Last week we played a team who won 2 games in 2013 and now we play their division rival who only won 4 games last season. With the Redskins 3 wins last year we're up to 7 combined wins this week people! But the only win column that matters right now is the 2014 one, and unless there is a tie, either the Jaguars or the Redskins are getting their first win of the season this week.
Last week the Redskins played a error-filled game that saw all three units make a critical mistake that had an effect on the Texans 17-6 win. The Jaguars on the other hand, played two games last week. The first game(half) they dominated Nick Foles and the Eagles, and their defense took control of the game. 17-0 at halftime. The second game(half) was domination on the other side, as the Eagles were able to score 34 unanswered points and double the Jaguars score. Which team shows up this week, or will it be a Jekyll and Hyde repeat this week?
I asked Ryan Day from Big Cat Country, SB Nation's Jaguars blog, 6 questions about the team, and the matchup this week. His answers to my questions will be posted this morning. Thanks to Ryan for answering our questions this week.
1) Tell us more about offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. What does he bring to the table scheme-wise?
I think one of the things Jedd Fisch has carried with him from the University of Miami to Jacksonville is his desire to establish the run. A lot of people think, "Oh, Fisch is an ex-college coach, he wants to run-and-shoot, high scores, etc..." but even at Miami he wanted to get a run game going early but wasn't able to do so, mostly because of an overwhelmed offensive line.
I feel like Fisch has some tricks up his sleeves and things he wants to do, but he just doesn't have the personnel on the Jaguars to do it yet. He loves three-wide sets, especially out of the no-huddle, and balancing the tight end as a guy who stays to block and seal edge one down and then catch a bubble screen the next. But, again, I don't think Fisch has the personnel to really show us the kind of offense he wants to bring to the NFL.
2) How do you feel about your current WR corps? Allen Robinson was a popular name on Hogs Haven, but the other Allen is looking like a steal for Jacksonville.
With Cecil Shorts III most likely out for the second week in a row, I think we're about as happy as we can be with a receiving corps that includes three rookies and Mike Brown. Allen Robinson has been hampered by injuries much of the preseason, so we haven't gotten a chance to see him as much as we'd like, but I can tell you coming into the year I was most excited for him. I thought he was the more polished of the two receivers we drafted in the second round -- Marqise Lee being the other.
However, after the preseason and Week 1, I can't believe Allen Hurns went undrafted. We were excited when we got him right after the draft, and early on in camp we saw he could be a guy who could play any of the receiver positions, runs routes incredibly well, and doesn't drop a lot of balls. He's the best receiver on our team right now. He might not be when Lee has a few more weeks under his belt, or when Shorts makes it back onto the field, but right now he most certainly is.
3) How confident are you in Toby Gerhart to carry the team's running game this season? Will his ankle be an issue on Sunday?
I'm more confident in Toby Gerhart than I am our offensive line. For Week 1, Pro Football Focus rated the Jaguars offensive line as dead last in terms of run blocking -- and I think even that was generous. Granted, four of these guys weren't Week 1 starters last year so they're all learning how to play together, but it's going to be an uphill battle for the first half of the season.
As far as Gerhart, I'm not going to write him off after one game. I think he can be a great back in this league, but offensive coordinator needs to not run him off tackle as much as he did last week against the Eagles. Gerhart's strength is inside and although the interior of our offensive line is the weakest part of it, I think he stands a better chance between the tackles than around them.
4) Alfred Morris had an excellent game against Houston's run defense when he was used, and Roy Helu was also very effective. How has the run defense looked so far?
Well, we played LeSean McCoy, so you tell me. I stopped counting how many missed tackles we had in the third quarter. And miscommunication allowed Darren Sproles to break off a ridiculous 49-yarder... on fourth down. Ugh.
I think, however, we have a strong run defense and that Sen'Derrick Marks anchors that line. If the Jaguars offense convert third downs against Washington, I think it'll give the defensive line rest -- something they sorely needed last week.
5) Was Henne good enough last week to hold off Blake Bortles, and is Bortles ready to take over as starting QB sooner rather than later?
Last week was the consummate game for Henne. He was great when he had a short field and he was running scripted plays. He was bad when the pressure was at its highest. Were there some great throws he made? Sure. His first touchdown to Hurns, the sideline throw to Hurns out of the end zone, a third-down toss to Lee, a third-down drop from Hurns... these were all great throws. But he rushed several other third-down throws and he missed a wide open Marcedes Lewis on a crucial fourth-and-inches at the end of the game.
Blake Bortles, however, has shown he's the best quarterback on the roster. But it's not a race in the minds of head coach Gus Bradley and general manager Dave Caldwell. They're not waiting to start Bortles until he's better than Henne, they're waiting "until he's ready" whatever that means.
Personally, I think Bradley is showing his youth as a coach. I think he's scared to make the switch. It's going to need to happen sooner or later, and Bortles' play in the preseason coupled with Henne's inconsistency against the Eagles has me wanting the rookie to start. Now. (But he won't.)
6) What did the Jags do well in the first half against the Eagles, and what went wrong late in the game. And can you guys repeat that sequence this week?
The defense played well enough to give the offense a short field. Sacks, fumbles, and turnovers gave Chad Henne & Co. incredibly short field position on both touchdown drives. But then when the defense came up short a few drives in a row, and the offense was forced to go longer than 40 or 50 yards for a touchdown, the cracks began to show... especially with our running game (or lack thereof).
I think the defensive line can do well against Washington, not because you all have a bad line but because the guys Bradley and defensive coordinator Bob Babich have put together work so well together in our scheme. As far as the running game, if the Jaguars run behind right guard Brandon Linder and right tackle Cameron Bradfield, I think Fisch can get his wish of a running game going early. Not because Linder and Bradfield are necessarily good, but because the left side of Washington's defensive line got worked in Houston.