After seeing the Jacksonville Jaguars during practices, a scrimmage, and a pre-season game, there are a few observations that can be made.
I have no idea how they’ll do, but they won’t be beaten due to being out of shape. Head coach Doug Marrone is a taskmaster and until you’ve been under a Jacksonville sun at noon, you can’t imagine the heat these guys practice in. To his credit, Marrone and all the coaches wear black shirts.
Blake Bortles is, and most likely, will always be an inconsistent quarterback. Andy Dalton comes to mind. However, his lows were better than Dalton’s and he’s had more highs. It’s clear that he feels relaxed and loose. When he makes mistakes they appear more testing boundaries over making dumb mistakes. FYI, the guy is an athlete. After going two and half hours in the heat of the day, the team does wind sprints and he’s the first one every time. This guy will be a threat with RPO’s.
Some people think the Jacksonville Jaguars flipped their team in one season. Wrong. When Shad Khan hired General Manager Dave Caldwell, he began four year long journey.
Caldwell drafted Blake Bortles, then went about the next three years drafting talent while removing older players with big contracts. In 2015 Bortles threw 35 touchdowns, but a ton of interceptions and the defense wasn’t good.
In 2016, the defense started taking hold, but Bortles was playing with two dislocated shoulders and a bum wrist. Doug Marrone, who had been hired that season to fix the OL, was moved up to head coach when Gus Bradley was fired.
During the 4th quarter in Heinz Stadium, chants of, DUUUUVAAAAL could be heard unabated in the AFC Divisional playoff game. While the score seems as if it was a close contest, not even Pittsburgh Steelers fans believed it as the camera showed large sections of empty yellow seats.
From their touchdown drive on their first possession to a game-sealing field goal kick by kicker Josh Lambo, the Jacksonville Jaguars shocked Steelers Nation. The Jags weren’t pretty and once again, lost most stats like first downs 22-28, yards 378-544, yards per play 6.2-7.0 and total plays, 61-78.
Jacksonville did win the stats that matter: third downs 8-14-57% 7-16-44%, 4th down 100% and 5 compared to 3 red zone trips with scores.
In a strange set of occurrences, this writer was at the Jacksonville Jaguars vs Buffalo Bills playoff game. One hour before kickoff, a friend walked into my house waving tickets that her customer just gave her because she decided not to go.
The mad dash we embarked on was one that would’ve won the Great Race. Sometimes everything goes your way, from green lights to little traffic to finding the perfect parking spot because one person inexplicably left. We watched the first three drives on my phone as we walked from the car, and up the ramps. In one hour and ten minutes, we got dogs out, two females change (including make-up), stopped for cash and drove 23 miles. It was worth it!