In general, I rarely watch Monday Night Football because I have other things to watch on TV. However, when presented with a chance to watch my Jags here in NY, I do not pass that up. However, with the game I anticipated, I can honestly say I was really hesitant about actually watching the game last night. Let's just say I am glad I did not pass up that opportunity.
What I saw was not all good, but even the bad of what I saw still has me optimistic.
A couple of my standout thoughts are listed below, and be warned that they might not be as positive as one would expect following a in over a 4-1 team.
- Regarding ESPN calling this a Ravens loss and not a Jaguars win: I definitely know when I see a "loss by one team" vs. a "win by the other team". Last night was definitely not the case, although I do think that it was not fully a Jaguars win. Jags did not play a great game overall, and in some way the Ravens could have easily won the game if not for certain thins they did. Having said that, you cannot deny how well the Jaguars defense played, and how they made an NFL offense look really bad for a huge portion of the game.
- Regarding Blaine Gabbert: The good was there and the bad was there. I think he looked better, although much improvement is needed, in the face of pressure. Gabbert for the most part handled the Ravens pressure relativeely well, and for a rookie QB, I really must commend him. However, I was very upset in particular with some of these easy throws that he just doesn't make. There was one throw in particular that was a simple 3 step drop and then he threw left to Hill I do believe. The throw was pretty awful if you ask me and needs to be made by a professional QB. Everything said and done last night, I literally came out of the game pondering if Gabbert will ever be more than a very good game manager at the NFL level. I really was not as a whole impressed with what I saw out of him.
- Regarding the defensive effort: Not much negative to say here. That defensive effort was stellar. They contained Ray Rice beautifully and halted one of the most dynamic RBs in the league right now. The front 7 were also pretty solid in the passing game, however, it would be so nice to have a more dynamic sack threat than what is currently on the roster. Overall, Mincey and Posluzny stood out to me last night as just being young guys who are going to be major contributors to this front 7 for a long time. As for the secondary, while they were pretty great all game, I can't say that the Ravens WRs are so great that the CBs warrant major credit for last night. I am not going to say they deserve no credit, and I think that Mathis and Cox played great. As for the safeties, I definitely can't complain there. I really like this defensive unit and am very excited to see what they can do in the future.
- Regarding MJD's fumbles: Nothing to really say. MJD needs to hold onto the ball better!!
- Regarding the coaching/playcalling: ESPN was praising the playcalling of Dirk Koetter. While it was not bad, I would not go anywhere near calling it good. I found early on that that playcalling was way too conservative. Later on, when the Jags were up, I could understand a more conservative approach, but I still think that aggressive early was the way to go. As for the defensive side, all I can really say is Mel Tucker really surprised me this season. He really knows what he is doing. I hope to see him manage to stay on this coaching staff even after it (hopefully) gets gutted at season's end. As for JDR, all I really have to say about him is that I do not feel like last night warrants giving him much more of a safety net. The team played well, but everything that has happened up to this point is too strong to allow once win, regardless of MNF and the 4-1 Ravens, to change things. Also, that challenge of Flacco and the supposed safety was just atrocious. You got to see or have you replay guy realize that it was so far from being a safety that a challenge would be impossible to win.