"The Jaguars had a bye this past week, so there is no game ball to give out. I will however give out a mid-season game ball, essentially a mid-season MVP award. I've seen a lot of people want to give it to kicker Josh Scobee, because he hasn't missed a field goal yet this season and he's drilled some great kicks. I think the mid-season game ball is a rather easy award however, and it goes to running backMaurice Jones-Drew."
Like it or not, a win is exactly what the Jaguars don't need, and it's exactly what the players will be trying to do. I'm not saying they shouldn't be trying to beat the Colts this weekend in Indianapolis. In fact, they should, as players, be trying to win 62-0. When you look at it long-term, however, the Jaguars may be better off losing to the Colts twice this year.
The Colts are 0-9, and they're the last team in the league without a win. They are the worst team I've ever seen in my life, and that includes the 0-16 Lions from a few years back.
The Jaguars come in with virtually no hope of making the playoffs. Their defense is much improved, but the Jaguars' offense is just painful to watch. Why would I say the Jags are better off losing?
You can criticize me for putting it on paper (err pixels in this case), but the Jaguars, as a competitive organization, would be better served losing this game and the one against the Colts in week 17. The last thing we want is for the Colts to draft Andrew Luck, and it would appear that's exactly what may happen if the Colts can't pull themselves together.
It's worth noting that Luck isn't a senior, and it's possible he won't enter the NFL draft this season, but that doesn't seem likely.
As a fan, I'll be happy to see the Jaguars win this weekend. As players, I expect (and would in fact be pissed if they don't) them to play their hearts out to get a win in this very disappointing season. All that aside, I won't lose much sleep if the Jaguars drop this game. After all, if the Colts get Luck, it seems likely that I'll lose much more sleep down the road. That's just my thoughts on the situation, and that's the last time I'll go in-depth with that situation until week 17 (if need be).
Going into this season, I thought the Jaguars had a very good chance of winning the AFC South. I admit, I was more optimistic than most, but that was the direction I felt the franchise was headed towards.
I was wrong. Dead wrong.
Even in Peyton Manning's absence, the Jaguars haven't been able to get a grip on the division, or many of their opponents for that matter. The Jaguars are exactly halfway done with their 2011 campaign (barring a miracle). At this point, it's time to look at the present and the future. It's almost a certainty that the Jaguars will have brand new coaches next season, and it's possible they'll have an entirely new personnel department as well. All that being said, the Jaguars do have a lot of core players already in place.
Tyson Alualu hasn't had the great season that he had last year, but he's also been fighting an injury most of the way. That being said, he's still being disruptive, especially in recent weeks. He was a great pick by Gene Smith, and I don't think many people are arguing that.
Terrance Knighton, the other DT on the team, was another great pick by Gene Smith. He's incredibly powerful, and he forces offenses to plan around him. Both of those players will be anchoring this team for many years to come.
The offensive side of the ball is an entirely different story. In all reality, I think the Jaguars are missing a couple good receivers. Mike Thomas, with some other receiving talent, would be moved to the slot position, something he would likely excel at, and he'd be able to be the full-time punt returner.
That's really about all the Jaguars are desperate for. The offensive line has to be able to protect Blaine Gabbert better and longer, and that'll likely be fixed in the coming off-season. Maurice Jones-Drew is as good now as he's ever been, and the Jaguars can look forward to getting Rashad Jennings back for next season.
Make no mistake about the current situation. Jack Del Rio and most, if not all, of his coaching staff will be gone next season. I don't think the situation is as toxic as it could be, and that's largely a credit to both the players and the coaches of the team. They haven't given up yet, and they seem willing to grind it out until the season ends. And when it does, Jack Del Rio will likely move on. Many fans, myself included, thought that the Jaguars' next head coach would be either Dirk Koetter or Mel Tucker. Koetter's stock is sharply down this year, and that's not really his fault. He simply hasn't been able to work with a talented offense as he was last year. I'm not saying the 2010 offense was out-of-this-world, but I am saying it was better, much better.
Mel Tucker may still be on the short list for the opportunity to become this teams head coach. He came from a 3-4 background, and he's adapted to the 4-3 incredibly well. This has been his first year calling the defensive plays, and that may win him extra points with the fans, but it's not likely to gain him major points with owner, Wayne Weaver. While I think his chance of becoming the Jaguars third head coach in their history is slim, I would like to see the next head coach keep him around. He's done a great job bringing together a unit that is made up of a variety of free agents and young players. He's the guy I'll be keeping my eyes on once the season's over.
