The vaunted Jaguars defense has been in shut-down mode all season long, especially against the pass, where no team has allowed fewer yards or touchdowns or generated more sacks.
Opponents have found a hole there, however, and they’ve actually done a pretty good job of exploiting it.
The weakness lies in the middle of the field, between the numbers, where tight ends tend to roam the most and have found a way to exploit the Jaguars linebackers safeties and slot corners.
As Mike Kay of WTLV noted, opponents are completing about 67-percent of all the passes they’ve thrown to their tight ends, who have accounted for nearly 23-percent of all the air yards gained against the Jags.
Tight ends have also accounted for four of the nine receiving touchdowns the Jaguars have allowed, including the one Cardinals backup Ricky Seals-Jones caught during the Jacksonville’s 27-24 loss at Arizona last week.
That touchdown catch, by the way, was part of a four-catch, 97-yard day for Seals-Jones, who spent the afternoon working with one-time Jaguar and current Cardinals backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
The Jaguars are now 1-3 when an opposing tight end catches a touchdown pass against them and they’ll be facing one of the better tight ends in the league when they take on the Colts this week.
Jack Doyle has caught 59 passes for 544 yards and two touchdowns so far and while he didn’t hurt the Jaguars too much (four catches, 44 yards, no touchdowns) during the first meeting between the two teams (a 27-0 Jaguars victory) he could still prove to be a problem, especially with linebacker Telvin Smith in danger of missing this game with a concussion.
“He has become a very big part of their passing game,’’ Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said of Doyle. “He has really come on strong. He catches contested balls, can body people up, can run extremely well. He has done a very good job and is playing at a very high level.’’
The Jaguars are, too, particularly on the outside, where they have done a great job of shutting down opposing wide receivers. They need to tighten up a bit in the middle, though, and not just this week against the Colts.
As opponents become more aware of the hole that’s developed inside their pass defense, they’ll look to exploit it more and more and that could prove to be the Jaguars undoing.
Jaguars QB Bortles doesn’t mind you coming over to his place
The Jaguars are “riding high” early on in the season after an impressive win against New England. Everyone is obviously loose, because of the success in 2017, and now, back-to-back wins to start this year have given a sense of confidence to the young squad.
An embattled fifth year quarterback Blake Bortles is on a serious uptick in his own playing career. Off yet another surprising game Sunday, where he threw for 376 yards and four scores in the 31 – 20 victory, Bortles has plenty of reasons to smile.
And, unusually, he has plenty of reasons to welcome total strangers who come to his door
Yes. You read that correctly.
Bortles made mention earlier this week about fans and even teammates coming to his house, unannounced, to “say hello,” maybe catch up on some Netflix and of course, talk about the success of the Jaguars.
Okay, we made the Netflix part up.
Still, for an NFL quarterback to make mention that he’s welcoming people to come see him at his home to talk up the team he plays for is definitely unusual.
Bortles elaborated jokingly to the media Wednesday after the Jaguars practice in preparation for their first meeting this season with the Titans:
QB Blake Bortles and LB Telvin Smith address the media following practice. https://t.co/144T5Ng7EK
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) September 19, 2018
“It’s a football town that loves their Jaguars, especially when they are playing well. You know, I don’t have a problem having a conversation with somebody at the door.” When asked whether the fans relate to him, Bortles continued, “I feel as though I relate to the city of Jacksonville and the people who live here….I’ve lived in Florida my whole life. I feel comfortable here. I’ve made a lot of friends here. Made a lot of good relationships. Really enjoyed being here.”
It’s a very juicy twist to the Bortles soap opera from a year ago, when Jags fans were ready to not only come to his front door, but pack all of his belongings and put them on a moving truck to get him out of town.
Yet, Bortles played steady and at times great football in the 2017 season, including Jacksonville’s stunning AFC divisional playoff win at Pittsburgh last year. He also played well in the AFC Championship Game resulting in a narrow lost to New England.
