We're walkin' in to the fields.
We're walkin in to the forest.
The moon is before us.
We're holdin' hands in the rain
S-sayin' words like I love you
D-d-d'you love me? Yeah
"Kick Drum Heart" - The Avett Brothers
I write this because it makes me happy. I write this because it appears some of you do not want to be happy. I write this because some of you want to support a banner of profanity flying high in the beautiful blue sky of Denver, CO. I write this because when the fire burns so bright it melts your skin and demands as many venues as possible to share its brightness. I write this because in the end what matters most is that you are respected. I write this because I know there are sore players waking up this morning and probably feeling good about the team for the first time this season. I write this because there are millions of average people out there trying not to be average with more passion than mediocre people are exercising.
But above all things I write this because for a moment there I thought we could all be standing in Jacksonville International Airport, congratulating this team on another upset of a much better Broncos team. And, quite honestly, I am a bit angry at myself for not showing up at the JIA to thank them for such a valiant effort.
Parents, coaches and organizations who do not believe in keeping score of games because kids can get hurt feelings disgust me (more about that below). Getting up after you fall down is elemental to being a successful person (also to be found below). And when that person, or people, find themselves face first in the mud you know what they need? People who love them to stretch out that hand, tell them they fought hard and that next time they just might reach that goal.
Or you could look down on them and remind them they are losers. Hope that makes you feel better.
"It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up." - Vince Lombardi
With some critical of Gus Bradley as a coach, this team went into Denver and played possibly the best game it could. While it's easy to gang up on anyone critical of the coach, I find it important to be cautiously optimistic. And let's be honest, the body of work up to know has not fostered significant confidence. Every week we have been stretching our arms out as much as possible to reach that fruit of promise. It has been there but around it walks bugs with disease. Yet Bradley has remained the Siren of optimism, and at the point when it appears the ship is going to be dashed upon the rocks we get hope of victory 55 minutes into the game. Compete at something and tell me how easy it is to get up for the event knowing success is near impossible. If you are one fully invested in winning being the definitive qualifier, I beg you to reconsider because you might be missing something special.
I have quit listening to sports talk radio for the most part. I have quit following sports talk radio personalities for the most part. Because of this I am surely missing the stones and arrows flung at Henne for his late game, 4th down decision. Twitter seemed split on whether he made the right call, but Twitter did it in the heat of the moment. I thought it was the right call. Blackmon was playing like a lava flow (not an analogy to his speed) and with little time left it was imperative to score quickly. Would he have gotten the first down? Probably. Is it fair to criticize how slow that drive was in general? Absolutely. But in the end the quarterback needs to make the throw to the open receiver in the end zone. It was not the best pass and maybe a fresher Blackmon makes the catch. Sweet lord the kid must have been tired at that point. Obviously we all will not agree on what the "right" thing to do was but cut Henne some slack.
With all that said, you know who does not throw that pass? Marcus Mariota. Johnny Manziel. Teddy Bridgewater. Brett Hundley. Tajh Boyd. What is that I am hearing? Do you have an opinion on who the best quarterback (possibly) in the coming draft is? Oh really. I "talked" with Stites on Twitter about how my quarterback crush seems to change from week to week. As a UCLA fan I want Hundley to stay another year, but I also think he needs it. This year I have seen some play making from Aaron Murray and while the Missouri game is not a fair means to judge him considering the injuries Georgia is dealing with at their skill positions, the value at number one just does not seem to present itself. People smarter than me have offered their evaluation and I have tucked it into the draft part of my brain. But I am pretty sure any of the players listed above would have led us to a victory yesterday. No offense Chad.
What more do you want MJD to do? The holes are not there but he keeps grinding. He could very easily toss his helmet to the ground and sit this season out, preparing for next year. Give the foot more time. Keep the body fresh. But he is not. Maybe pride does come before the fall, but it also qualifies any player I would like to have on my team. Any player I would like to cheer for. He still drops his shoulder. He still keeps those short, thick pistons pumping. To start the season my sentiment was that Jordan Todman could serve as an efficient starter. Pretty sure I was wrong. Pretty sure MJD leads by example.
Did you see this news story from last month? The Northern California Federation Youth League instituted a mercy rule penalty. According to the article, "It’s not hurting the kids, it's teaching them compassion for the other team, it’s teaching them sportsmanship." Punishing someone for playing as hard as they can is teaching them sportsmanship and compassion? I'm being compassionate when I demand less from the person across the line of scrimmage? From the coach across the field? Maybe I should not work as hard at my marriage because it might make another husband feel bad with respect to how he treats his wife, or that he does not have the means to treat his wife like I do mine. Maybe I should do less at my job for fear someone else might get fired. Or maybe, just maybe, those who get upset should not be part of organized sports.
Max Scherzer should be allowed one punch to the gut of every Tigers relief pitcher that aided in that monumental gag job last night. Sorry. I know that is not Jaguars related but I had to get that off my chest.
Imagine my surprise when I looked at the box score to see that Ace Sanders caught only one pass all game. It is not that going into the game I held the opinion that he was a critical piece of this team being able to run with the wild ponies. Rather it is that during the game there was much cheering for Ace becoming the reliable third option and helping the passing game being that Cecil Shorts was injured. My problem is that apparently Sanders is Mike Brown. Sanders is Brown. Brown is Sanders. 12 looks like 18. 18 looks like 12. DAMN YOU DREADS!
You know what is worse than a Tebow banner over Mile High? This miserable Jaguars fan at Mile High. We will always have Seattle. THOSE are Jaguars fans.
With all due respect Mr. Peter King, how is Justin Blackmon not one of your "Players of the Week"? I get Brady. I get Rodgers. But with the weight of the biggest spread in NFL history as the narrative, Blackmon single handedly makes the Jaguars a potential upset maker; in only his second game back from suspension. Beyond that his MMQB is a great read. You will get an Adam Podlesh reference, an epic John Fox post game quote, some positive words in evaluation of Blackmon and his thought on who might be throwing to him next year. MMQB.
This from Yahoo Sports: "Among other things, that game is being billed as Denver's toughest test to date. Turns out, the Jaguars gave the Broncos plenty to sweat over, as well." I read that as they gave Peyton Manning his toughest test to date. There were two fears I had going into this game: 1) the Jaguars linebackers would get abused in the intermediate passing game and 2) Knowshon Moreno would prove the to be the knife that killed us. Even if you take away that un-Posluszny like interception for a touchdown (and sorry Peyton, that was more a great play than a bad pass/read), the Denver receiving corps was kept in check, all things considered, and earned every catch courtesy of an attacking Jaguars defense. Yes they dropped too many, but the fan in me will attribute that to wandering eyes. As for Moreno...his stats were not telling of his timely role. But you have to love the respect our Jaguars earned.
Hope you enjoyed this Zoltan!!! :)