Welcome to the AFC South Optimist, where we try and find the the silver lining in every storm cloud.
There are three things the Jaguars can hang their hats on from the Texans game moving forward.
Maurice Jones-Drew Looks Good
Despite the acrimonious holdout, there's no evidence at all that Jones-Drew's play has suffered. He has picked up 137 yards on 31 carries, good for 4.4 yards a pop. While that's down from his 2011 pace, it's right in line with where he was from 2008 to 2010.
This is great news for the Jaguars. While it's hard to take full advantage of a great running back when trailing by 20 points, the fact that they know they can count on him for plus yardage will pay off in the long run.
With the Indianapolis Colts next up on the schedule, the Jaguars should have little trouble pounding the ball with Jones-Drew.
Jacksonville still has an offensive identity as long as Jones-Drew can be counted on. As long as they can keep the game close, they'll stay in games.
The Jaguars that lost to Houston are not the real Jaguars.
Daryl Smith matters. Derek Cox matters. Not having to play Guy Whimper at right tackle matters.
This team isn't bad by design as much as it's bad by circumstance.
That's not necessarily much consolation right now, but when players start coming back healthy, the team will improve. As long as they don't fall too far off pace now, they'll be primed for a late-season run.
Bryan Anger is Good
The Jaguars took well-deserved heat for the selection of Anger, and the choice is still questionable, but at least he's playing well.
Anger's 52.6 yards per punt and net average of 43.5 yards per punt rank second and sixth in the NFL, respectively.
We can argue all day as to whether that performance merited the third-round pick the Jaguars used on him, but there's no question that he's performing up to expectations early in the season.
The Jaguars have more going for them than just a punter, some returning players and MoJo.
As long as Justin Blackmon, Andre Branch, Blaine Gabbert and Marcedes Lewis bother to board the team flight for Indianapolis on Saturday, the Jaguars will have a chance to snag their first win of the season.
They'll all just have to play a lot better than they did in Week 3.
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