Well there are few words that can describe the immense disappointment stemming from a 21-19 loss to the now 1 - 8 Bengals, other than "wow" or "sigh". This loss hurt not as much as say some of the heartbreakers in which the Defense gave the game away in the 4th quarter, but is still painful for obvious reasons. The Jaguars were 3 - 4 coming into the game with some hope of turning around their season but with many questions surrounding the team, which makes this result somewhat bearable in comparison to the gut-wrenching losses to Tennessee, Buffalo, Pittsbugh, and Cleveland. Nonetheless the loss drops the Jags to 3 - 5 which is a seemingly insurmountable hole considering how poor this team played today and who they have left on the schedule.
However looking back if you remember the 2002 NY Jets, who sat at 3 - 5 after 8 games, rallied to finish 9 - 7, made the playoffs and even knocked off the Colts in the Wild Card round. So there is some hope in that it has happened before. What is even more intriguing is that Curtis Martin and Lamont Jordan had struggled to run the ball to that point similar to the issues that have plauged MJD and Freddy T's production.
Setting the despair and optimism aside the positives and negatives about this team are more than ever apparent now.
First the good:
- David Garrard's continual stability at QB, does the things necessary to keep the Jags in the game. He has also shown the potential deep ball threat from time to time, just needs better wide reciever play.
- Matt Jones continual development as a possession reciever, mades a few tough grabs in traffic and gave Garrard a safety net.
- John Henderson starting a fight and showing some heart/anger.... This act lifted the team up and began a late rally which came up a 2pt conversion short.
- Jerry Porter's surpise emergence from what seemed like a wide reciever coma, to actually have a couple catches on the day.
Now the bad:
- MJD and Freddy T's lack of running once again, no big plays and no yardage. Very disturbing trend of not being able to run the ball.
- Offensive Line's lack of ability to block for the run or the long pass. Also numerous penalties killed the team.
- Defensive Line's ability to once again hit the QB, force a fumble, or even pressure the Bengals offense. Also a couple silly offsides penalties once again hurt them.
- The secondaries coverage on Chad Ocho Cinco, he killed them in the first half, and if not for a few off target throws he would have had an even bigger day.
Finally the UGLY:
- LOSING TO THE 0 - 8 BENGALS!!!! (enough said)
- The 2pt conversion play in which Garrard threw a slant to Porter who was double covered and couldn't make the play. Lack of creativity and precision cost them on this play which in turn cost them a shot to tie the game.
- Greg William's defensive scheme considering the Jags personnel... Constant ineffective blitzing allowed guys like Fitzpatrick, Benson, and Utecht to come up with big plays. This is also a result of the lack of production by the defensive line, but still why beat a dead horse if it isnt working?
- Jack Del Rio's career trend of not making the playoffs in back to back years, coming back after a successful year with an average year hovering around .500, be it injuries, personnel, or schedule it is still concerning.
- Defensive 3rd Down conversions and astonishingly constant inability to get off the field on 3rd and long plays.
- the 3 - 5 record half way through the season, nobody and I mean nobody saw this coming before the season.
Overall though I think despite all of the negatives there is still a miniscule chance that they recover and salvage this season. However a realist would say that this season is in the books and the Jags should focus on developing younger players and do what they can to prepare for the draft and offseason. More snaps for Harvey and Groves is a must, as both need alot of work. The draft is going to have to be a success this year as well as free agency to rebuild this defense. Also getting healthy is a must, the offensive line can be much better with a healthy Mo Williams, Chris Naeole, Vince Mauwai, among others.
However it will be up to the next 4 games to determine if the 2008 Jaguars can rally like the 2002 Jets did or just completely collapse and hope for next season. Let's hope the Lions aren't as hungry for a W as the Bengals were....