Know Your Foe: The Jacksonville Jaguars
HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – Are you ready for the Toilet Bowl?
Unfortunately, that’s what you’re in store for on Sunday. The Texans will try to save what little dignity they have (and their stranglehold on third place) in a home date with the Jacksonville Jaguars…the worst team in the NFL.
Two weeks ago in Arizona appeared to be a very winnable game. Last week against the Raiders looked even more so that way. But this weekend’s game with the Jaguars is without a doubt the easiest game left for the Texans in 2013. So will they be able to snap out of their eight game snaffoo? Let’s take a closer look at the Jags first.
He Lost His Mojo!
Remember when Maurice Jones-Drew was one of the best running backs in the NFL? Things have really changed in the last year and a half. After a Lisfranc injury to his left foot ended his season last year, he hasn’t looked the same.
He’s only 28, which means there may still be hope for his career. But with his lead blocker of seven years Greg Jones will be on the other sideline this weekend. And his offensive line? One of the worst run blocking units in the league.
According to Pro Football Focus, here’s where Jacksonville’s starting O-Line ranks in run protection:
LT – Cameron Bradfield (-8.9 run block rating, 73rd among 76 tackles)
LG – Will Rackley (-12.3 run block rating, 67th among 73 guards)
C – Brad Meester (-6.0 run block rating, 27th among 33 centers)
RG – Uche Nwaneri (-11.5 run block rating, 66th among 73 guards)
RT – Austin Pasztor (-8.4 run block rating, 71st amond 76 tackles
That’s pathetically wretched. That said Bradfield and Pasztor should never have been thrown into the starting lineup. But one week in October, the Jags traded starting left tackle Eugene Monroe to the Baltimore Ravens. Then they lost second overall pick Luke Joeckel days later (who filled in at left tackle for Monroe) to a season ending ankle injury. Still, for a team with Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne as its quarterback options, the line seriously needs to step its game up.
Pass On The Passing Game
Surprisingly, that same line is average at pass blocking:
C- Brad Meester (1.2 pass protect rating, 13th among 33 centers)
RG – Uche Nwaneri (5.1 pass protect rating, 13th among 73 guards)
RT – Austin Pasztor (9.3 pass protect rating, 11th among 76 tackles)
Well…except the guys on the left…
LT – Cameron Bradfield (-5.1 pass protect rating, 63rd among 76 tackles)
LG – Will Rackley (-7.6 pass protect rating, 58th among 73 guards)
Still, with receivers like Justin Blackmon in the receiving corps (29 receptions, 415 yards, 1 TD)…oh wait he’s suspended. The rest of the season. For substance abuse. Don’t think he’s ever had that issue before.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah, receivers. Cecil Shorts (50 receptions, 629 yards 1 TD) is the Jags go to guy these days. But he’s pretty much it. And with inept QBs like Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert under center, plus an awful pairing in blind side protection, this offense is hopeless.
The D: Not Much Better
Outside of pass rushing specialist defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks (5.8 overall rating, 24th among 71 DTs, 8.2 pass rush rating, 11th among 71 DTs), the front seven is pretty bad. DE Jason Babin is washed up and only relevant of late for ripping a guys dreadlocks out, while other defensive end Tyson Alualu (OK v the run, but ranks last on the team in pass rushing) is just one in a long list of recent first round busts for Jacksonville. And like Babin, linebackers Paul Posluszny (MLB) and Geno Hayes (OLB) saw their best days long ago. You might recognize their names. But you won’t notice them on the field.
The secondary is probably the team’s best unit. Though the following sentence will probably make you laugh at the previous. Former Texan Alan Ball has balled (pun intended) in a starter’s role at cornerback. He ranks 25th overall among corners with a 4.7 rating, and is 24th in coverage with a 3.0. Dwayne Gratz starts opposite Ball, and is one of a few Jaguar defenders with positive ratings on Pro Football Focus (3.1 overall). Nickel corner Will Blackmon ranks highest defensively on the team (7.4 overall) and is 1st among 107 cornerbacks defending the run (4.2 rating).
Unfortunately for those corners though, Jacksonville has the worst starting safety tandem in the league. Strong safety Johnathan Cyprien (-19.2, 84th among 85 safeties) and free safety Josh Evans (-11.8, 80th among 85 safeties) are abysmal. With that in mind and a pass rush that isn’t very good, Case Keenum and the Texans should look to extend plays and look down field often.
This has nothing to do with the game. But as if the Jaguars weren’t embarrassing enough to watch on the field, they have the worst looking helmet I have ever seen in my life. Just an absolute abomination. What moron decided that a half black, half gold helmet could possibly work? Barf. This monstrosity belongs in a trash can.
The Texans are better than the Jaguars on paper. However, Jacksonville has at least shown a pulse of late, in both their win two weeks ago and against the Broncos in early October. The Texans haven’t even come close to showing that of late (unless second half field goal parades and total collapses equate to moral victories). And until they do, I’ll continue to pick against them. Jaguars win 24 – 20.
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