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When Will Jaguars Have Answers to Problems?

Oct 05, 2015 -- 1:37pm

By: Amanda Borges (@Amanda1010XL)

Is the word “disappointed” enough to describe how the Jaguars are feeling right now? That was the word coach Gus Bradley used to describe how he felt after last week’s loss to the Patriots, and that’s the same word he used after the Colts loss. It’s week five in the NFL and already, fans are rolling their eyes and turning their heads.

The theme of Bradley’s emotions on the day after a game that could’ve been won, I think the proper word is frustration. He’s frustrated with his offense, frustrated with the lack of communication and the penalties. But, to stay true to his form, Bradley is staying positive.

Bradley complimented the defense and reaffirmed his confidence in rookie kicker Jason Myers, who missed too many field goals. Bradley called those misses “waves,” saying that they knew there would be misses. That’s part of the game.

It’s hard to pinpoint what’s wrong. When asked about what’s missing, Bradley says he doesn’t know either. He said he sees similarities between this year’s team and last year’s team in that they’re making similar mistakes, but they’re also progressing.

Bradley says this team is a work in progress. It hasn’t reached the end goal just yet.

So, you’re probably asking when that will happen.

The truth is, we don’t have the answers.

Tags: Jaguars

Jaguars Blow Golden Opportunity

Oct 05, 2015 -- 8:55am

By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)

This one was given away. A 16-13 loss in Indianapolis by our Jacksonville Jaguars that by all right should have been a win in Indianapolis, an end to a 10-game losing streak on the road and a 2-2 record on the season with momentum going to Tampa Bay next week.

This game wasn’t won by the Colts as much as it was handed to them by the Jaguars, a team that looked much better on the field this week after suffering so mightily last week against the New England Patriots.

Blake Bortles looked better in his performance, throwing for 298 yards and no interceptions. TJ Yeldon showed he could be the bellcow runner this team needs in rushing for 105 yards. Allen Hurns proved he can be a valuable receiver and a go-to type player – hauling in 11 catches for 116 yards.

All that was missing was a “W” in the victory column. And unlike some fans who will say this was a better performance, a great showing except for the end and the two missed field goals by Jason Myers, which would have ended this discussion, I do not believe in the moral victory.

This is going to be a season of peaks and valleys that are going to drive many of us insane. You could not have asked for a better scenario than the one Bortles and his teammates were given to end a football game. Opportunities like that are rare in the NFL, especially for a young team. Bortles matured again on Sunday. While his second half performance wasn’t the stellar showing of the first two quarters, he proved he is going to develop into a solid passer in this league. Yeldon showed he will be the answer to the running game – a component that was solid if not spectacular on Sunday.

And let’s not forget about the fact the offensive line looked much better this week as Bortles as only sacked once by the Colts defense.

We talked for days how this was a game this team could win, and should win, especially since Andrew Luck was on the sideline. But the reality is a 40-year-old back- up quarterback and a 42-yearold kicker beat this team, proving experience wins out in the NFL.

Head Coach Gus Bradley’s team will take this loss and learn from it, as he will say over and over again this week. Players will say the right things, give the important sound bites and prepare for the Buccaneers starting Wednesday. But off camera and away from all the media attention, I wonder how this coaching staff and the team will deal with a game that got away from them? Can they summon motivation from it, use it to play harder next week in a game they again should win without issue?

Games like this test character, test fortitude and will either make a team or break a team.

Hopefully this game, although one the Jaguars gave away, becomes a constant reminder of what could have been and should have been. Not one that hasn’t left its mark on the definition of what this team has become or will be the remainder of the season.

Why Aren't Jags Making Moves

Oct 01, 2015 -- 9:08am

By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)

Gus Bradley told the media right before the season he and David Caldwell had finally put together the roster they both thought would be a difference-maker here in Jacksonville.

While there have been injuries that have set the Jaguars back already this season, it appears the team is willing to stand pat and see what happens once Sen’Derrick Marks, Julius Thomas and other key starters return to the lineup. Whether that is the right thing to do or not, meaning the team should go out and sign free agents or make trades is not my call to make or the fans’ decision to make. But ask fans how they feel about there being free agent players on the street who could come in and possibly help the team, and be prepared to about it for a few hours.

The Jaguars aren’t really in a position to say they are set with the roster given starters are missing key playing time and there isn’t enough depth, or so it seems. When the Chicago Bears seemed desperate to unload Jaren Allen to the Panthers and Jon Bostic to the Patriots, everyone I talked to asked the same thing – “Why aren’t Gus and Dave making those same moves?”

It’s also a question I have asked myself a couple of times.

I have no doubt that the brain trust of this team is working to try to make the roster as strong as it can be. We as fans are not privy to all the inner workings of the team, and neither is the media to some extent. Who knows what phone calls have been placed? Who knows what deals have been offered? Who knows which players have turned down the opportunity to come here and play football?

Winning, of course, has a lot to do with that. Given a chance to play for New England and have a chance at a Super Bowl ring or come here and hope to make a good run toward relevance, players are going to reach for the brass ring. It’s nothing personal – it’s called winning, and its called football.

