The Jaguars have proven that they have the talent and the fortitude to compete with almost anyone — unfortunately they also have shown a tendency to find new ways to lose games. Whether this is a product of coaching, inexperience or a combination of the two is really unknown at this point. What is known is that the Jaguars have been in every game they have played this year save their loss to the Patriots. What’s also known is that despite the losing ways of the team as a whole, there are a lot of young players that are putting together winning individual performances.
The Brothers Allen had a monster day, combining for 243 yards and a TD. These two second year wide receivers are showing week in and week out that they can be relied upon to carry the load for the Jags’ aerial attack. Hurns was able to rack up 122 yards and reach the end zone in his sixth straight game, furthering his Jaguars’ record, while Robinson, who was supposed to be “stuck” on “Revis Island”, made several impressive catches on his way to 121 receiving yards. Hurns and Robinson are turning in stand out performances on a weekly basis and are on their way to having one of the most prolific receiving seasons that Jacksonville has every seen.
Blake Bortles might be the most improved player in the whole league, but he still has a long way to go. Against the Jets he threw 2 touchdowns and passed for 381 yards, which is by far his career best — he also threw two interceptions and lost a critical fumble. His mistakes are costly and must be minimized for the Jags to win games. On the bright side, he is in the top 10 in passing yards and in passing touchdowns, a far cry from where he was just one year ago. Half way through the 2015 season, Bortles is on pace to throw for 34 touchdowns and 4,386 passing yards, both of which would be Jaguars' single season records. Unfortunately for him and the Jags, he is still near the top of the league in interceptions and interceptions returned for touchdowns, and is on pace to set Jaguars' records in both of those categories as well. Bortles has clearly made vast improvements, but in several games he has made key mistakes that have made it very difficult for the Jags to achieve victory. Be excited about Bortles’ progress, but know that he is a long way from a finished product.
In order for the Jags’ offense to reach its full potential, the offensive line must play better. Bortles has been sacked 25 times on the season and has consistently been forced out of the pocket early. Against the Jets, a team that only had 11 sacks coming into their matchup with the Jags, the offensive line gave up 5 sacks and Bortles was constantly under duress. In addition to their poor pass blocking, their run blocking has left a lot to be desired. Rookie running back, T.J. Yeldon, had one scamper of 45 yards, but other than that was held to 19 yards on 13 carries. He simply had nowhere to go against the Jets— but this isn't the first time the run blocking has been subpar. The Jaguars have not run the ball the way they would like to all year and the offensive line is to blame. Granted they are playing with out their best guard in Brandon Linder, but if they do not improve through out the rest of this season, then some changes will certainly need to be made.
The defense is not getting better. The secondary consistently gives up a ton of yards to average quarterbacks and has yet to make an interception this season, while the pass rush is seemingly non existent. The run defense did its job on Sunday against the Jets, but it wasn't enough. If the Jags pass rush and secondary do not improve in the second half of the season, there will likely be many changes made going forward.
On Special teams Jason Myers was vastly improved against the Jets and will look to build on his strong performance going forward. A coaching question to ponder…why was a rookie who played quarterback in college, Nick Marshall, returning punts at the end of the game in a crucial situation, instead of the sure handed veteran, Bryan Walters?
Hopefully the Jags can manage to erase some of the issues they had this week while trying to avoid finding new ways to lose next week against a Ravens team that is 2-6, but has been in every game that they have played this year.
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