By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
The best thing about Sunday afternoon was being able to watch the other teams in the AFC South battle after the Jaguars had already won on Thursday. Knowing our team could not lose a game over the weekend and the pressure was on for Indianapolis and Houston to hold serves was a comforting feeling, and must have been a sigh of relief of sorts for coach Gus Bradley.
Unfortunately, the Colts and Texans did not cooperate.
Now that this team has begun to show some life in the division and could be the team to beat (gulp) with its easier schedule, it’s a good possibility the talk about firing Bradley and shaking up the coaching staff will die down a bit.
It may not happen with all of the Jaguars fan base, but it should. This is a team that can now win football games, come from behind and win football games and remain competitive in every contest. The maturity of the roster is evident. There is accountability and while the offensive line still needs work – especially at left tackle – myself, like many fans, do get the feeling this is a franchise on the cusp of something big. It may not happen this year, as I believe this is really Year Two of the progression process.
Should this team remain competitive and part of the playoff picture throughout December, regardless if the playoffs are the final destination for the team, next season should be huge and Bradley and David Caldwell should be commended for understanding the difference between running a sprint and training for a marathon.
I am just as guilty as anyone else who is a fan. I want results. I want wins. I want a competitive spirit. And most of all, I want fewer errors. It’s getting better, but it isn’t good enough, yet.
Just like playing golf, when you put a score on the board and have others chase you, the potential for success is that much greater. That’s what happened last week. Two wins in four games put everyone on notice – and could have made a few coaches in the division take notice. Nothing on the schedule with six games remaining, looks over complicated and no team is too daunting. Everyone can be had. I’m sure the other teams left in the Jaguars future are thinking the same thing. But everyone else is falling. The Jaguars are on the rise. How long has it been since we all could say that?
Following the 19-13 win over Tennessee, quarterback Blake Bortles was praised as a player on the rise, but also owned up to the fact he needed to cut down on throwing interceptions. He takes ownership of his mistakes and knows if this team is going to win, he needs to improve his game. Everyone must still make improvements if this team is going to challenge for the post season.
That includes the offensive line. I said early on Doug Marrone was the biggest offseason hire for this franchise. It’s time to see the sack totals decrease and stronger play on the left side. Actually the whole line if the team is going to move forward. That wasn’t a pun, just a fact. For everything that is good right now with this team the only thing holding it back is the one thing that should be holding the offense firmly together.
By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
This is what we all wanted to see. Another win. Two wins in a row. Three wins in four games. Whatever gets you through and believing this is a team on the rise.
For Jacksonville and its defense, it was another reason to think, “Maybe this is going to happen.” If you drink the Kool Aid, then like me, you see a team that is still growing up and is starting to look like a dark horse for (with a big gulp) the playoffs. Yes after the 19-13 win over Tennessee we can ask the question.
OK, it wasn’t my best Jim Mora impersonation, but a game that was anemic in the first half, where Jason Myers looked like the second coming of Jan Stenerud, the offense put enough points on the board to seal the win. Blake Bortles was efficient, but not spectacular. The running game looked like it could have been more aggressive, but Allen Robinson and Julius Thomas came up huge when this team needed a push.
That’s what you call a team win. And with Houston and Indianapolis still having to play football on Sunday, things just got a whole lot more interesting in the AFC South.
“Woooo!” And yes, that was my best Ric Flair impersonation.
It’s hard to believe, but right now, the Jaguars are playing the best football in the division and look to be ascending at the right time. This may not be 1996 all over again, but as we all know, stranger things have happened. And to think this was a team we all were writing off prior to the game in London and still complained about when the team took care of the Bills across the pond.
Now, we can all take a deep breath and think about the next 10 days of preparation for a San Diego team that is less than stellar and a franchise, despite Philip Rivers and his cannon arm, we can beat in our house.
Winning and momentum have a way of changing everything. Now, this is a team with a glass that is half full rather than half empty and I challenge anyone to see it any way different. The run defense is one of the best in the NFL. The pass defense showed more grit last night. Holding calls were the death of us in allowing the Titans to gain large chunks of yards, but there was pressure on Marcus Mariota. There was a hat on the running backs most of the game and except for Delanie Walker, Tennessee’s receivers were none existent.
Oh, and we beat Mike Mularkey. How can we not be excited about this win, this “streak” and this hope of three in a row after Thanksgiving?
It looks like the holiday season started early here in Jacksonville. And when it comes to this team, it looks fans have a little something more to be thankful for.
By: Amanda Borges (@Amanda1010XL)
It was an uphill battle from the beginning. Neither team could make the splash they needed to take a dramatic lead. Or any lead at all, for that matter.
