I internally scoffed at experts who predicted the 2012 Jaguars would win fewer games than they did in 2011. Last year’s 5-12 result was horrible, and the glaring issues from a year ago seemed to have been addressed in the off season. The coaching staff had been completely revamped. The offensive scheme had been changed. We had three new wide receivers. The Defense from a year ago that ranked 6th in the league was back almost completely intact. Our quarterback who struggled in his rookie year had made a lot of progress over the off season and in training camp. Indeed even in the preseason there seemed to be hope for the team though as you look back there were some major warning signs.
Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals was a microcosm of what is wrong with the Jaguars this year:
Offensive Line: Gave up 6 Sacks, QB Gabbert had to roll out to get time to make any play down field. Blocking for running game was non-existent.
Wide Receivers: Couldn’t get open against a defense with three injuries at Cornerback. Dropped several passes.
Quarterback: Gabbert has shown improvement from last year and had one of his better days statistically as a Jaguar yesterday but is inconsistent and fails to make enough plays.
Defensive Line: No sacks in the game for the third week in a row. Allowed Bengal’s QB Dalton enough time to relax in a lazyboy and have a beer while looking for open receivers.
Linebackers: Constantly gashed by screen plays and other passing plays out of the backfield.
Cornerbacks: Allowed WR A.J. Green 117 yards on just 6 catches. He averaged 19 yards a catch. (Our top receiver averaged 8)
Special Teams: Duped into giving up 48 yards on a fake punt.
Coaching: Kicked a field goal on fourth and 1 inside the five yard line down by two scores and playing against an offense we couldn’t even slow down. Its a conservative decision on a day when we needed to make bold decisions to change the tempo of the game.
The failures are in every phase of the game. None of the squads are playing at anything approaching an acceptable level. The Receivers are not improved over a year ago thought they certainly should be both in terms of talent and in terms of coaching. The route selection and running isn’t nearly good enough for the NFL and the Jaguars face teams every week who do a better job of it. The Jaguars are last in the league in sacks. Two sacks in four games and none in the last three. That is not just a failure it is an embarrassment. The offensive line is just short of a disaster. Against any team with any talent up front the Jaguars offensive line offers barely more protection than a screen door. The offensive line troubles have been exacerbated by injuries but all of the starters were in the game against the Bengals with worse results than the week before. Even the placekicking has been spotty. We have already missed an extra point this season and twice with leads late in the fourth quarter we have kicked off short and allowed a major run back setting up the opposing team with scoring opportunities they shouldn’t have had. About the only thing that is working is much maligned 3rd round pick punter Bryan Anger. He leads the AFC in punting and that is a blessing considering how much of it he is doing this year.
Obviously 1-3 isn’t the end of the seaons and teams have come back from 1-3 to be successful. That may still happen but it doesn’t feel like it from here. There are so many glaring issues with this team that it is hard to imagine them pulling it together. The first 4 games with the exception of the Houston game. Were arguably one of the weaker segments of the schedule this year. Getting better is going to be a very long road uphill from where they are today.
I’m eternally All In, but this year feels like another very frustrating lost cause. The individual effort will have to change dramatically for the better for this team to even achieve the 5 victories they had last year let alone improve. Currently my gut tells me we are two years away from competing in our division and only that close if we make fewer mistakes in drafting than we have in the recent past.