For the upcoming match-up with the Jaguars this week, I was able to speak to Michael Carrao of JacksonvilleJaguarsBlog.com. Below I ask him a series of questions about his Jaguars, including a prediction on the outcome of the game.
BirdsFan: David Garrard was pulled from last week’s game against the Chargers. What are your thoughts on the decision? Could Luke McCown take over the spot on a permanent basis?
JacksonvilleJaguarsBlog: I’m not a fan of pulling the starting quarterback out of the game, regardless of how many interceptions he’s thrown. I’m not a coach but I would rather see Garrard finish out the game. Luke McCown was a preseason surprise and had the looks of a completely decent backup. Unfortunately, McCown tore his ACL late in the game and has since been placed on injured reserve.
BF: It doesn’t seem like the Chargers had too much of an issue scoring points last week. What has been the biggest problem for the Jaguars defense?
JJB: It was thought the pass rush would be the biggest concern on defense entering this season. Now it seems like the pass rush may be the best thing the Jaguars defense has going for it right now. Gerald Alexander, a starting safety in 2009, did not make it past final cuts due to extremely poor play in preseason. Left with a void at safety, the Jaguars opted to start Sean Considine who had primarily assumed a special teams role the year before. Considine is nothing special and an upgrade is definitely needed at both safety positions.
But the bigger problem facing the secondary is the development of Derek Cox, a third round pick from the 2009 draft. Cox showed flashes of great potential last season, but also had raw moments. It was widely believed by Jaguars fans that Cox would partner up with Rashean Mathis to form a shutdown corner duo this season. But a mysterious “foot injury” limited Cox throughout training camp and preseason. Cox was made inactive for last week’s game against the Chargers, but was not listed on the injury report once all week.
Del Rio later stated that Cox had been suffering from a “lack of confidence.” It must have been so bad that coaches decided to start recently acquired David Jones over Cox. Jones had been a forth string backup for Cincinnati a few weeks before. No one outside of the Jaguars organization knows the exact details on Cox’s “injury” or “confidence.” So it’s gonna be a wait-and-see game for fans like myself.
BF: What was the biggest difference between the Jaguars win against the Broncos and the loss against the Chargers?
JJB: To win on the road you need a tough, quality team. Plain and simple, the Jaguars do not have a tough, quality team. Last year the Jaguars were 2–6 on the road. Too much fuss was made over the west coast trips. No one cared to mention the blowout against New England which occurred on the east coast.
The Chargers attacked from the very beginning of the game and did not let up until the final minutes. The touchdown scored by the Chargers on their first drive dictated the tempo of the game. It was not what the Jaguars had hoped for. To put it in terms of musical timing, the Jaguars were comfortable at 70 BPM, but the Chargers set it at 140 BPM early on. The Jaguars tried to play faster to match the tempo of the Chargers but made too many mistakes along the way.
BF: I see Maurice Jones-Drew only had three more carries than Rashad Jennings last week. Will that trend continue?
JJB: No. Rashad Jennings is a nice backup, but Jones-Drew is the feature back and he will be receiving 75%+ of the carries week in and week out. The Jaguars pulled Jones-Drew out late in the blowout to give Jennings some more game reps.
BF: Where do you see the Jaguars having an advantage on offense? On defense?
JJB: Who has the advantage on offense will likely come down to who can set the tempo of the game first. The Jaguars will want to run the ball, set up the play action, and keep Vick & company off of the field. The Eagles will likely attempt to replicate the Chargers gameplan of last week. They will take strikes down field against a weak secondary, work the linebackers with your TE’s and RB’s, and keep Vick moving around and out of the pocket.
After last week’s performance, I can’t honestly say that the Jaguars do something better than the Eagles do on defense.
BF: As a Jaguars fan, would you rather play against Kevin Kolb or Michael Vick? Why?
JBB: Kolb. Give me the guy coming back from a concussion over the guy who just put up 35 points last week.
BF: Give me a score prediction.
JJB: I want to say the Jaguars win this one at home. But I’m not confident at all about that answer. If the Jaguars can force the Eagles to play at their speed and use the heat to their advantage, they’ll have a good shot at winning.
I’ll say 27-24 Jaguars.