Second Half Chad Henne
Chad Henne looked good in the first half. As stated earlier he was generally good about getting the ball down the field and making plays despite a few miscues in the overall offense. The team came out in the second half with all the momentum, despite an Eagle's touchdown drive, and excitement to keep pushing for the win. And then the team goes three and out, including an all too familiar check-down on third and long. And then two more three and outs followed. The collapse wasn't all on Henne, there were a few dropped passes and the run game never really got going, but he was flat out bad. He had multiple batted balls in the second half and seemed to never throw another good ball past 10 yards. He did continue to look down field, at least for the most part, but he could never connect and often didn't give the receivers a chance. We saw both the ceiling and the floor for Chad Henne this week and it looks like we're in for another rocky season with him under center.
While the passing offense was good for at least half of the game, the running game never really got going at all. The team finished with 64 yards on 25 carries, good for an average of 2.6 yards per carry. The main cause of this was a poor overall job by the O-line at run blocking. Players would constantly be in the backfield or stuffing our running backs at the line and there were very few times that the Jaguars got a push up front. The run game has been bad all preseason and looking back it was pretty unlikely that it would improve this week, but it is going to make it harder to be successful if the Jaguar's can't turn it around in the next few weeks. The one brighter spot was seeing the work that Toby Gerhart put into each of his runs. It didn't matter if he was getting stuffed at the line or trying to break through into the secondary, he seemed to always fight for that extra yard and put his body into helping the team. A lot is expected of Gerhart and we haven't seen if he can handle it yet, but there is promise he can do better with a little more help.
The entire line did a poor job in the run game, but McClendon didn't do well overall either. Not only did he grade out tied for the worst blocker by Pro Football Focus, he also struggled enough in pass blocking to grade out as the worst blocker for the game. He had a few high snaps, though thankfully they weren't completely over Henne's head, and committed two penalties including a false start where he didn't even snap the ball at all. He is still learning the position and will have some mistakes, but it's almost looking like it might be too much to handle for the young lineman.
Safety Play without Cyprien
We all knew that Johnathan Cyprien is a cornerstone of our secondary, but i don't think anyone realized just how bad things could get without him. There were signs that they would be shaky right after his injury, but the first big indicator of things to come was on a long touchdown run by Darren Sproles. On 4th and short Sproles takes it up the middle and the safeties were nowhere to be seen. Both Winston Guy and Josh Evans came up to the line and completely blew assignment on stopping Sproles, they never even had a chance to touch him. The second play came on a 36 yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz, where there was no one to cover him running straight up the seem. This isn't entirely on the secondary, the Eagles called the right play and Nick Foles put it on the money, but it was too easy of a touchdown to give up. The last big play was the worst, a 68 yard touchdown to Jeremy Maclin that put a dagger in the Jaguar's hopes of winning the game. By the time Maclin caught the ball the closet Jaguar's player was 10 yards behind him with no chance of catching up. The worst part is that Cyprien most likely won't play Sunday, meaning the team will have a hard time against the deep ball next week against DeSean Jackson, who is already one of the better deep ball threats in the game.
Getting off the Field
The Jaguars defense played great last week but they still need to work on getting off the field on 3rd and 4th down. The 3rd quarter saw the Eagles go 5 for 8 on 3rd and 4th down conversions, including going 5 for 6 on their two touchdown drives. The failed stops kept the team on the field longer and further wore them down to leave them vulnerable to the Eagle's fast paced offense. The main cause of the defense staying on the field was the offense not being able to convert themselves, but if they could have gotten a stop early on they really could have helped themselves out.