At this point, every team that the Jaguars are matched up against right now seems like a long shot for victory. We CAN however pull out a victory if we do a couple of things right today.
Blake Bortles: Right now Blake Bortles, you’re right; the fans don’t really like you. Our beaten and battered franchise has endured the process of a once-promising quarterback regressing into a turnover machine before and our hope is that you haven’t gone too far down that path. In 2016, Bortles has more turnovers than touchdowns and is 27th in the league in total QBR. Bortles showed up in a big way on Thursday night against the Titans in 2015, but is he ready this year?
Discipline: Over the past three games, the Jaguars have committed 29 penalties for 307 yards and five turnovers. The Titans however have only committed 18 for 174 yards with two turnovers. It’s very apparent to us, “fair weather fans,” (as Allen Robinson would say) that the Jaguars are consistently beating themselves with turnovers, penalties and more recently ejections to our best players. Can our coaching staff implement some form of mental discipline after a short week?
Can we defend the run? Oakland flat-out bullied our defensive line on Sunday. Unfortunately, the Jaguars are going up against a different animal altogether on today. The Titans are ranked 3rd in the league in rushing yards per game and the Jaguars lost a valuable piece in the interior of their defensive line when Roy Miller suffered his season ending Achilles tear. Demarco Murray is playing some of the best football of his career and the Jaguars have struggled this year against big-bodied offensive lines. Although the Titans are 27th in pass-yards per game, they can wear down the Jaguars with medium run gains and efficiency in the passing game. We also have to be constantly aware of Marcus Mariota and the threat he poses as a scrambling quarterback.
Can we FINALLY run the football? The Jaguars rank dead last in the league in rushing and Greg Olson doesn’t seem to mind at all. Our offensive shows absolutely no urgency in getting off the snap and creating gaps for our running backs. Our embarrassingly uncreative offensive coordinator doesn’t seem interested in any kind of run play that doesn’t take two or three seconds to develop and it’s really hurting our efficiency at the quarterback position. Teams are sitting back in zone coverage and shutting down our run game with five guys. This is the underlying problem to all of our offensive struggles and if we are going to have any hope at turning this season around, we have to figure out how to improve our running game.
Play with intensity: The team gave up in the second half of the game against the Raiders. Considering the fact that the Jaguars will have 10 days in between their matchup today and their next game against the Chiefs, this could be Gus Bradley’s last day as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars (but it won't be). There are no more excuses for this team to perform the way it has. Hell, they’ve even tried to blame the fans for their performances. It’s time to put up or shut up.
I know it’s tough to be a Jags fan right now but we’ve got to stick with our team no matter what. Go Jaguars!
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