JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – So far, this Jaguars' season has been like going to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with no expectations. You sit down, and the appetizer really surprises you. Then you see the drink selection and it’s better than expected. Then you get to the main course--and it’s been warmed up in the microwave.
That’s the feeling I get right now. When the season began, I thought this was, maybe, a four-win team. But after seeing what they did against the Colts, and even the Titans, I thought, “Maybe they have the firepower to score enough to overcome the defensive deficiencies.”
But Thursday night was a blast of cold air. Here comes reality.
If the Jaguars had lost 33-30, as they did in Nashville, I wouldn’t feel the way I do. To be fair, it would have been easy to see the Jaguars lose their first two games and then win against the Dolphins. We would be saying, “wasn’t that nice for them? It’s something to build on."
Sitting here in 2020, I’m a sucker for hope. So here’s some. DJ Chark should be back soon--maybe this week. He clearly makes a difference for the Jaguars offense. The Jaguars seem to have found a remarkable hidden gem in James Robinson. The offensive line has done a very good job in the running game, and Josh Allen really hasn’t gotten into a grove rushing the passer. There is some upside to this team. They are in need of more experience on both sides of the ball and a pass rush. And better play out of the secondary. And about twelve more things, but, you know, baby steps.
The two biggest storylines of this season are answering if Garner Minshew is the franchise quarterback and whether the Jaguars have enough young foundation pieces for the future. Those questions are both about the future. As for the here and now, the questions are about whether the Jaguars can find some kind of answers on defense, or can score enough to overcome giving up nearly 30 points per game.
Since it’s 2020, I’m also a realist. I think I was right before the season began.