Alas, the woeful 2016 Jacksonville Jaguars season comes to a close next Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. While I would love to be talking about which starters to rest this week and what scenarios would give us home field advantage --instead I'll be discussing some of the things that I think the Jaguars should do next week to close out the season. Now, I don't necessarily think these things will happen, but I certainly think that these changes will benefit the Jaguars in the long run.
Play Corey Grant more
Although Grant ran nine times for 27 yards, he looks explosive and quick on those runs. A couple of times, I thought he was *this close* to busting through for a big gain. He offers intriguing potential and a different dynamic to this offense. He and Marqise Lee are easily the fastest players on our team, so I want to see Grant get an extended look at running back. Let's face it, this game means nothing other than divisional bragging rights, so why not play Corey Grant and see what he has to offer?
Get an extended look at Sterling and Koyack
Neal Sterling and Ben Koyack have performed well in their limited roles. Koyack's blocking prowess has helped alleviate concerns about the run game while Sterling has made some tough catches over the last few weeks. I don't know why the Jaguars insist on having Alex Ellis out there because he keeps committing dumb penalties, but I'd much rather have Sterling and Koyack to see what I've got at the tight end position before the offseason.
Last week, Jack got 24 snaps, the most he's had since Buffalo. I hope interim head coach Marrone will continue to give Myles Jack a bigger role, regardless of the score or situation. There is no benefit in keeping him on the sideline, because the best teacher is experience. Marrone should give Jack more snaps with 2017 in mind. He's a top-five talent, and it's time to see Dave Caldwell's investment pay off.
Start Josh Johnson and Jarrod Wilson
Before you jump to any conclusions, I think it's worth discussing this idea. Of course, Tashaun Gipson was brought in to be the franchise free safety that every team covets: a ball hawking, field general ala Earl Thomas. He's had one interception -- off of a Jalen Ramsey tip. Sure, the pass defense is vastly improved, and I'm sure that Gipson was a factor in that, but it's the end of a 3-12 season.
This game is essentially meaningless apart from a tryout for Doug Marrone. Why not play some intriguing young players and see what you have? Johnson had 41 snaps last week, and Wilson has been excellent on special teams and at the goal line. It would certainly behoove Dave to have some tape on these two before heading into the offseason to see what he has to work with. I think there is great value in playing these two, and getting an extended look at the quality of our depth
Remember when Sen'Derrick Marks tore his ACL in the Houston season finale in 2014? We weren't playing for anything, but that injury effectively cost Marks his 2015 campaign as well. I think that the Jaguars should make the aforementioned changes for the Colts game if nothing else than to prevent injury. However, I recognize that this is a controversial issue as many fans want to see the best product on Sundays regardless of the circumstances. In this case however, I think these changes, just for the Colts game, should do the Jaguars more harm than good over the long run.