Less than a week ago, we complained that the offense just couldn't find a rhythm. Well, Thursday night proved to be deja vu as Bortles and his offense couldn't get much of anything going. By "anything," I mean touchdowns. The Jaguars had three field goals on the board when they took the field in the 4th quarter. Field goals.
Picture this: Bortles throws a deep ball to Allen Robinson. Robinson has to jump higher than all three defenders around him to make the catch, which he does, bringing them into Titans' territory. You get a feeling they're on a roll and this has to be the time they score. WRONG. Bortles throws an interception. Face in palm.
When does this change? When does the offense sync and figure out how to score?
The pieces are there. Bortles is progressing. He has solid playmakers around him. But, something's in the way.
Then, a miracle in the form of Rashad Greene appeared when he returned a 63-yard punt to put the Jags within 5 yards of a touchdown. Bortles connected with Julius Thomas for their first touchdown of the game. Mind you, it was in the 4th quarter.
Somehow, someway, the Jaguars pulled it out.
By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
On a night when the football world is focused on Jacksonville and the Jaguars, it sure would be nice to see Julius Thomas finally have a breakout game.
The prized free agent signee by the Jaguars has been virtually MIA this season, partially due to injury, partially due to any number of reasons with the team’s offense. For a player who was arguably the best one out there in training camp, there hasn’t been a lot to cheer about from No. 80 this season.
Now, more than ever, his team needs him, and this – being a nationally televised game – is his chance to show why the team inked him to a long-term deal in the offseason.
The Jaguars offense has shown improvement over last season. Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns have all thrived in Greg Olson’s scheme. This for the most part has been without the benefit of the use of a tight end. It also has been without the use of a third wide receiver in short yardage situations. If there was ever a need for Thomas to make a solid contribution to this franchise, it would be now. Hurns has been playing with a sports hernia that sent him to a specialist in Philadelphia this week. Bryan Walters has been a solid third option at receiver, but he is dealing with a concussion and may or may not play Thursday night. Marqise Lee played on Sunday, but his ability to step in and give the team the production it needs isn’t known yet.
Having a huge target across the middle and in the red zone would make things a bit better against the Titans defense and give the team another scoring threat – something it might need as the offense sputtered against the Baltimore Ravens.
So much has been made on social media by the fans about Thomas and his status, whether he is out of shape, slow or isn’t ready to give this team what it needs. There have been glimmers of hope at times, and in other situations, missed targets and dropped passes have become the norm. The fact the Jaguars have done what they have offensively without the use of a tight end this season speaks volumes about the progress of Bortles and his second-year receivers. It also tells me and everyone else that if the tight end was a bigger part of the passing game, there is no telling how good this team could be.
And if Lee ever comes around and shows more of the kind of play he displayed in the final month of last season, this is a team that could be downright scary – enough for other teams in the NFL to worry about.
A lot was made in the media about whether Thomas was a product of the system in Denver, playing with Peyton Manning, or was he a serious threat in any offense. It’s time to prove the latter and not the former. The Jaguars need Thomas to produce – not just to help the offense, but to show he is not a high-priced failure in his first season with the team. To say Thursday night is huge for the team and the tight end is not too far off. Let’s see what he can do. Maybe this is the kind of showcase he needs to prove once and for all this is a team he can help, not a team that right now is wondering where he is in an offense that could be spectacular with him involved.
The Jacksonville Jaguars today made four roster moves in advance of the team’s Thursday night game against Tennessee. The club placed seventh-year defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks and rookie safety James Sample, the team’s fourth-round selection in the 2015 draft, on the reserve/injured list. With two open roster spots, the club activated rookie wide receiver Rashad Greene from the reserve/injured-designated to return list and promoted second-year safety Craig Loston to the active roster from the team’s practice squad.
Marks, who tore his ACL in the 2014 regular season finale, made his return and 2015 debut in Week 6 vs. Houston and played in four games before tearing his triceps in Week 10 at Baltimore. Marks had a successful repair of his torn triceps tendon by Head Team Physician Dr. Kevin Kaplan at the Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute.
Sample, who appeared in the first four games of the season and made starts in Week 2 vs. Miami and Week 4 at Indianapolis, has been inactive the last five games with a shoulder injury.
Rookie wide receiver Rashad Greene, the team’s fifth-round selection in the 2015 draft out of Florida State University, was originally placed on the reserve/injured-designated to return list on September 22, 2015. Greene returned to practice on November 4 and has been a full participant in every practice since. After being activated from the team’s reserve/injured-designated to return list, Greene is eligible to play in tomorrow night’s game against Tennessee.
Second-year safety Craig Loston, who was originally signed by the Jaguars as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2014, appeared in 13 games as a rookie and has been on the Jaguars practice squad for seven weeks of the 2015 regular season.