It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at Big Cat Country. We're only a few days away from the madness and adventure of the Christmas/New Years holiday season and that means gift giving. With only a few "shopping days" left, let's take a look at some Jaguars news and notes with a "gift guide" perspective.
Offensive Line: The Gift that Keeps on Giving
The single most unheralded part of the Jacksonville Jaguars this season is without a doubt the offensive line. With all the excitement and disappointment of the Pro Bowl and Fred Taylor, it seems like the powerful play of the O-Line is lost.
Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew decided to do something to let them know just how important they are. You see, Fred gave everyone on the Offensive Line MacBook Laptops, and Jones-Drew gave the ipod touch. First off, high five to Taylor and Jones-Drew for being Mac users. I'm a Mac guy myself, so I'm glad to see Fred and MJD sharing the love. It's also nice to know that they're taking care of the guys who are making our running game such a threat. They deserve it too, our line is allowing us to have 7 games with 150 yards rushing or more. They've gone two games in a row without allowing a sack. The Jaguars have 6 games with 400 yards or more in offensive yards.
None of this happens if we don't win the battle in the trenches. None of this happens if the Offensive Line and Coach Andy Heck don't adjust for the injuries and issues that have popped up through the season.
Jaguars.com does a nice job today in illustrating some of the "unheard stories" of the line. Specifically, Vince Manuwai, the Right Guard, and Mo Williams at Left Guard are recognized for playing particularly well. It's going to be a shame with Williams, he's an unrestricted free agent, he's a natural right tackle, and Jacksonville paid a lot of money to get Tony Pashos, so it's unlikely that we'd spend the money to keep him, if it means having him play guard.
Everything the Jaguars have done this season starts in the trenches, our line play has been nearly perfect, and certainly will be instrumental in however deep we go in the playoffs.
Cardiac Cats Create Constancy and Alliteration:
If you're a regular reader of the site you know that I've got a lot of respect for the folks over at Football Outsiders. They do things with stats that blow me away, and their Football Prospectus is a great gift for the football lover in your life. Even though the 2007 season's almost over, the book is still full of good stuff. But I'm not here to promote their book, I'd instead like to call attention to a table they created this week. You'll notice to your right that I've placed a chart that shows the Jaguars DVOA performance. DVOA is the custom metric of Football Outsiders and is explained in full here. For our purposes, know that the higher the DVOA, the better a team is doing. The thick teal line with the yellow squares indicates each weeks DVOA performance. The curved black line is a trend line. The Thin line is last season's DVOA average.
Notice a difference between the two lines? Last year the Jaguars were on a roller coaster of performances, going from extremely good and absolutely terrible. It was about as inconsistent as possible. Compare that to this season, where the fluctuations are minimized, especially since week 10, and that the Jaguars are trending upwards at exactly the right time. Compare that to the Steelers who are falling apart rapidly.
It's Cold in Missouri, Reebok Helps:
To your left you see a Jacket. Not just any jacket, but the Reebok Zero Degrees "Conflict Hoodie".
. As the Official Outfitter of the NFL, Reebok was kind enough to send me this Hoodie to check it out and see what I thought. Frankly, I'm a Floridian that's been transplanted into Missouri, it's cold here, and my "cold-weather" clothes weren't cutting it. I got the "Conflict Hoodie" a few days before we got a bit of the wet white stuff on the ground and I was ever so thankful. It's pretty stylish, though a little flamboyant for my tastes. The Pockets are deep, the material feels good to the touch, and it's even pretty water resistant. If you've got a Jaguar fan in your life that lives north of Jacksonville, I'd encourage you to take a look at this hoodie. I'm not one to lead you astray on something as important as staying warm. You can buy the Official Hoodie of Big Cat Country a here.
That's all I've got for now, I've got a bunch going on with the approaching holidays, so bear with me.