We've been hearing since the end of the 2008 season that the re-building process takes time. Changes won't happen over night, and this team will do it the right way this time. We've heard that "this time, we're for real." I've been patient. I was pleasantly surprised when the Jaguars were playing meaningful games in December late in the 2009 season, and I was even more surprised when they were 1 game away from winning the division last season. Unfortunately, this team hasn't stepped forward offensively.
At this point, I think that the offense of last season along with the defense of this season would make a damn good team. The defense has made huge strides, and I have no doubt that they'll get better as the season progresses, but the offense has been terrible at best. In case the Jaguars are unaware of this fact, here's a news flash. You have to score points to win games. In today's NFL, you have to score touchdowns, and that's been a big problem.
I don't want to mislead anyone. I'm still patient, and I'll continue to be patient. I think the Jaguars have their quarterback of the future, and I'm a little relieved that he's now in the driver's seat. Whether the Jaguars will clean house in the coaching department at the end of the season remains to be seen, but I'm now at the point where I think it's not a bad idea. In fact, I wish they had done just that at the end of the 2008 season.
I don't know if you've looked at the upcoming schedule, but it doesn't look good for the Jaguars. The Jags play the Saints, Bengals, Steelers, Ravens, and Texans before their bye week. I see 1 win in that stretch, and that's not an exaggeration. This team has it rough, but the season isn't lost just yet.
As an optimistic fan, I now have to ask; what if? What if the Jaguars can pull off a thrilling upset win over the Saints? All of a sudden the Jaguars have a should win game against the Bengals that would get them to 3-2. Then, the Jaguars play a very winnable game against the Steelers, followed by another winnable game against the Ravens. I don't like being a crazy person, but is 5-3 really that much of a stretch? I don't think it is, but there's a lot of work to be done.
The Jaguars need to let their offense throw the ball more. I don't think it's reasonable to think that Gabbert will be lighting it up for 300 yards, 3 TDs, and 0 INTs anytime soon, but this guy was drafted to be the franchise quarterback. Let him throw it 30 times a game. If he can get to 200 yards passing with a couple of TDs, this team could win a lot of games. The Jaguars have a very good defense. If they could score 24 points per game, they wouldn't lose many of them.
The defense, while very good, needs to get some big plays. They were able to reek havoc against Mark Sanchez, and that's what they need to be able to do against the Saints this weekend. Drew Brees takes some chances. If they can capitolize on a few of them, they could pull it off. It's all about seizing big plays.
Am I being opimistic? Hell yes I am, but this season is just 3 weeks old, and I'm not ready to give up on this team just yet. You should hand on to hope too. You'd be surprised how little anger results from it.