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by Cole Pepper
September 22, 2013
To nobody’s surprise, the Jaguars, possibly the worst team in the NFL, lost on the road in Seattle against the Seahawks, possibly the best team in the NFL. Here are my takeaways from the 45-17 loss.
Offensive Line play continues to struggle - Last week, it was Luke Joeckel, this week, the interior three (guards Will Rackley and Uche Nwaneri and center Brad Meeter) were the most guilty culprits. Seattle’s front four recorded three sacks of Chad Henne and especially in the first half, the Jaguars were losing badly in the trenches. No Jaguars runner averaged better than 2.5 yards per carry. The longest run was an eight yarder by Maurice Jones-Drew.
Quarterback Play – Chad Henne is really good against defenses that don’t want to give up anything deep. There are times that Henne looks in control (when given time). But half a dozen times a game, he’ll do something that just makes you scratch your head. Throw into double coverage or bounce one off the center’s helmet (a play that resulted in an interception). Henne is what he is going to be. Now what? If Blaine Gabbert is ready to go, I think Gus Bradley has to turn the ball back over to him next week against Indianapolis. The Jaguars must be convinced that Gabbert is the their guy by the end of the year, otherwise, its time to draft another quarterback.
Pass Rush - Jason Babin did manage a sack. Johnathan Cyprien forced Russell Wilson to fumble (Cyprien will get credit for the sack on that play), but Wilson was rarely hurried. He completed two-thirds of his passes. I won’t event get into Tavaris Jackson having a perfect quarterback rating in a quarter-plus of work. The Jaguars pass rush is anemic I don’t see much help for it in the locker room this year.
Impact of Lowery Injury – Dwight Lowery left the game in the first quarter with an apparent concussion. If Lowery can’t play against Andrew Luck and company, the Jaguars will start three rookies in the defensive backfield (with Josh Evan, the former Florida Gator expected to go at free safety). As I mentioned on our podcast (listen here), I think head coach Gus Bradley and general manager Dave Caldwell need to think of this season as a 16 week preseason. Find out as much about the players you have so once the team has a top quarterback, they can take advantage.
What’s Next? Is it going to get better? Well, if you are looking for a bright spot, consider that the Jaguars just endured the toughest road game of their schedule. They’ve also improved from 2 points in the opener to 9 to 17. So there’s that.