Welcome to the inaugural edition of a new feature here on The Big Cat, The War Room. Each week, we'll take a look at what game-plan the Jaguars will likely employ to counter the anticipated attack of their opponents. Here is where we'll argue, debate, and try to decipher the necessary approach to defeating our enemy... Welcome to our little bunker... Welcome to The War Room.
The Week's Quote: "The only place success comes before work, is in the dictionary." - Vince Lombardi
Defeating the Jaguars' long-time nemesis this Sunday won't be easy, and having a brilliant plan in place is a prerequisite to success. The effectiveness of the Jaguars' offense will rely as much on the performance of the rookie tackles, as it will on Dirk Koetter's play calling. Derek Cox and Derrick Harvey are the keys defensively; both will need big games.
Look for the Jaguars to game-plan around the Colts devastating DE duo. Expect RB's to chip the edge rushers on flare outs, and expect the Jaguars to employ a TE on one side or the other consistently. Don't expect the Jaguars to be able to run the ball as well as they have in the past either. Meester is one year older, and our interior linemen have struggled much of the preseason. Mo Williams is the starter at RG and is better at pass blocking than opening holes. Manuwai needs to show up and have a big game, he hasn't looked 100% from his injury suffered last season.
Look for the I-formation to be utilized quite a bit in the running attack, and look for screen passes and draws to continue be utilized regularly, both to get MJD the ball as much as possible, and to help combat the pass-rush. If the Jaguars are able to establish the running game early, then the offensive playbook will be wide open and we can all expect to see some big passes on play-action fakes. Bob Sanders is injured again for this game, and the defense plays the run differently when he's not on the field.
Look for David Garrard to have some fun with his new best friend, Torry Holt. Holt is the Jaguars go-to guy without question, and I expect him to explode out of the gates. Later on in the season is when I look for him to begin to wear down, but he should be expected to continue to be the consummate professional. This guy is the best WR we've had since Jimmy Smith, without a doubt. Now, let's see him do it in teal.
Sunday needs to be Derrick Harvey's coming-out party. Tony Ugoh, the LT the Colts traded a first-round pick to select in the second-round of the 2007 NFL Draft, has been demoted. Former guard, Charlie Johnson, has taken his place at the LT spot, and this is a prime opportunity for Harvey to face relatively weaker competition. Harvey needs to come up in a big way for the Jaguars to stop Peyton Manning. Without pressure, even Mathis will eventually get beat. Expect to see a lot of base defense against the Colts, especially early on. The Jaguars will likely want to see if they can stop the run and get pressure with their front seven, if they are consistently bringing in Considine to help in run defense, we'll be in trouble.
I doubt we'll see the 3-4 utilized nearly as much as the base and nickel defense is used. The team knows Peyton is too smart to fall for trickery unless he's facing pressure. If the team can't get pressure with the defensive line, then we'll see some zone-blitzing, with linemen occasionally dropping into coverage. I'll tell you this much though, smoke and mirrors won't beat Peyton. You have to knock the man down to beat him.
Derek Cox will get burned some on Sunday, the question is, how much? We need at least adequate play from Cox, because the Colts receiving unit is still scary. Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne, and Anthony Gonzales are all legitimate play-makers, and covering them throughout the game is going to be difficult without pressure on the QB, which is why Derrick Harvey is such a key component of this game.
The Jaguars have had an absolutely brutal training camp; they've put in the work necessary, will success follow suit?