Lost in the excitement of the Jaguars firing lame duck general manager Dave Caldwell on Sunday is the fact that the Jaguars actually played a football game. And a damn entertaining one at that. While winning is certainly not in the franchise's best interest down the stretch (see draft capital), keeping games relatively close and developing young talent is essential. That's exactly what the Jaguars did in their 27-25 loss to the Browns on Sunday. Despite Dave Caldwell getting the ax, Jaguars' owner Shad Khan informed head coach Doug Marrone that he and his staff would be safe until the end of the season.
Mike Glennon performed at a fairly high level in his first start since 2017. He failed to complete 60% of his passes, missing several open receivers, but overall he did more than enough to keep the Jaguars competitive. Glennon made some nice throws down the field and completed 20 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Of course, he did this against a Browns' defense that was missing their two best players, defensive end Myles Garrett and cornerback Denzel Ward. They also lost safety Ronnie Harrison, who's enjoying his best year as a pro, on the opening drive. Still, Glennon's performance will raise the question as to who should start against the Vikings in week 13. Will it be Glennon? Or will Gardner Minshew, who is now 100% healthy, return to the starting lineup? Doug Marrone should have more answers to this question early in the week.
James Robinson — Unstoppable?
It's time to stop talking about James Robinson as a remarkable Cinderella story and start looking at him as a real workhorse running back. You know, the kind that teams search for year in and year out. Throughout the contest, Robinson dominated the Browns, racking up 128 yards and a touchdown on the ground with an average of 5.8 yards per carry. He also hauled in five of six targets for 31 yards. Robinson is third in the NFL in rushing yards, fourth in scrimmage yards, and has found the endzone eight times. He should be a leading candidate for offensive rookie of the year.
Young Receivers Show Out
James Robinson wasn't the only young buck to ball out on offense. With DJ Chark and Chris Conley out, Collin Johnson and Laviska Shenault stole the show. Johnson was a big-play threat throughout the game, catching four passes for 96 yards and a score. Shenault caught three passes for only 31 yards, but each went for a first down. In his return to action from a hamstring injury, Shenault showed off his strong hands, agility, and toughness as he proved difficult for Browns' defenders to tackle. These two young receivers should see even more work moving forward.
The Jaguars were already without CJ Henderson, Josh Allen, Josh Jones, DJ Hayden, Daniel Thomas, Chris Claybrooks, and Sidney Jones heading into Sunday's contest. During the game, two more defensive players went down with injuries. Rookie defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton, who was playing at a high level over the last month, suffered a knee injury and had to be carted off the field. The Jags also lost defensive back Brandon Rusnak. With five games left on the schedule, the Jaguars will struggle to remain competitive on the defensive side of the ball.
The Jaguars held serve in the race for the number one overall pick. The Jets, who currently hold the top selection, remain winless after losing to the Dolphins on Sunday. The Jaguars are the only one-win team in football and presently control the number two overall pick. To lose a spot inside the top two picks of the 2021 draft, the Jaguars would need to win two of the next five games AND have the Cowboys, Chargers, and Bengals not win another game. With the injuries on the defensive side of the ball, winning two games seems unlikely at best. Their remaining opponents are the Vikings, Titans, Ravens, Bears, and Colts.
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