By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
Sen’Derrick Marks did it again.
On a night where the defensive tackle and MVP of the Jaguars defense needed just 1.5 sacks to cash in on a bonus (I hate the fact Phil Simms and Jim Nance kept referring to it) for the season, the man in the middle delivered.
Marks has been on the mark all season long, as has most of the Jaguars defense the second half of the season. This game, a 21-13 win over the Tennessee Titans may have taken Jacksonville out of the running for the first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, but that really wasn’t the concern for 53 men who did what they needed to do to secure a win.
After all, isn’t that what Shad Khan is paying these guys, a coaching staff and player personnel to do? We may have seen this team play its best game of the season and the only bad thing about it happens to be it comes 15 games into the season. And the fans who wanted this team to “tank” tonight and the game against Houston to better its draft position to take one of the best players on the board, all I can say is the win was important to the growth of this organization and even with three picks, Jacksonville will still get their hands on the player they need to continue the rebuilding process.
Thursday night was a true team win, but the sack at the end of the game by Marks, a former Tennessee Titans player, was icing on what has been a mega season for the standout. Maybe this will be the signature game that gets him into the Pro Bowl – a place he deserves to be but based on fan voting, is not even close to getting a sniff.
What I saw Thursday night was a solid running game, a balanced offense and better offensive line play. This might have been the best game of the season for Toy Gerhart, who ran with authority and a solid game form Jordan Todman. Marquis Lee has become the “go to” receiver in the Jaguars offense and if you looked closely, you saw Luke Joeckel play some of his best ball.
Jacksonville, the team and the city needed this game. They both needed the win and they also needed to show up for a nationally televised game. The fact two 2-12 teams were playing on a Thursday night left some in the national media, but Blake Bortles played mistake free football, there were four sacks in the game by the defense and the team showed it could come back from a halftime deficit.
All those things ad up. Yes, we believe in victory. We got one more and look better than we have in a long time. Hopefully that is a springboard to more success and a potential win on the road at Houston.
Now, it is the Jaguars responsibility to take the win and build on it. Falling flat next week only means the team really is as good as its record says it is.
That’s pretty bad, despite how good Marks and the defense has been. Here’s hoping the end of the season means more than where the team drafts in 2015.
By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
The belief among many Jaguars fans is that offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch should be fired for his play calling and the lack of offense the team has produced this season.
While I do believe someone must fall on the sword for the team’s impotent offensive game plan and the lack of scoring this season, I cannot throw Fisch under the bus by himself and say all of the Jaguars’ woes fall completely on the former University of Miami offensive coordinator, especially when it comes to the development of Blake Bortles. While youth should never be an excuse for any team, it is the main reason Jacksonville is in the predicament it is in right now.
When general manager Dave Caldwell said the team would be “going young,” he really meant it. He and head coach Gus Bradley also knew it would take two, three, maybe even four seasons to correct the problems within the organization. This was never a quick fix. The issues with Jacksonville started at the top with ownership, which changed hands and pink slips were handed out. The culture of the organization was stale and now, under the tutelage of Caldwell, et al, it is changing. This wasn’t just about roster moves. It was about team moves, some of which have not been made yet. But to ask Fisch to be the scapegoat for everything wrong with this season is not fair to Fisch or the Jaguars, who must all look in the mirror to recognize the problems that exist.
And in this case, changing the offensive coordinator may harm our franchise quarterback Blake Bortles more than help him. Continuity and repetition is a quarterback’s best friend. Familiarity with an offense and staff is also the key to success. Changing the old guard year after year may work for veterans like Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers, but for a soon-to-be second year starter, consistency is his best friend.
Just ask Blaine Gabbert.
When Gabbert was drafted by Gene Smith in 2011, Jack Del Rio was coach and Dirk Koetter was offensive coordinator. When Del Rio was fired and Mike Mularkey came in, Bob Bratkowski was named offensive coordinator. After Mularkey, there was Bradley and Fisch. Add to the fact Gabbert played in a different system at Missouri, and that is four different offensive systems in four years to learn. That my friends is a disaster for success. While Gabbert wasn’t a fit here in Jacksonville, conversion and continual upheaval could have played a role in the lack of success.