So, it’s understandable that Bortles has got the Jaguars fans filling up on his bandwagon, yet again.
However, one thing is for sure, in the NFL everything is fleeting and directly related to what you’ve done, lately. And with the Titans having swept the Jaguars a year ago, Bortles and his teammates know they have to get that corrected starting with Sunday’s home game at TIAA Bank Field.
Otherwise, any strangers at the Bortles home, who are decked out in black and teal uninvited, may not be as friendly coming up the driveway next week.
Look who tops debut of our FFI “Power Rankings”
With the NFL and college football in full swing, we have had some surprises and shocks.
The whole state of Florida has gone unbeaten in the NFL.
UCF and USF look like they might be the best college teams in the state.
Blueblood FSU has landed flat on their faces, while Miami and Florida each suffered early season defeats.
A few weeks into the season, here are how things are shaping up with our “Power Rankings.”
5. Miami Hurricanes- The Canes came into the season with high expectations after having one of their best seasons in recent memory in 2017. The year didn’t start how they wanted it to with a severe loss to the LSU Tigers, who look like they might challenge the Tide for the SEC West crown. Miami bounced back with wins against Savanah State and Toledo. They will need QB Malik Rosier to improve if they want to win back to back Coastal titles.
4. Miami Dolphins- Surprise number one, so far, are the Dolphins. The Fins are 2-0 for the first time since 2013. The Dolphins have beat the Titans and Jets, so we can’t put them higher than fourth, but the start is impressive. Miami’s defense has been good, and contributions have come from all over, as we wrote Sunday. Ryan Tannehill has been doing a stable job at QB as well. The Dolphins get the 0-2 Raiders this week before two road games against Foe Tom Brady and the also surprising Bengals.
3. UCF Knights- The “National Champions” check in at the number three spot this week. The Knights have cruised to victory twice so far this season. QB Mckenzie Milton looked unstoppable against the UConn Huskies, but wasn’t at his best against South Carolina State. The Knights got unlucky with Hurricanes again this year and lost out on playing an ACC opponent (North Carolina) yet again. UCF will play FAU this week before finally getting to play a power five school in Pittsburgh at home.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Surprise again, with Tampa Bay at number two. Can you feel the “Fitzmagic?” The Bucs sure can, as the 14 year vet has shredded the Saints and Eagles. The Bucs are at 2-0 for the first time since 2010. Todd Monken has done wonders for the offense with the playcalling, as well. With a Monday night date with the Steelers can the Bus keep it going on National Television?
1. Jacksonville Jaguars- The Jags claim the top spot this week coming in at 2-0 as well. The Jags are here partly to last season’s success, but not just that. The defense has done its job so far, but Blake Bortles was on fire vs. the Patriots. If Blake can continue to play the way he did against New England, then this team can become even more dangerous.
Report- Jaguars LT Cam Robinson has torn ACL
The news is not all good coming out of the Jaguars week two win over the power house Patriots.
Second-year left tackle Cam Robinson suffered a left knee injury in the first quarter and did not return to the game.
And as the NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported first Monday morning, it’s the worst possible news for him:
Source: #Jaguars LT Cam Robinson suffered a torn ACL. He had the MRI last night. Brutal loss for an up-and-coming player who is now out for the season.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 17, 2018
Tha former second-round pick out of Alabama was anchoring the left side of the line and protecting quarterback Blake Bortles’ blind-side. Jacksonville and coach Doug Marrone were particularly eager to have Robinson develop more with veteran left guard Andrew Norwell, whom the Jags gave a huge contract to in free agency.
Now, Robinson is headed for the IR.
Robinson started all 16 games a year ago, and the first two games this season.
Undrafted four year veteran Josh Wells, took over for Robinson and play the remainder of the game on Sunday.
With the diagnosis of the ACL and Robinson lost for the season, the Jaguars now have to decide whether Wells is the long-term solution, as he’s never started an NFL game before in his career.
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