Sam's Commentary

September 11, 2016 Commentary Archive

Exciting, Encouraged: Jaguars Still 0-1

by Sam Kouvaris
Posted September 11, 2016 ===========================================================================

"Start fast, finish fast," is how Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley described his philosophy going into the 2016 season. That would be a departure from the previous three years where the Jaguars are 1-10 in September.

"We're very aware of that," linebacker Paul Posluszny said this week. "Start fast, start fast has been something we've been emphasizing, not only in practice but in preseason games. "

So that's why it didn't feel quite right when Blake Bortles threw behind Marquis Lee and the ball was bobbled and picked off by Green Bay on the Jaguars opening possession of the season.

A veteran team, the Packers took advantage quickly, negating the Jaguars pass rush and scoring on an Aaron Rodgers scramble to make it 7-0 early in the first quarter.

There was a feeling of "here we go again" throughout the stadium until a little screen pass to Marcedes Lewis went for 37 yards to the Green Bay 11. Jaguars' coaches have said Lewis has surprised them with how solid he was in camp and it showed with his skill and effort on that play. Two carries by TJ Yeldon resulted in a TD for the Jaguars tying the game at 7.

One thing the Jaguars have done is change the field position twice early in the game on Brad Nortman punts. Both landed and were downed inside the five-yard line. That's where the defense recorded three straight three-and-outs, leading to a Jason Myers field goal to give the Jaguars a 10-7 lead.

It seemed that some questions about the Jaguars were answered early in the game. They can run the football, there's not too much concern about the left side of the offensive line, Bortles doesn't mind throwing it to anybody, (Lee, Lewis, Thomas, ARob, DRob, and Hurns all caught passes in the first half) and the defensive backfield can cover. What wasn't answered was the big question about pass rush. Without much consistent pressure on Aaron Rodgers, he marched the Packers down the field using short passes. Green Bay finished it off with Rodgers shuffling around in the pocket and hitting Jordy Nelson for a TD, 14-10 Packers.

We knew the Jaguars offense would be productive and they showed it again. This time on Bortles arm and a couple of great catches by Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas to regain the lead 17-14. Bortles is checking down to his second and third receiver, partially because he has time and partially because he's more confident. He found Hurns after scanning the field but the throw and catch to Thomas was something special. Thomas has some of the best hands ever for a tight end and it showed on the TD catch.

Grabbing chunks of yardage over the middle and picking on Jonathan Cyprien in pass coverage, the Packers marched right down the field again inside the two-minute warning. Without much pass rush, Rodgers was able to isolate receivers on Cyprien who's clearly the weak link in coverage among the revamped Jaguars secondary. Green Bay scored on a play that showcased Rodgers ability as he shuffled around in the pocket to avoid the blitz by Jalen Ramsey and flicked the ball into the end zone for a TD. Ramsey had a piece of his jersey and while Cyprien was flagged for pass interference on the play it didn't matter. Rodgers made it happen for a 21-17 lead at halftime.

An exchange of field goals on the first two possessions of the second half made it 24-20 Green Bay. It was the first red zone stop for the Jaguars defense behind some solid play by Prince Amukamara. Rogers continued to pick on Cyprien, buying time with his feet and isolating a receiver on him.

As the third quarter wore on, Rodgers continued to show his skill and savvy, picking his spots and methodically moving the Packers downfield. Green Bay looked a bit winded but controlled the ball and kept their defense off the field. While the Jaguars defense stiffened at the goal line, the Packers still held the ball for 16 plays and 73 yards to take a 27-20 lead.

Showing good poise, the Jaguars converted a couple of 4th downs in the 4th quarter but had to spend all of their timeouts to do so. That led to a delay of game penalty at a critical point of the drive. Jason Myers kicked a 50-yard field goal to make it 27-23 with just over 5 minutes to play.

That's when the defense finally got some pressure on Rodgers, forcing an incompletion on 3rd and 11. Sen'Derrick Marks applauded the crowd in the north end zone for forcing a false start on 3rd and 6 and the Jaguars got the ball back at midfield.

Missing any timeouts, the Jaguars were a bit out of sorts but kept the drive alive into the final: :30 of the game. On 4th down, a weird holding call on Luke Joeckel was followed by an interception by the Packers, negated by defensive holding. So back to midfield and a first down. On 3rd and one, Bortles tried to hit Rashad Greene over the middle that went incomplete and on 4th down Allen Hurns was stopped short of the marker giving the ball to the Packers, ending the game.

Maybe it was the clock management, but I hated the final two play calls of the game. On 3rd and 1, do something that give you a better chance at gaining a yard and on 4th down give your quarterback some options instead of just tossing it out to a receiver who you're hoping gets a yard. Not sure if OC Olson has Blake under wraps in that situation but you would hope Bortles would have the ability to get them into a better play than that.

We won't know what this game means for a while but if Green Bay is one of the top teams in the league, the Jaguars showed they can play with anybody. Winning teams know how to win and the Packers showed that. The Jaguars are better, exciting, encouraged and fun to watch. The O-line will be fine, Bortles and the offense will score points, the defensive backfield can cover and they're still looking for a better pass rush.