Do the Jaguars want to move offensive staff members around like interchangeable parts year after year while trying to mold a franchise talent like Bortles? How about this theory – if Gus Bradley is going to get another season to make it work here, then Fisch should as well, as long as some changes in the game plan and playbook are made.
This is a team where the coach, the general manager and the quarterback are linked together. Add the offensive coordinator to the group as well. If one fails, they all fail. Bortles will get more time to develop in his second season. Bradley and Caldwell figure to get at least one more year to right the ship. Maybe Fisch deserves the same chance. If for nothing else, but to keep Bortles and the Jaguars from going down a road this city knows all too well.
The Jacksonville Jaguars today signed rookie quarterback Stephen Morris and safetyMatt Daniels to the 53-man roster from the practice squad and placed rookie linebacker Khairi Fortt on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, the club announced.
Morris, 6-2, 218, has spent the entire season on the club’s practice squad after he was signed as a rookie free agent. He was a four-year letterman at Miami where he started the final 25 games of his career. He threw for 7,896 passing yards in his career and was the second quarterback in school history with multiple 3,000-yard passing seasons.
Daniels, 6-0, 212, was signed to the Jaguars practice squad on Oct. 27, 2014 where he has remained the last six weeks. Daniels played in six games for the St. Louis Rams over the past two seasons after entering the NFL as a rookie free agent in 2012. He saw action in four games as a rookie with the Rams before suffering a torn ACL and ending the season on injured reserve. He played in the first two games of the 2012 season before he was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury. He began the 2014 season on the Rams practice squad before he was waived on Sept. 3.
Morris will wear jersey number #6 and Daniels will wear #42.
The Jacksonville Jaguars signed sixth-year defensive tackle Roy Miller to a four-year contract extension, the club announced today. Miller joined the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in 2013 and has played in 28 games for the Jaguars over the past two seasons.
Miller has played in 90 career games with 62 starts after he was selected in the third round of the 2009 draft by Tampa Bay. He has started all 14 games in 2014 and registered 31 tackles (21 solo), four tackles for loss, one sack, two quarterback hits and one pass defensed. He was honored with the 2014 Ed Block Courage Award voted on by his teammates while he is one of 32 finalists for the NFL’s Salute to Service Award and the inaugural NFL Sportsmanship Award.
“This was an easy decision,” Miller said. “I am excited that I get to be a part of this organization and hopefully finish my career here. I feel strongly about what we are building here on and off the field and I want to finish what we started. I had the opportunity last year to sit down with Gus Bradley (head coach) and Todd Wash (defensive line coach) before I signed here and they sold me on what they want to do here and it’s headed in that direction. Shad Khan and David Caldwell have been unbelievable from a leadership standpoint and keeping things moving in the right direction. The entire organization works as one and does a lot to benefit us as players. The defensive scheme fits me as a player and we have a mix of veterans and young players on defense that are going to continue to grow. Right now our entire focus is finishing off the season the right way.”
“We are excited to get Roy under contract for the next four years,” Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said. “This was a deal that both sides wanted to get done. We want to take care of our own players who are productive on the field and fit into the culture we have established here. Roy is a hard-nosed, physical player who plays a major role on our front line of defense.”
“I give a lot of credit to Shad Khan and David Caldwell for allowing this to happen,” Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said. “It’s important to keep our key people like Roy Miller under contract as we move forward. You can’t measure Roy’s contribution by statistics. He has been unbelievable from day one in terms of competing on and off the field and providing leadership to our younger players. He is an important part of our culture here and a great example for our players. We are really excited to get this deal done.”
The Jacksonville Jaguars today placed running back Denard Robinson on injured reserve, the club announced. Robinson suffered a foot sprain on Dec. 7 vs. Houston and was inactive last Sunday against Baltimore.
Robinson posted career-high numbers in 2014 with 135 rushes for a team-high 582 yards and four touchdowns. He added 23 receptions for 124 yards. Robinson registered back-to-back 100-yard rushing games with 127 yards against Cleveland and 108 yards against Miami.
The Jaguars have lost six starters to season-ending injuries: Robinson, LB Paul Posluszny (pectoral muscle), CB Alan Ball (biceps), CB Will Blackmon (finger), OT Austin Pasztor (hamstring) and rookie WR Allen Robinson (foot).