by Cole Pepper
December 29, 2013
The Jaguars concluded the 2013 season with a 30-10 loss to the Colts in Indianapolis. After an 0-8 start to the season, the Jaguars played .500 football in the second half of the season to finish 4-12. Here are my takeaways from the season finale.
1. This game isn’t a measure of what the Jaguars will be next year. Injuries have made a rebuilding roster even thinner. Of the players who started against the Colts, here is a list of players I expect to be starters next season for the Jaguars:
Offense: TE Marcedes Lewis, LG Uche Nwaneri, QB Chad Henne (maybe), RB Maurice Jones-Drew (if re-signed), FB Will Ta’ufo’ou, RT Austen Pasztor (small chance).
Defense: DEs Tyson Alualu and Jason Babin, DT Sen’Derrick Marks, MLB Paul Posluszny, CB Alan Ball, SS Jonathan Cyprien, FS Josh Evans.
That is (at best) 13 starters returning out of 22. You would expect the Jaguars to struggle against a division winner, and they did.
2. Josh Scobee’s great season. Scobee finished the season 22 of 24 and a long field goal of 55 yards last week, the second longest field goal in Jaguars history. It’s the best kicking season in Jaguars history.
3. Meester’s final game. We covered this a lot last week when Meester played his last home game, but it is going to be a huge hole to fill. With the injury to Mike Brewster last week, its going to be interesting to see if general manager Dave Caldwell tries to sign a veteran free agent to fill that spot.
4. Young Players to Watch. This season provided opportunities for a bunch of young players to add experience. Among the players who took advantage were LB LaRoy Reynolds, DE Ryan Davis, LB JT Thomas, OT Austen Pasztor, WR Mike Brown, TE Clay Harbor, RB Jordan Todman. And then there are the draft picks, like Cyprien, Ace Sanders and, before the injury, Luke Joeckel, who established themselves as key players for the future.
5. Jaguars Identity. It’s tough to have an identity when you aren’t winning games, but when the Jaguars begin to work on their off-season moves, they’ll have a good idea about their offensive and defensive identity (not just what they want it to be). Offensively, coordinator Jedd Fisch established a creative offensive approach and an offense that wants to operate up tempo. On defense, Gus Bradley’s impact includes a pass rush theory that blitzes a bit, but more often than not, they try to get pressure with just four pass rushers. The young defensive secondary needs to improve, but there is clearly plenty of talent there.
Play of the Game (Jaguars edition)-Jones-Drew’s fumble on the Jaguars opening drive gave the Colts great field position and early momentum. It was 17-0 before the tailgating grills had cooled in the parking lot. It was Jones-Drew’s first lost fumble since 2011.
Player of the Game (Jaguars edition)-Wide Receiver Kerry Taylor set career high’s with eight catches for 75 yards and he scored the only touchdown in the game for the Jaguars, a 14 yard score with :16 left in the game. He’s an example of the ability that general manager Dave Caldwell has to find players. He was with Arizona when the season began and was picked up by Jacksonville in November. He caught 11 passes for the Jaguars in the final seven weeks of the season as he was learning the offense.