It’s hard to believe that 20 seconds could be the difference between a winning season and another losing stanza in the Jaguars storied history.
Following the 26-23 overtime loss to Minnesota Sunday afternoon, it can be said the defense let this team down, not the offense, which was one of the worst in the league in 2011.
20 seconds to victory. That’s all the team needed. 20 seconds to give new head coach Mike Mularkey a victory, to prove Blaine Gabbert was a better quarterback than last year and a 1-0 record coming home against the Houston Texans.
In 20 seconds, everything changed.
And while pundits on local talk radio shows pointed fingers and placed blame on different areas of the team as a whole ( some even thought maybe a rusty Maurice Jones-Drew was to blame for not doing more in the offensive scheme), the proof that the defense was in need of help all throughout the game spoke volumes about how this team could be a reversal of fortune this year.
Could this be trend with this team in 2012?
The Jaguars defense, led by coordinator Mel Tucker, finished in the top six in the NFL last year. But maybe that lofty ranking is a misnomer. Strong performances in the first half of the year allowed the Jaguars, led by defensive end Jeremy Mincey and linebackers Paul Posluszny and Daryl Smith, was besieged by injuries so much so that at the end of the season, street free agents were starting for the team.
When you get further into the season, it becomes harder to move from your lofty perch and therefore, the stats look good and the ranking seems great, but the real questions about accountability lie beneath the surface.
The Jaguars did sack Christian Ponder twice on Sunday, but there needed to be more effort on run defense, a staple of this team last season. Adrian Peterson is one of the best running backs of all time, but he ran for 84 yards and scored two touchdowns on a surgically repaired knee that may not have been 100 percent.
Even with one of the best in the game, your front seven should stop a guy who is 9 months removed from major knee construction. The Jaguars prided themselves on a good run defense last year. Now, it seems they have back peddled.
Could a role reversal be in the future?
It seems odd that we are talking about a unit we held so highly a few months ago, but now I see major flaws and like other fans, I am concerned. If this is a trend and the Jaguars' defense has a hard time with run containment, isn’t Houston licking its chops as it comes to EverBank field next week?
Arian Foster and Ben Tate must be dancing right now.
Concern, yes. Panic, no. It’s the mantra we should follow until there is a direct balance between both units.
Then we can worry about more important things, like a run to the playoffs.