I'm not going to speculate about who will be the Jaguars next head coach. I tend to think it'll be a guy that's already established himself as a head coach, whether that be in college or in the pros. That's, at least, my hope in the situation. As for the cries to fire Del Rio now; I can only ask why? It won't make the team any better, and it would accomplish nothing. This is his ninth season with the team, and he's at least earned the right to ride it out for the rest of the season.
I can't think of a better way to sum up this season.
It's a dark day here at The Jaggernaut. All hope is now gone, lost, done. The Jaguars' season is for all practical purposes out of commission. Now, players and coaches will be playing for their jobs the rest of the way, especially on the offensive side of the ball. I would still be surprised if Jack Del Rio loses his job during the bye week, but he really has no chance of saving his job. In fact, the only way for him to save his job would probably be to win 7 of the Jaguars' final 8 games. Not going to happen, and this is why:
Blaine Gabbert sucks. Now, I'm not saying that he can't get better, but he sucks. His footwork is terrible at best. He comes off of play action and can't find receivers; so, he pulls it down for minimal gains, sacks, or throw aways. Finally, he has no good players around him with the exceptions of Maurice Jones-Drew, Greg Jones, and sometimes Marcedes Lewis.
The Jaguars defense played, in my opinion, well against the Texans. They didn't turn in a once-every-five-years performance, but they held the Texans down throughout much of the game, and it still wasn't enough. Frankly, the Jaguars are relying on their defense to win the game, and that just doesn't happen often in the NFL. The defense did just that against the Ravens, but the Texans simply had too much fire power.
The notion that Jack Del Rio is at fault is ridiculous. In fact, I hope he lasts the rest of the season. Replacing him won't help anything, and it won't help Gabbert, or anyone for that matter, get any better. He'll be gone at the end of the year, and he'll carry much of the blame for this teams woes, despite the fact that he hasn't been given an offense to work with. Happy trails Jack. It's rough that it had to end this way, but it is what it is.
Here it is, the best representation of how I feel the Jaguars will go about this draft. Best Wideout in the draft, two of the top-5 pass rushers, and a very solid Corner for Mathis' departure.
Tomorrow the Jacksonville Jaguars play the Houston Texans. There's a lot at stake for the Jaguars and in terms of the division. The Jaguars can pull within one win of the AFC South lead, despite just breaking a five game losing streak. The Texans can push their division lead if they can win. If the Jaguars win, they'll make it a three horse race for the division. If they don't, it will effectively make it a Titans, Texans race the rest of the way. For the eighth week of the season, there's a lot on the line for everyone in the division. Here's your five things for the weekend.
1) Run The Ball, Stop The Run
The Jaguars were able to grind the Ravens down throughout their Monday night matchup by running the ball and stuffing Ray Rice. That's what the Jaguars need to do against the Texans. Maurice Jones-Drew needs to have a big game, and the Jaguars' defense needs to shut Arian Foster down. That's the quickest way to ruin the Texans plans.
2) All About Blaine Gabbert
Everyone knows that Blaine Gabbert hasn't been putting up the numbers that Cam Newton has, but he's been facing far tougher defenses. This should be his first big test against a middle of the road defense. He won't be able to be just a game manager if the Jaguars want to win. He has to make some plays, and I think he can do just that.
3) Marcedes Lewis
I don't think Lewis is doggin' it; I think he's just having a rough start. Regardless of the reasons, he's still a huge weapon for the Jaguars' offense, and they need to get him in on the action. He's dropped a couple of sure-fire touchdowns this season, and the Jaguars can't afford that kind of play. He needs to start making those plays immediately.
4) Matt Schaub Must Go Down, And He Must Go Down Hard
We've all heard Vic Ketchman's great saying, "The quarterback must go down, and he must go down hard!" That's essential here. The Jaguars were able to get great pressure on Joe Flacco. Flacco was uncomfortable all night long, and he never really settled in at any point in the game. The Jaguars need to be able to bring that kind of pressure again. While the Jaguars pass rushing specialist, John Chick, won't be playing, Matt Schaub's most dangerous target, Andre Johnson, won't be playing either. Johnson's absence should give the Jaguars an extra second or two to get to Schaub.
5) When In Doubt, Let The Defense Go To Work
The Jaguars have the sixth ranked defense in the NFL, and they'll have to rely heavily on that unit to keep up with the Texans high powered offense. If the Jaguars are put in the situation of running out the clock, they shouldn't get overly aggressive. Their defense has been outstanding this season, and I think they shouldn't be afraid to run the ball three times and punt with a lead late in the game. The defense got them their wins against the Titans and the Ravens, and I see no reason they won't be able to get the Jaguars a win against the Texans.