Jacksonville Jaguars: Weaknesses of the AFC South Opposing Quarterbacks
It's a quarterback driven league, and the AFC South has some very good ones. It also has some that need time to develop.
Peyton Manning is the cream of the crop. The Jaguars have spent years trying to build their team to defeat him and him alone. Sure, the Jaguars' slow methodical offense can make the fantasy football fanatics uneasy, but it gives the Jaguars a decent chance to defeat the Colts by keeping him off of the field.
Kerry Collins has just retired as a Tennessee Titan. He's played rival to the Jacksonville Jaguars since day one as the Panthers drafted Collins in the first round of the 1995 draft. Sixteen years is a very long time to play the quarterback position and while not a Hall of Famer, he had a very respectable career, even as the opposition. Jake Locker is his replacement.
Let's take a look at the major weakness for each of the Jaguars opposing quarterbacks.
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Jake Locker of the Tennessee Titans
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This guy was remarkably picked ahead of Blaine Gabbert in the 2011 draft. The selection of these two will undoubtedly spark a renewal of the rivalry between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans over seasons to come.
One predictable nick name for this rookie could be "Happy Feet." He needs to develop into a pocket passer. The Titans selected him for his ability to make plays on the run, which is a valid option when there is a threat like Chris Johnson on your team. That being said, great quarterbacks do not need to run—they throw.
However, Jake Locker pulled the ball down to run quite often in college. Opposing defenses, Jaguars included, will be begging for Locker to try the same at the next level. Michael Vick is the best in the business at utilizing this trait, but even he gets hurt from time to time doing it.
The Jaguars may end up using some disguised fronts against the Titans in order to bait Jake Locker into the flats. This will allow linebackers or lineman playing contain to get an easy sack.
Matt Schaub of the Houston Texans
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Matt Schaub is an excellent quarterback. His stat lines are superb. He can make all the throws. He also keeps from getting sacked much more often than his predecessor, David Carr.
Luckily for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Matt Schaub appears not to have the killer instinct. Sure, play calling has something to do with it, but when it comes to winning, it's players not plays.
The Texans have not made the playoffs in the team's history, let alone the four years that Matt Schaub has been at the helm.
The Texans and Ravens overtime game last season is the perfect example of Matt Schaub's career as a starter. He threw a pick-six in overtime.
Matt Schaub threw for 4,300 yards with 26 TDs and only 12 INTs, giving him a 92.0 QB rating, but they only won six games. Even though the Texans' defense was atrocious and bordering on lifeless, Matt Schaub did not get it done, just like every other year.
Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts
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The Jacksonville Jaguars are making a committed effort to improve the pass rush on the defense. In 2009, it suffered a franchise record low 14 sacks, which was dead last in the league. In 2010, it nearly doubled the total and reached 26 sacks, but it was still ranked 30th in the league in the sacks category.
The number from the sack total that is most important is 20. That is the number of sacks the defensive line registered last season. This total is actually ranked in the top half of the league, which is encouraging.
Joe Namath said it best, "The quarterback is the trophy."
If there is one glaring weakness to Peyton Manning's game, it's that he is easily rattled under pressure. Normally he is able to counter this weakness by getting the ball out quickly.
However, when teams have a good marriage of front line pressure and back field coverage, things are going to be harder for any quarterback.
The Jaguars understand that in order to win the AFC South, they must beat the Colts on a more consistent basis. To do that, the defensive line needs to evolve, and the the defensive backs need to grow up (Rashean Mathis notwithstanding).
This could be the year the Jaguars get over the hump. To be a part of it go here.