There are times when you just need to get it off your chest so you can move on. This is one of those moments. Analysis may come later, but for right now I feel like yelling into the canyon.
A week after jumping over the moon we have finally come back down to earth, and man did the landing hurt. While the Houston Texans were staging a comeback in Washington, D.C., one which would continue the good vibrations deep in the heart of Texas, the Jaguars were revisiting the ghosts of west coast trips past: And once again it wasn't just a loss, it was a humiliating loss.
The stellar play of David Garrard, the Defensive Player of the Week honor to Daryl Smith and Tyson Alualu being mentioned as rookie of the week, only served to stake claim that this was a new Jaguar team and we, the fans, refused to be targets.
Now, after assuming a defensive posture and demanding a level of respect from anyone who dared darken the sunlight fields of our optimism, I strongly suggest you brace for impact because it is about to get ugly. It doesn't matter that the criticisms will not feature questions of fan support or actual attendance numbers. Those who we called out will use this opportunity to strike by pointing out every flaw in the Jaguars ugly execution in beautiful San Diego.
And every word will be justly deserved.
This is the price you pay for fielding an NFL football team and these are the blows you must withstand as a fan. If you didn't check out Wind Sprints, I basically assured a victory. I was completely convinced the Denver game symbolized a new era and that the pacific time zone was nothing to fear. Foolish, foolish man.
It is tough when you put it out there, knowing that you may have to eat those words.
Thankfully I had Twitter during the game, my cathartic outlet for all things that frustrated me. While the Jaguars were giving away the ball, points and yards like business cards at a convention, I had my Jaguar family to vent with. We oscillated between blaming the coaches to blaming the players, anything to help get us through the catastrophe. Each comment made with the back story of faith put in a team who would do us proud.
When the dust cleared all that was left was an evaluation of the event itself and the cold reality that there is still much work to do. Where would you like to start?
- What happened to the Terrence Knighton and Tyson Alualu?
- Where did the linebackers go on passing downs?
- Why was Maurice Jones-Drew too often seen on the sidelines?
- Was it play calling or execution?
- What happened to Mike Thomas?
- Is Derek Cox injured or benched?
- Did David Garrard look tentative and confused?
- Where the wide receivers able to get open?
- How did Rashad Jennings have more receiving and rushing yards than Jones-Drew?
- What now to do now that Luke McCown is injured?
I share David's sentiment when he said, "Honestly if I could erase my memory from today, I would."
We must take a step back and asses the situation. There is no true veteran playmaker at wide receiver and the rest are unproven second year players. The defensive line consists of young talent and is relatively thin. The line backing corps was patched with Kirk Morrison and contains only one standout in Darryl Smith. Apart from Rashean Mathis the defensive backs are the next piece to be modified.
Add to that an offense line being built from the outside in, a middle of the road quarterback trying to mange it all, and you have nothing more than a team in transition.
Let that sink in and try not to read it as an insult because it is a thickness we'll need for the rest of the year. The schedule doesn't get any easier and the team will not be adding any magical player which will make it all go away. At best there is the hope Aaron Kampmann will continue to stay healthy and be a bright spot on the defense, along with the continued growth of the second and first year players.
As I noted in the Perspective article, it will become a matter of how you choose to see the team. If after game two you're ready to ditch the quarterback and the entire coaching staff then you probably had hopes a bit higher than your reach. Might I suggest you make sure the only thing that can be written or said about this team is how they perform and not how their supported.
Next week the Eagles come to town and historically Jacksonville has done well against them. Also consider this: after both loses on the west coast the Jaguars came home and won the following weekend. It is a 16 game season so you'd better dress for it.
It's all there is to do,
Hanging on to you is all I can do.
Hanging On To You - Jay Farrar
- Brian Fullford