JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Which Jaguars team will show up on Sunday?
We’ve seen several versions of the Jaguars through the first half of the season. The team that plays close to it’s talent level showed up in London, against Green Bay and last week in Kansas City. In the other games the Jaguars went through long stretches of listless, non-production. That’s why every time you think they might get on a roll they end up with disappointment. “That’s what we were hoping,” Gus Bradley said this week. “Build upon and rise above. Keep pushing that standard of where we’re going. I think the whole team needs to feel it. Offense, defense, special teams. I felt like that this week, that we made great strides there.”
Notice I didn’t say “Bortles accuracy” or “Bortles turnovers” but just “Bortles.” Because it’s all of it when it comes to being a quarterback. He’s a shadow of what he was last year. He showed some improvement against Kansas City but still isn’t playing or acting like a winning quarterback in the NFL. It’s as if the network broadcasts are focusing on Blake after every play just in case he jumps up and down like a middle school student when things don’t go right.
Last week the Jaguars defense held Kansas City to a 1 for 13 conversion rate on third down, their best performance this year. They unveiled a couple of new exotic blitzes against the Chiefs that either got to Nick Foles or pressured him in to throwing it before he wanted to. Brock Osweiler is much like Foles in that he doesn’t have the mobility some other quarterbacks have so you know where he’ll be. Stuff the run, pressure the quarterback and perhaps create some turnovers of your own gives the Jaguars a chance at winning.
4. Salute to Service
While it’s not part of the game, it is part of being at the game and the NFL’s Salute to Service week is especially important in Jacksonville. With our long military tradition, any Jacksonville sports team should recognize how important the men and women who serve are to our culture. The team sent players to Mayport to bowl with some families on Monday night and to NAS Jax on Tuesday as well. Wednesday they invited some Navy families to the stadium to play video games. Gus Bradley has his own connection to the Navy through his family. “My dad passed away a couple years ago, but he was in the Navy so I think it’s always something big in our family as we reflect back to it and my uncles,” he explained. “We have a lot of cousins that were involved in it. I think when you take this time there’s things that resonate that you look back at that brings up memories or conversations with them. And then just to live in Jacksonville, all the servicemen and women that are here in this city, it’s a privilege to get to know them and see them at some of our practices and training camp. That’s what I think makes Jacksonville so special. We live here and kind of relate to some family members.”