By: Rob Johnson @RJ1452
There was little protection for the quarterback. There were too few completions. There were minimal rushing yards gained. There was no pass rush. There was poor coverage. There were missed tackles.
Most glaringly, there was no leadership.
What player, what coach, and/or what member of management is going to emerge as the leader of on-field activities for the Jacksonville Jaguars?
The season is far from over, yet there is no hope for a playoff appearance. With continued performances like Sunday's 27-10 loss to the Bengals, the Jags will be battling for the first pick in the 2013 draft. While that may seem like a good option for some, it's not completely ideal for the organization.
The loss to the Bengals was more embarrassing than the thrashing by the Texans, because the Bengals are not that much better than the Jags. Sunday's game was very winnable.
If Kyle Bosworth doesn't fumble after making an interception, if Rashean Mathis doesn't drop an interception, if the coaching staff doesn't get cute with a first-play, five-wide set, if Maurice Jones-Drew had a lot more carries, if Blaine Gabbert doesn't miss an open receiver in the end zone... I could go on, but I won't. No one player or coach loses, or wins, games for a real team, so someone, anyone, must step up and change the Jaguars.
While the lack of talent on the team becomes more obvious each weak, Mike Mularkey was well aware of the roster before taking the job. Obviously, injuries have been detrimental to the team, but Mularkey referred to a plan for the season in his press conference yesterday. For now, technique coaching will take the forefront, as Mularkey mentioned that the one-on-one breakdowns led to broken plays against the Bengals.
Mularkey also spoke about missed opportunities for game-changing plays. That can't be coached. Either players have the special ability to be playmakers or they don't. Someone in a Jags jersey must start exploiting an advantage of or forcing mistakes by opposing teams and lead the Jaguars on the field.
Who will that be... MJD, Gabbert, Mathis, Brad Meester, Marcedes Lewis, Jeremy Mincey, Russell Allen? Who has the ability or the desire to command this group? That is a billion-dollar question.
There are four games until the mid-point of the season. The Jaguars will be heavy under dogs in all of those games. A 1-7 record will leave fans apathetic and EverBank field empty. All of the work Shahid Khan has been done leading up to the 2012 season will be meaningless, if the team isn't competitive.
Should no leader emerge, and the Jags spin out of control, Mr. Khan will have to find new leadership in all areas of on-field performance. There should already be a given in one department, but a single change may not be the correct move.
Fans have proven that they are "All In." Players, coaches and Mr. Khan must prove the same thing.
• The play of the game for the Jaguars was made by Jaxson. His kickoff return catch may have been the best play that I've ever seen from a mascot.
• Hochuli! Hochuli! Hochuli! Fans in attendance were able to see celebrity referee Ed Hochuli. Unfortunately, that turned out to be the highlight of the day, behind Jaxson's catch, of course.
• Justin Blackmon must start playing like a #5 draft choice. I hope he has realized that his talent needs elite NFL work ethic in order for him to succeed.
• Seeing Rashad Jennings get the ball before MJD made me wonder if the Jags were trying to send a message to MJD. I've written before that I want both backs in the game together, but there's no need to get too cute, especially after opening the game with an empty backfield.
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