Jacksonville Jaguars Should Not Be Counted out Against Houston Texans
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When your team gets blown out in a game, you get really upset, but you somehow get over it pretty quickly because you know they aren't that good.
When your team gets beaten when they had the lead with twenty seconds left to play and were kicking off, it sticks with you for a little while.
Though it is Wednesday, and I have had three full days now to get over the fact that the Jaguars blew their first regular season game, I just can't seem to fully let it go.
Between the fact that the Jaguars are the better team and that Josh Scobee couldn't kick the ball out of the end-zone on the final drive of the regulation, it's a loss that doesn't fairly tell the true story of the first week of Jaguars football.
The feel of the game wasn't quite right even when the Jaguars were winning.
Blaine Gabbert misses a wide open Justin Blackmon and then Scobee gets an extra point blocked. It was as if the team was supposed to lose this game.
The icing on the cake was the fumbled snap hand off by Brad Meester to Gabbert.
Upon completing a bomb to Cecil Shorts to go up 23-20 with twenty seconds left wasn't even enough.
Luckily the game tying field goal by apparent rookie of the year Blair Walsh came so quick, that as a fan, there really wasn't much time to fully celebrate the fact that Blaine Gabbert threw a deep touchdown in crunch time to a guy who didn't show up last season.
Something that he couldn't do at all last season.
Who needs to step up from week one?
The game was over before you knew it, and to swallow the fact that a rookie field goal kicker did what he did to the Jaguars in his first ever regular season game, quite frankly, sucks.
Moving on from more than enough complaining about a loss that's in the books, the Jaguars welcome the Houston Texans this weekend in the first divisional game of the season for Jacksonville.
The Texans did what everyone knew they would do against a pretty terrible Miami Dolphins team, defeating them 30-10.
Schaub and company played great, something that any Jags fan hates to admit.
Everyone from Arian Foster to Andre Johnson to J.J. Watt, the Texans were on point and did it with ease.
If you check out the power rankings (especially NFL.com's), you should probably just count out the 27th ranked Jaguars to the 3rd ranked Texans, right?
I'd submit a vote for no.
If there was one thing that I saw on Sunday, it's that this team finally has an offense. One to be proud of.
Gabbert had his best game ever as a professional quarterback in the NFL and Maurice Jones-Drew will start this game as the sole tailback from start to finish.
Laurent Robinson had some much needed grabs after a sloppy preseason and Marcedes Lewis caught a touchdown after not getting a single one all of last year.
Blackmon should have scored, Shorts looks like a "stretch the field" guy and we are yet to even have a single contribution from Mike Thomas.
Eugene Monroe played at a Pro-Bowl level and Mike Brewster showed he is capable of starting at guard if necessary.
Greg Jones is still the incredibly strong blocker we have always known him to be, and Rashad Jennings will help MJD with the load once he is healthy again.
Another thing I saw on Sunday, is how overrated I feel this defense is at this moment.
Missing Daryl Smith and Derek Cox hurts, and I completely get that, but Christian Ponder picked this team apart in the second half. A less than 100 percent Adrian Peterson ran right through wide open holes all second half long.
If Smith and Cox mean that much to this team, we are in big, big trouble.
What about the free agent addition of Aaron Ross, or the very nice play of Kyle Bosworth? Shouldn't that have at least made up some of the talent loss to Smith and Cox?
The pass rush had a fully healthy line, and they got very little pressure, so can't blame that on injuries.
Both starting tackles recorded a sack, but Mincey and Branch were near non-existent.
Paul Posluszny played very well, as usual, but the safeties were non-factors. Kevin Rutland and William Middleton did next to nothing to slow down Ponder's up tempo offense in the second half.
The scariest thought is what a very good quarterback can do to this secondary if Ponder can lead Minnesota down the field the way he did.
Schaub is a tad bit better than Ponder, and Andre Johnson is a pretty tough guy to defend. Could mean for another long day on defense.
Derek Cox is questionable and is yet to be ruled out, so that is worth watching. Daryl Smith is apparently more questionable than Cox, so I don't expect him to play at all on Sunday.
The Jaguars defense will need to find a way to get some pressure on Schaub. If this team goes another game with the kind of pressure they put on the Vikings, there is little to no chance they can beat a team like the Texans.
Turnovers will be key in this game, as the offense is now showing capabilities of leading long drives to get points on the board as well as help the defense get some time to rest.
Missed opportunities was the lesson learned in Week 1.
Week 2 brings a tougher challenge, but one that the Jaguars can take on as long as the defense can step up.
It's the complete opposite of last year, but at the end of the day, you have to be happy with some things that were seen against Minnesota.
Gabbert needs to continue the tough, smart play, and this team will have a chance every week.
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