Chicago vs. Jacksonville: Analyzing the Jaguars' Offense for Week 5

Matt Eurich@@MattEurichAnalyst IOctober 6, 2012

CHICAGO - DECEMBER 07: Charles Tillman #33 and Lance Briggs #55 of the Chicago Bears tackle Fred Taylor #28 of the Jacksonville Jaguars on December 7, 2008 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Jaguars 23-10. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Sunday afternoon the Bears will travel to Jacksonville to take on the 1-3 Jaguars who have struggled on both sides of the ball.  But, offensively, it all begins with running back Maurice Jones-Drew.

Jones-Drew has been one of the league's most dominating runners over the last few years , averaging more than 1,300 yards rushing in each of the last three seasons.  He has the ability to not only run between the tackles but to bounce it to the outside.  His combination of speed and toughness makes him one of the hardest runners in the league to take down. 

He presents a difficult task to a Bears' defense that has not faced a tough running attack with teams like Indianapolis, Green Bay, and Dallas relying heavily on throwing the ball. 

Linebackers Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and Nick Roach will be called upon to make stops in the running game and will have to do their best to get low on the 5'7" Jones-Drew to slow him down.

The Jaguars took quarterback Blaine Gabbert with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 draft with the hopes of finding a future start at the position.  Gabbert started 15 games last season and struggled mightily with accuracy, completing only 50 percent of his passes and throwing twelve touchdowns to eleven interceptions. 

One of his strengths coming out of the draft was his mobility, but he struggled when pressured and was sacked 40 times.  The Jaguars' offensive line has been mediocre at best, so not all of the blame can be placed on him. 

The Bears' defensive line should not have a problem creating pressure and will likely rely on their stout defensive rotation to force Gabbert to make ill-advised throws.

In four starts this season, Gabbert again has struggled with his accuracy completing just 55.5 percent of his passes, but he does have five touchdowns to only one interception. The Jaguars have not really given Gabbert much of an opportunity to stretch the field this season and his completions are only going for an average of 5.8 yards. 

It seems unlikely that they would try to stretch the field this week against the tough Bears' secondary, but they could rely heavily on play-action and screens to try and draw the defenders in. 

A major reason for Gabbert's lack of production is the lack of receiving weapons.  Jacksonville went out this offseason and drafted the top receiver in the draft, Justin Blackmon, as well as signed free agent Laurent Robinson.  Robinson, who has suffered three concussions since training camp, is not expected to play this Sunday (h/t Pro Football Talk). 

The most surprising receiver for the Jaguars this season has been second year receiver, Cecil Shorts.  In four games, Shorts has six catches for 162 yards while Blackmon has ten catches for 79 yards and no touchdowns. 

The effort to get Blackmon more involved in the offense has not gone as planned and has forced Gabbert to look more towards tight end Mercedes Lewis as well as Jones-Drew who leads the team with 13 catches. 

With the Jaguars young receivers, the Bears cornerbacks should be able to take advantage of their inexperience and Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings should be able to make plays.

Matt Eurich is a contributor to Follow Bears Backer on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute news about the Bears. Also, check out Matt’s work on and follow him on Twitter @MattEurich.