by Cole Pepper
November 10, 2013
The Jaguars did indeed improve coming off the bye week, recording their first victory of the season, 29-27 over the Tennessee Titans. It’s the Jaguars first victory since they beat the Titans last November 25th in Jacksonville, a string of 13 straight losses. It was also their first road win since beating the Colts in week three last year (September 23) in Indianapolis. Here are my takeaways from the game.
1. Still Playing Hard-The outcome of the game aside, the Jaguars continue to show that they aren’t giving up on the season or first year head coach Gus Bradley. It wasn’t just as they jumped out to a 13-0 lead, either. Marcedes Lewis, Maurice Jones-Drew, Cecil Shorts, Geno Hayes, Paul Poszluszny, Russell Allen…and there were others…all played with energy (and production). In year one of this new regime, the Jaguars want to establish the foundation of operations and answer the question “what is the Jaguars way?” Although there hasn’t been much to point to showing that the Caldwell/Bradley tandem is the right one, the way the players have responded to Bradley certainly is a major positive.
2. Proper usage of players-Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch is still learning his players, but its about time he gets to the point where he isn’t running Denard Robinson between the guards, isn’t trying to get Maurice Jones-Drew on the outside and isn’t expecting Chad Henne to carry the team.
3. Maurice Jones-Drew-Jones-Drew ran strong, although he didn’t pile up big numbers. It is clear that he still has the vision and balance of a top runner, but he doesn’t have the explosive quickness that he once did. Lots of backs have enjoyed success with those attributes. Add toughness to the mix and Jones-Drew can continue to be the Jaguars best back, but moving forward, they’ll need to find someone to be the compliment. Jordan Todman may be the best bet for that role for the next couple of months.
4. Learning to win-This certainly wasn’t a game that the Jaguars commanded, but they did int he first half. The next step will be to keep a teams at arms length in the 4th quarter. If not for a remarkable defensive play (see below), the Jaguars could certainly have lost this one.
Play of the Game (Jaguars edition)-Will Blackmon’s strip of Ryan Fitzpatrick with 2:32 remaining int he game and the Titans holding all of the momentum. Tennessee was trailing by 2 with the ball. Blackmon came on the corner blitz and, along with
Player of the Game (Jaguars edition)-Linebacker Geno Hayes was as active as he has been since joining the Jaguars.
Next for the Jaguars-Jacksonville returns home to face the Arizona Cardinals Sunday at EverBank Field.