It’s also possible the Jaguars nor most of the other 31 NFL teams will make a significant move to bolster their rosters. Sometimes playing the hand you are dealt or the one you handpick is best for all concerned. Having money and cap space are great reasons to spend, but if Gus and Dave have a plan they intend to stick to, there is a pretty good chance they will sit at the table with a great poker face.

If I were in the position both are in, I’m not sure I would do it differently either. That’s why I write about things like this while there are others who execute those kinds of decisions.

Ultimately, the Jaguars will find success or fail based on the hand they are playing. In the end, it may have a direct impact on the future of this franchise. And for all of us who question the chess moves they have made, let’s remember that’s why they get paid to do what they do. Some decisions have been lauded over, some have been questioned. And it’s now time to see if all the moves they made in the last three seasons finally pay off.

Then we will really see how well the decisions that have been made really work.

Jaguars Start Preparation for First Divisional Opponent

Sep 30, 2015 -- 3:00pm

By: Amanda Borges (@Amanda1010XL)

The Jaguars know this next game is a huge test. They’re ready for it, though.

Talking to players in the locker room, the common word being used when talking about the Patriots loss was “embarrassing.” The players are so over that game, it’s not even funny.

They’re more than ready to take on a divisional opponent in a Colts team that isn’t as solid as they’ve been in years past. On a conference call today, Colts coach Chuck Pagano called this week’s game a “challenge” for the team and he complimented the Jaguars offense, naming a few receivers.

Andrew Luck also spoke to us, saying that his shoulder doesn’t feel as great as it could, but he expects to play Sunday.

For the Jaguars, injuries are all over the place. There was a report saying that tight end Julius Thomas could make his first regular season game appearance against the Colts, but after talking to him today, it doesn’t seem that way. He hasn’t yet been told what his game status is, saying that once he gets that call, he’ll be more than ready to start running around.

Left tackle Luke Joeckel was out on the practice field today, which is good news for the offensive line. As for who was not practicing? It looks like Safety Sergio Brown, WR Marqise Lee, RB Denard Robinson, and CB Davon House. (Will get confirmation on that when Bradley talks after practice)

Tags: Jaguars

Jags Can Erase New England Misery Sunday

Sep 30, 2015 -- 7:46am

By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)

Just when the Jacksonville Jaguars need to prove they are not the on again, off again team they appear to be, the Indianapolis Colts host the team in what is the first division game of the year. And if that isn’t enough, playing the Houston Texans next week at EverBank Field is just what the doctor ordered for Jacksonville to shake off the embarrassment of last week’s loss to the New England Patriots and face their division rivals.
In case everyone has forgotten, winning division games has a lot more merit than a win against New England. It might not look as sexy as a victory over the Super Bowl champions but it holds more meaning in the long run when it comes down to deciding a playoff team or division title.
And oh, how it would be if the Jaguars can make things all better by beating their biggest rival within the division and then taking down JJ Watt and the boys from Texas.
It would appear the AFC South is very average this season – with the Colts showing they might not be the juggernaut everyone thinks they are supposed to be and both Houston and Tennessee looking mediocre at best. That’s a good thing for these Jaguars. No one is head and shoulders the best.
By the same token, the Colts and Texans have to look at their contests with Jacksonville and think the same thing – this is a winnable game. This week’s game and next are more about a battle of wills. Which team will come though and seize the opportunity. At 2-2 with Houston and Tampa Bay next in line, the Jaguars schedule becomes less a series of potholes and more a case of staying the course.
At 4-2, heading into the London clash with Buffalo, Jacksonville would have already exceeded expectations of many analysts and fans. And could a sign the second half of the season will be one of progress and surprise.
I know I am jumping ahead of myself a bit, but blogs like these are opportunities to make such bold statements. And what’s wrong with putting a little Windex on a streaky window we may not see clearly through? Playing the best quarterback in the AFC South with a real chance to win on Sunday gives us hope – something we all need after Sunday. Could we be the fly in the ointment for Andrew Luck and Company? Could the Jaguars hammer another nail in Chuck Pagano’s coaching coffin? I’m not one who usually hopes for those kinds of events.
But for this one moment, I want the Colts to be the hunted. I’m tired of Jacksonville being looked at as the “easy” win. I want last week to sting to the point the Jaguars come, put the foot on the accelerator and step on the jugular all in one move.
OK, enough with the wrestling image, but you see my point. This is a game where style points might matter. A win is more important than anything, but if Jacksonville can win while spanking a division rival, more power to them.
This is the Magic 8-Ball game for the Jaguars. The answer to the question we all ask has to be “It is definitely so,” not “Outlook appears good.”
The Jaguars need some confidence heading into a three game stretch of games they must win. This is the start. Take away all the clichés and references to childhood games. Winning division games is paramount to a winning season or even progress. And everything starts this week. It has to start by not only winning on Sunday against the Colts, it has to start by making a statement against our rivals.
Anything else, and we are right back where we started last Monday.
And we all know how that turned out.
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