The eve of the biggest game of the season, and possibly of Jack Del Rio's career, has fallen. We all wait in anticipation for the game tomorrow night against the Indianapolis Colts. The team knows the importance of this game, a shot to stay alive in the wild card race, right? For a team that entered the season looking like 8 wins was an achievement, expectations have been changed. The playoffs would make a statement to the league about what the Jacksonville Jaguars are all about.
What if this game was even more important than the ultimate regular season goal for the other 31 teams in the NFL, and that is to make the playoffs. I guarantee you to the upper Jaguars brass this game means something more. Something as important as keeping this team in Jacksonville...
For the first time this season, the blackout has been lifted. The generally fair-weather fans of this town are giving this team a chance to win them over. Wayne Weaver, as well, has given Jack a chance to win him over. A win here and a playoff berth this season would assure Wayne of Jack's ability to win, which in my opinion he has.
This team, whether or not the younger guys know it, needs to win this game. Its time to man up, knock some heads, and kick ass. Now here is how we can beat the Colts...
Go straight for the tampa two. The Colts are no longer as "bend but don't break" as they were under Dungy, but they still like their tampa two, with the middle linebacker dropping back with the safeties into a deep zone. We can combat this with our newfound seam route specialist, Marcedes Lewis. Marcedes should be able to get into position before the backer does if Garrard sells play action out of the I formation. A nice pass over the head of Gary Bracket a few time could really help Drew get going in his running, which, by the way, is essential to beating the Colts.
Without Greg Jones in the lineup, we could see more ace sets, which both spread out the defense with more pass catchers out wide, and open up the playbook a little further. The Colts defensive interior line is stronger than their putrid front of last year, but even if it was the same or weaker, I don't think we could successfully pound the middle with Meester in the middle. One thing we learned against the Dolphins last week is that dubs I blast A 32 is no longer our bread and butter. Going outside and getting Drew's speed on the perimeter, however, could be. Here Manuwai pulls our to lead Jones-Drew. He is worthless pass blocking, but he still remains a viable run blocker. Since the Colts are in zone, and we have a balanced offensive front here, there should only be one corner over either Holt/Sims-Walker here. Along with Thomas, they will eliminate the corner, and as long as Eugene seals his end, all Manuwai has to worry about is Clint Session coming downhill. Jones-Drew now picks a safety if all goes to plan, he gets 20+ yards of daylight.
Above is a nickel package 2 man under simulation. Rashean Mathis will be back, so along with our Cover 2 base, we should man up in nickel. Playing bend but don't break against Manning won't work. Mel needs to take some chances here, and keep the Cover 2 shell, but all man underneath. If Wayne tries to sneak deep, he will be double covered, and this will allow Rashean to take some chances and sit on routes with help over the top. Harvey really needs to show up Thursday night, he is essential to hurry Manning and force throws he doesn't want to make against a manned up underneath.
We can take the Colts on, and beat them. As long as we score in the redzone, have 11 men on the field at all times, convert third downs, and run the ball when we want to, we can put up points. David needs to have a good game, when he clicks, the offense clicks. The defense has to generate pressure, force turnovers, and keep the Colts to field goals.
We are going to win this game. And remember, Goliath was a forty point favorite over David. (Shug Jordan, Auburn)