Know Your Opponent with www.BlackandTeal.com
As week 11 and a second matchup versus the Jacksonville Jaguars looms, we reach out to our favorite Jaguars blog, @BlackandTeal, more specifically, editor @LukeNSims. Luke looks at QB Blaine Gabbert’s performance, top 2012 draft pick Justin Blackmon, and the Jaguars bright spot of a disappointing 2012 season… go ahead and read below to find out what that pleasant surprise is for the dedicated fans.
As always, we welcome your questions for our guest bloggers. Please use the hashtag #KnowYourOpponent (or #KYO if you’re short on space) along with your question, and @theclairebear23. Your question will be in consideration for a special shout on the State of the Texans website. Thanks for participating. We love you all.
What is responsible for the Jags’ rushing defense woes, and can it be fixed before Sunday? (@txbobbumman)
The Jaguars have struggled mightily on defense is more than just rush defense. You can point to injuries, but the truth is that the play simply isn’t living up to how good the unit was last season. Not keeping Matt Roth in the offseason and replacing him with Andre Branch is a big part of it in my opinion. Not having Daryl Smith all season is a major problem, as is losing Clint Session. To be honest, I think the problem is the talent on the roster. I sincerely doubt it can be fixed by Sunday.
What are Jaguars fans thinking about Blaine Gabbert’s ceiling? Most other fans seem to concur he won’t work. Do Jaguars fans blame the offensive line or do they also believe Gabbert may not be the guy to lead them? (@qtab)
As a lot of Jags fans will tell you, we have more than a quarterback problem. We have an everything problem. While the offensive line is certainly not doing Gabbert any favors, he is still growing. Excuses from bad O-line play to bad receivers are made for Gabbert, but he isn’t getting the job done. Is this his ceiling? I sincerely doubt it. I wasn’t a fan of Gabbert coming out of college because I like more polished players up front. Gabbert is no where near being polished but is making strides. If he wins one or two more games this season, whoever takes over as GM (assuming Gene Smith is not retained) should keep him around.
Does Jacksonville have any matchups to exploit in this game versus the Texans and do you see any way they can pull out an upset?
That’s really a tough one. I can’t see any outright matchups that the Jags will be winning in this game. If there’s an upset it will have to be a “greater than the sum of its parts” type thing because on paper it’s pretty bad.
Is the no-huddle going to be featured more prominently going forward, or only if Gabbert can play?
It should be featured more regularly. Whether OC Bob Bratkowski decides that’s a good idea or not is another matter. Chad Henne is an ex-starter and can run the no huddle, so I don’t think there will be much drop off no matter who is under center.
Has Justin Blackmon’s lack of production been due to effort or the quarterback play?
I really believe it’s been due to lack of experience. Blaine Gabbert hasn’t trusted him as much as his other receivers because his other receivers demonstrate that they can get the ball and do more with it. The rapport simply hasn’t developed. As Blackmon learns the game and gets more integrated into the NFL he will develop. Blackmon is catching less than three passes a game while his fellow receivers are more productive. That isn’t what you look for in a starting wide receiver, but I think he’s trying and he will learn.
What is happening with RB Rashad Jennings lack of production? He had some promising moments early on.
Jennings was supposed to be great. His 2010 season was very good, but he has failed to replicate it in 2012 after missing all of 2011. We expected more from him (especially since he was supposed to make the Maurice Jones-Drew holdout irrelevant). He just isn’t on the same level as Jones-Drew and requires better blocking to make plays on the ground.
If the Jaguars end up picking early in the 2013 NFL draft, in what direction do you see them going?
The Jags will pick early in the 2013 draft. If we’re not in the top five picks then everything I’ve been writing will suddenly be wrong. Unfortunately there isn’t a consensus top player coming out for 2013 and the Jags aren’t even certain about whether they like their roster or not and who will be deciding those things in April. I would like the Jaguars to spend a first round pick on a defensive end that can be relied on for years to come. There’s a lot of pressure for a new quarterback but I don’t see anyone worth an early first rounder right now.
There has to be a bright spot for the Jacksonville Jaguars half way through the 2012 season. What is it?
I’d have to go with Cecil Shorts III. The guy has been stellar lately and could be the Jags’ first 1,000 yard receiver since 2005. He has a knack for big plays, has sure hands, and he has been able to run his routes well during the middle part of the season. It may be too early to call it, but he may be a receiver to stick around for years.