But they're still 0-1.

Commentary by Sam Kouvaris

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ARCHIVE of The College Weekly Report

09-10-2016 - Jaguars: 4 To Watch 4
09-10-2016 - Will Gus Bradley's Coaching Experiment Work?
09-08-2016 - Jaguars And Packers, More Similar Than You Think
09-06-2016 - Jaguars Roster: Bigger, Faster, Stronger
08-31-2016 - Are The Jaguars 'Hoping" For Success
08-30-2016 - Jaguars Know Bengals Effort Won't Fly
08-29-2016 - Wake Up Call For Jaguars Vs. Bengals
08-28-2016 - Jaguars "Fact Finding" vs. Bengals
08-23-2016 - Arrow Up On Jaguars
08-20-2016 - South End Zone Project: Khan Wants To Get It Right
08-13-2016 - Jets Game, Training Camp, Jaguars Still Working
08-03-2016 - Bortles Better, Defense Better
07-31-2016 - Stadium Improvements March On
07-29-2016 - FSU/Boise St. To Play Here In 2019
07-28-2016 - Air2G2 Local Company Making Good
07-27-2016 - Smith "Grateful and excited" to be in The Pride
07-27-2016 - Time for Jimmy Smith in The Pride
07-22-2016 - Jaguars Ready To Win Says Malik Jackson
07-22-2016 - Khan On 2016 Roster: "Scary Good"
07-15-2016 - Cryotherapy: The latest in "Sam's Big Comeback"
06-16-2016 - MJD on Jaguars: "They can win the South"
06-15-2016 - Foley To Leave Florida In A Good Spot
06-11-2016 - Marks Returns Optimistic
06-03-2016 - Hurns Deal Good All Around
05-31-2016 - Jaguars TE Thomas: We can be better
05-25-2016 - Hale Irwin at WGV: Winners have the heart of a champion"
05-24-2016 - Jaguars Start OTA's "Good not great."
05-20-2016 - Ramsey Hurt: Jaguars Snake Bit?
05-15-2016 - Day Wins THE PLAYERS 2016
05-13-2016 - Play Suspended At THE PLAYERS in Rd. 2
05-13-2016 - Wilcox Hole In One At 17
05-13-2016 - THE PLAYERS Round 2: Low Scores Again
05-12-2016 - First Round Players Notes
05-12-2016 - Day Early Leader At THE PLAYERS
05-12-2016 - Spite A Favorite, And Not Just For Golf
05-10-2016 - Fowler Still "Likes the Vibe"
05-10-2016 - Formula To Win THE PLAYERS? None
05-09-2016 - More Players At THE PLAYERS On Monday
05-09-2016 - Furyk Returns Optimistic At PLAYERS
04-30-2016 - Caldwell Takes Jack: "Risk To Be Great"
04-29-2016 - Jaguars' Ramsey: Best Player In The Draft
04-27-2016 - Khan On Draft Day: "Don't Be Impulsive"
04-23-2016 - Raising Money, Always Funny, Bill Murray's In Town
04-20-2016 - Mcelwain: Gators Much Farther Along
04-16-2016 - Armada Get 1st Win 2-1 vs. Miami FC
04-14-2016 - Rashean Retires As A Jaguar
04-09-2016 - Masters Traditions Like No Other
04-01-2016 - NFL Contributes To HS Player Safety
03-28-2016 - USA Soccer To Play Here September 6
03-26-2016 - When Watching Tony Kornheiser, Buyer Beware
03-24-2016 - Khan Still Moving Forward
03-23-2016 - Dave Caldwell's Jaguars Vision
03-23-2016 - Bradley: Stay to the Plan
03-09-2016 - Mayor Curry To Run Gate River Run
02-27-2016 - "The Hayt" Tests College Players At Sawgrass CC
02-19-2016 - Earnhardt, Kyle Busch win Duels at Daytona
02-18-2016 - Jaguars Re-sign Chad Henne
02-18-2016 - Champions Ride for Safety
02-12-2016 - The Players Military Appreciation Day
02-08-2016 - Hall of Fame Voting: A Process
02-04-2016 - FSU Class Among The Best In The Nation
02-04-2016 - Gators Bolster Offense on Signing Day
01-29-2016 - Stadium Clubs "Reimagined"
01-25-2016 - Remembering Rex Morgan
01-21-2016 - "Krossover" Helping Hs Hoops Teams
01-13-2016 - Cyclists And Motorists Looking For Compromise
01-07-2016 - Jacksonville in the D-League?
01-07-2016 - Smith Fired in Tampa: Jax DC?
01-05-2016 - For Gus' Sake, I Hope He's Right
01-04-2016 - Coughlin Out At Giants HC
01-03-2016 - Jaguars Lose To Texans, Work To Do
01-03-2016 - Jaguars Playing Today, Thinking About Tomorrow

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