by Cole Pepper
October 27, 2013
The Jaguars traveled to London for the first of four games over four seasons in the UK. A change of venue didn’t change their performance in a 42-10 loss to San Francisco. Here are my takeaways from the game:
They didn’t get better-Gus Bradley’s mantra is “get better today.” The Jaguars took a step backward for the second straight week. Not only were they over matched by a much better team, but they didn’t execute well, particularly in the first half, where they continue to struggle. On a number of occasions, the Jaguars defense looked lost against some unusual formations shown by the Niners. Its one thing to not know the fundamentals of the defense. This is what happens when you have a first year head coach directing a roster that was “blown up” in the off-season. It’s a bad combination short term. The big question now is whether it is the right combination for the future. Which brings me to the next point. Since we are now…
…halfway through the season…-We knew that the Jaguars would likely struggle early in the season, but aside from 2+ quarters against the Broncos, there hasn’t been much to hang your hat on in October, if you are looking for signs that the Jaguars are improving. The questions remain about whether the Jaguars will stick together as a team. It doesn’t matter how positive Gus Bradley is naturally (and he is), at some point, its going to start to ring hollow. Even though Bradley has set the “measurable” as being something other than wins (that is, improvement), you can’t expect football players who have been judged by their record since they laced up cleats, to suddenly disregard the record.
What’s to come in the second half? Clearly, the Jaguars need to show something substantial that they can build on going forward. Starting at quarterback, there isn’t anyone who thinks that the Jaguars quarterback of the future is on the roster now, but as much attention as has been paid to that position, there are so many areas where the Jaguars need to improve. As I’ve stated before, this is akin to a 16-game preseason. That doesn’t mean that winning doesn’t matter. It does, but it’s not the only thing.
It wasn’t all bad-The Jaguars offensive line protected the quarterback much better against the 49ers, not allowing a sack on 45 passing attempts by Chad Henne.
Player of the Game (Jaguars edition)-Wide receiver Mike Brown, who recorded his first career 100 yard day last week, scored the first touchdown in a Jaguars “home” game this year. Of course, most of the Jaguars season ticket holders were not in attendance at Wembley Stadium. Brown finished with 3 catches for 43 yards, including the 29 yard touchdown.
Play of the Game (Jaguars edition)-Cecil Shorts, playing with a clavicle/shoulder he injured last week, came back to the ball to catch a 3rd down pass that moved the chains on the Jaguars final drive of the first half. The Jaguars wouldn’t score on the drive, but Shorts showed grit once again, playing through the pain.