the Colts, who the Jags already handled with ease in week seven.
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