Sitting at 2-5 at the bye week for the 2015 season, the Jacksonville Jaguars have shown quite a bit and we’ve learned a lot about the team, the roster and the coaching staff.
We’ll skip talking about the coaching staff at this point, because owner Shad Khan has already stated he’s not going to fire anyone mid-season, which is probably the overall smart play. Regardless of your opinion of Gus Bradley, that’s one thing that isn’t going to change at the bye week. We can however, look at some things on the roster that should probably be assessed during the bye week.
Here are a few things I think the Jaguars should do during the bye week:
Get a new kicker.
The team has already confirmed that they won’t rule out a change at the kicker position and will be working out some players. Jason Meyers might have a strong leg that’s valuable in the NFL, but he’s shown despite that asset he’s not a reliable kicker. He’s missed three field goals on the season, including two game winning chances in the same game, and multiple extra point attempts. The extra point attempts were nearly very costly too, namely against the Buffalo Bills last Sunday. I don’t know who’s out there available and I don’t really care who they sign if they end up making a change, but I know it’s not going to be Josh Scobee so we can go ahead and kabash that right now. To the point though, I think they need to make a change. If they want to talk about accountability, you actually have to hold people accountable.
Put Zane Beadles on the bench.
I defended Zane Beadles quite a bit last year and during the offseason, because truth be told he wasn’t that bad. This season however, it’s a different story. He’s clearly the weak link in the offensive line, especially in the running game. He’s given up the most sacks on the line and in general has more bad spots than good. Tyler Shatley showed out well in the preseason and seemed to be the team’s first choice as the backup swing guard, but I’m not sure if he has an injury or what, but they’ve been reluctant to make a change. I think if Brandon Linder hadn’t gone to IR a change may have already happened, but at this point I think you need to give it a shot. Worst case scenario you just go back to Beadles for the rest of the season.
Forget that you benched Davon House.
The Davon House benching ended predictably in a disaster. Dwayne Gratz was picked on by the Bills and a receiver who’s name I can’t even remember. House made a few plays during his limited snaps on Sunday, and as we talked about when it happened, he was very low on the list of people who needed to be benched. House isn’t a big issue for the Jaguars secondary and has done remarkably well considering the lack of a pass rush. Forget that this move happened and keep House in the starting lineup.
Figure out the safety position.
Josh Evans is average as the day is long and Sergio Brown seems to be what we all thought, a special teams player and depth. Jonathan Cyprien has had his issues as well, but the biggest change the team can make is getting a healthy James Sample at the free safety position. He’s been slowed down with injuries, but when he was able to play he flashed a bit. Figuring out that position can go a long way in helping the defense overall.
Let Dan Skuta, Jared Odrick, Ryan Davis and Tyson Alualu rush the passer more.
Chris Clemons and Andre Branch just aren’t getting the job done rushing the passer. Clemons plays his ass off, but it’s clear he’s not the guy he was even last season. Mix it up a bit. I don’t care about special teams snaps, but let Ryan Davis play more in base formations. Let Odrick loose a bit more, rather than having him set the edge and contain. Use Dan Skuta more as a blitzer and at the LEO position in the lightning package. I’d also experiment a littler but with a defensive line of Alualu/Miller/Marks/Odrick in base formations. Alualu has the most QB pressures of the defense and when he’s let loose and rushed from the edge, he’s actually looked pretty good doing it. If you’re not going to blitz a lot, which I don’t think they will just because of who they are, you’ve got to do something to mix it.
Play Nic Jacobs over Marcedes Lewis.
I love Marcedes Lewis, but he just doesn’t have it anymore. He’s a non-factor in the passing game and the one area he was great at, blocking, he’s just average at at this point. Nic Jacobs has flashed a few times in his time with the Jaguars and I think he offers just as much, if not more than Lewis at this point. They’re always going to use a blocker and a receiver, but it’s time to start giving Jacobs some more snaps as the in-line tight end in those formations.
Put Marqise Lee on injured reserve.
I assumed Lee would be out until after the bye week, but a recent report seems to indicate he may not even be back following the bye. "I wouldn’t put a time frame on him," Bradley told ESPN’s Mike DiRocco. "I wish I could, but a lot of it depends on how he feels this week and next week."
I mean… come on. Just put him on IR already and stop carrying this zombie roster spot. Let Lee get healthy and try it again next season. You’re not really missing him at the moment and you already lost one solid player (LaRoy Reynolds, who’s now starting for the Chicago Bears) because you had to carry an extra receiver because Lee wasn’t ready. This is probably going to be something that nags him all season, so just let him rehab it properly and try again next year. You’re getting Rashaad Greene back after the bye as well, so you’re fine at the receiver position.
Just off the top of my head, those are my suggestions. What do you think they should do?