Jacksonville Jaguars State of the Union: Reviewing the Season Up to the Bye
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Through five games, the season could not have gone worse for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Well, technically, they could have lost the game to Indianapolis and they'd be 0-5 instead of 1-4, but functionally, what's the difference at this point?
Everything that could possible go wrong has.
Here's a rundown of the state of the franchise just under a third of the way through the 2012 season.
Let's start with the positives.
Maurice Jones-Drew sure is awesome!
Moving along...(crickets chirp)
In all seriousness, the list of positives for the Jaguars is painfully short.
Cecil Shorts provided a pair of signature moments. Eugene Monroe has played well at times. Derek Cox has been very good at corner.
The two Gabbert-to-Shorts touchdowns were special moments for Jaguars fans, and shouldn't be forgotten amidst the mess that has been 2012.
The offensive line has been terrible, allowing near constant pressure on Blaine Gabbert.
The offseason acquisitions have gone poorly, with Laurent Robinson sidelined with a concussion and Justin Blackmon plagued by an inability to get open.
Defensively, the line has generated almost no pressure and Terrance Knighton is routinely getting yanked from the lineup. Andre Branch has done nothing to make his presence felt, and Tyson Alualu is invisible most weeks.
Injuries and ineffectiveness have led to the Jags allowing 27.6 points a game, up a full touchdown a week over 2011.
Finally, there's Gabbert. He's last in the league in yards per attempt. He's tied for third in sacks taken. He's completing under 55 percent of his passes, despite playing a short-passing offense. He's 29th in the NFL in passer rating.
There's no point in going on.
I could, but there's no point.
Perhaps the best thing to say about the Jaguars' start is that it has been so profoundly bad, that now they know they need to change directions.
As humiliating as a 41-3 loss at home is, bottoming out completely could be the long-term salvation for this team.
There's now little doubt Blaine Gabbert isn't a viable NFL starter. There's little doubt Gene Smith hasn't been good at talent evaluation.
This team needs a complete reversal of field, but at least they know it.
If you want a true blind-optimist take, it would be easy to point to the play of Robinson and Blackmon and hope that both get better. If they play better, perhaps Gabbert's production will improve.
Defensively, you have to hope that the team pulls it together in the bye week and finds ways to generate pressure.
The Jags still play six teams with losing records this season, so maybe with improvement and some breaks they could sniff .500.
The fact that the team is getting blown out at home is deeply disturbing. Yes, they played well on the road against two teams that are a combined 6-3, but to get annihilated in Jacksonville three straight weeks is embarrassing.
The scariest prospect for Jaguars fans would be if the team doesn't make serious changes after the season.
If Gene Smith survives and/or the team commits another year to Gabbert, only misery will follow.
That would definitely be the darkest timeline for the Jaguars.
The sad part is that the schedule actually gets worse from here. Road games against the Raiders and Packers loom after the bye. Then the Lions come to town. Even if the Jags dump the Colts again, they still have to play the Texans after that.
If this team is any better than 2-8 through 10 games, it will be a massive surprise.
Five wins has always been a target number for Jacksonville. Earlier, it could be argued that it was the floor, but now it looks like the ceiling.
Four wins or fewer are a distinct possibility.
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