Jacksonville Jaguars Week 14 Stock Report
The Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8) will try to rebound after two disappointing losses against the Indianapolis Colts this weekend, in hopes that they can salvage the season and perhaps keep their dreams for the playoffs alive.
With the Houston Texans taking on the New England Patriots, there is a real chance the Jaguars can earn a game back in the race for the AFC South. They would still be a full game behind the Colts and Texans, but a game back with three games to go is something they can conquer.
However, it is hard to believe the Jaguars will win this weekend or make a legitimate run at the division title. The defense has regressed considerably, and as last Sunday showed, this team still has trouble grasping victory.
The positives of last Sunday's loss were completely silenced by the nature of the Jaguars' 42-39 loss to the Tennessee Titans, and understandably so. That was a game the Jaguars needed to win, and they failed to execute.
But somehow, they still have a chance, even with a 4-8 record. Crazier things have happened, but the Jaguars' final chance is likely this weekend.
Allen Robinson Makes His Case for the Pro Bowl, Receives a Stock Rise
Wide receiver Allen Robinson has been working toward an impressive season since Week 1, but Sunday was his statement for the Pro Bowl. The sophomore receiver brought down 10 receptions for 153 yards and three touchdowns, his strongest single-game performance in his career.
The Titans were helpless throughout the game when defending Robinson, and he was able to dominate in a variety of ways. He was quarterback Blake Bortles' top target, and the consistency of his big plays provides plenty of explanation why.
While the struggles of the team this year as well as Robinson's youth may make him a bit of a "quiet" candidate, his Sunday showing was anything but. It was productive, explosive and elevated his national presence.
Robinson is now fifth in the NFL in receiving yards with 1080, he is ninth in yards per reception and his 11 TDs on the season now leads all wide receivers in the NFL.
Between Robinson and fellow wideout Allen Hurns, the Jaguars may have two of the most promising offensive talents in the NFL. And as they continue to dazzle and impress, it makes it even harder to believe they are less than a couple of years removed from the college game.
Thurston Armbrister Fails to Capitalize on Starting Opportunity, Stock Drops
Linebacker Thurston Armbrister was one of the more promising undrafted free-agent additions of this past offseason, but it hasn't quite translated to a similar level of play like 2014 undrafted free agent Hurns.
Which isn't surprising, but considering that Armbrister is seeing time as a starter with linebacker Dan Skuta's groin injury, it's severely hindering the Jaguars defense. Skuta isn't a star player, but his experience and consistency is severely missed when Armbrister starts.
Armbrister was benched relatively quickly for fellow undrafted free-agent linebacker Jordan Tripp, who did a considerably better job and may even see a starting chance this weekend. Armbrister had a prime opportunity to prove his worth, and he failed to do so.
Whether it was poor tackling or looking flat-out confused on the field, Armbrister just looked out of his league on Sunday. He may have chances in the future to redeem himself, but Sunday was not a good moment in his early career.
Tyson Alualu Provides Offensive and Defensive Impact, Earns a Stock Increase
Defensive lineman Tyson Alualu is usually seen lining up across from tackles and guards rather than at the fullback position, but the 2015 season has seen him take on new responsibilities as a player.
On defense, Alualu had one of his best days of the season, tallying a sack and two tackles for loss. He played exceptionally well, but it was a big catch on offense that gave the Jaguars a spark to drive down the field and score their first TD.
The Jaguars offense started with two three-and-outs, and on a 3rd-and-1, the Jaguars called a play-action pass. Alualu was in on the play as a likely blocker, but Alualu ran a good route for a lineman, caught the ball and gained 16 yards in the process.
Besides the absurdity of the play, it was actually a big moment. The Jaguars finally converted a third down, and it was the predecessor of an important drive that helped kick-start the Jaguars offense.
Alualu hasn't been the most impactful player on the Jaguars since being selected 10th overall in the 2010 NFL draft, but his solid day on both sides of the ball will be one to remember.
Marqise Lee Doesn't Provide a Consistent Threat, Sees a Stock Drop
Wide receiver Marqise Lee had a prime opportunity to make a return to prominence on Sunday, but he was only able to total one catch on four targets for 17 yards. While the 17-yard grab got the Jaguars close to the goal line, he did little throughout the game.
He had two bad drops, one in position to score and the other was to convert a first down, both opportunities that would help build Bortles' confidence in him. Instead, his drops likely made him an even less likely option for Bortles.
Lee has talent, that's without a doubt, but he's failed to improve his game at the next level. Those kinds of drops are what add up at season's end, and those mistakes make it hard to justify his place on the team.
Lee still has some chances to show progress this season and become a useful and productive receiving option, but if Sunday is an omen of what's to come, don't expect to hear his name called too often.
Bryan Anger Continues to Improve, Earns a Stock Rise
Punter Bryan Anger has been quick to receive criticism since being selected in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft, and at times, he's earned it. There are games where Anger looks like he probably shouldn't have a job, but as the 2015 season has passed, he's been considerably improved.
On Sunday, Anger only punted three times, and he averaged 53.3 yards per attempt. While that may be just "good," his hang time on punts has been better, and that has made things easier for a punt coverage team that has struggled.
Perhaps it helped that the Jaguars punted considerably less, but his performance has been solid even in games where the offense sputters. He's now consistently hanging the ball in the air, and he hasn't dropped in his impressive distance at all.
Many expected Anger to be gone at the end of this season, but he's made a case to be signed to a new contract. The first two years or so may have been hard to watch, but Anger looks to be finally making the step up.
All stats provided by ESPN.com unless otherwise stated.
Evan Reier is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report covering the Jacksonville Jaguars. Follow Evan on Twitter @evanreier.