The Jacksonville Jaguars throttled the Baltimore Ravens in London on Sunday, extending their London winning streak to three games. It was a completely different Jaguars team than we saw the previous week against the Tennessee Titans, as the Jaguars offense was efficient and scored a lot of touchdowns.
Here are three things I think we learned:
Marrone has killer instinct
As I wrote about on Monday, it’s pretty clear that one of the biggest differences between Doug Marrone and Gus Bradley is Marrone will go for the throat. He sees the chum in the water and he attacks. The fake punt was clear of that, but also the fact that the Jaguars defense did not pull back until the Ravens very clearly gave up on the game.
It’s a small “no duh” thing that most teams have, but under Bradley that was part of why they never “learned to win”. The point differential for the Jaguars under Marrone, dating back to last season when he took over, is eye popping.
Defense feasts on suspect offensive lines
The Jaguars defense is good. Very good. Bordering on elite category. It’s a bit too soon for me to give them that label, but the one big thing so far has been going against suspect offensive lines and quarterbacks who aren’t “mobile” have been totally suffocated. The team has enough variety and depth on the defensive line that lower end offensive lines can’t really setup to prepare for something like... a lot of power rushes versus speed off the edge, and vice versa. Not only that, but the secondary for the Jaguars has been beyond excellent.
The addition of Barry Church has shored up a lot of the issues the team had with Johnathan Cyprien and allows guys like Tashaun Gipson to have more freedom. Heading into a week with the New York Jets, it’s another chance to totally suffocate a team.
Peak Bortles is good
I’m not going to eat crow on Blake Bortles just yet, because I don’t believe he’s consistent enough to be the answer, but on Sunday he was excellent. He still has throws where when the ball leaves his had I say “oh no” to myself, but compared to the first few weeks those were few and far between on Sunday. I’ve said it before, but Bortles is a peaks and valleys type of player, where when he’s hot he’s really on, but when he’s off he’s just downright awful.
There seems to be no plateau or middle ground. On Sunday, we got peak Bortles and it shows what the team can do with a good, confident quarterback. I think the Jaguars setup Bortles to have high confidence early, with the sideline throw to Marqise Lee and it snowballed. If the Jaguars can get that Bortles more often than not, they should continue to push for the AFC South. Teams are always going to load up against the run game, so the offense will go as Bortles goes.