What we learned from the Jaguars’ 38-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers Monday.
Some of it’s good, some of it’s bad, but here it is . . .
1. The secondary is just too banged up. At least it was on Monday. The Jaguars are still talking Next Man Up when it comes to injury, and that’s good. It’s what interim coach Mel Tucker wants and it’s what they must do. You have to believe you can win no matter who is in the game – starter or reserve. But on Monday night, there was little question that health in the defensive backfield played a major, major role.
4. Gabbert does have potential. Before everyone falls over themselves ripping the guy, don’t forget that the second quarter counts, too. He looked very, very good in that quarter and as a result, the Jaguars’ offense did, too. It wasn’t enough, but it was a flash and that’s what he needs to build on moving forward.
5. Jacksonville still loves the Jaguars. There was too much going wrong on the field in the second half to spend too much time on this, and it’s not as if we didn’t already know it – but there’s a passion in this city for the Jaguars. There was a real energy in the crowd before the game, and it remained real much of the first half. It got ugly in the second half, but in the pre-game it was impressive. There is work to be done. There are changes to be made. But it’s there.
6.The depth on the defensive line is catching up, too. Defensive end
8. Sometimes, the wheels just come off. That happed Monday. Once the secondary gave up the three touchdowns, suddenly instead of being down by four points the Jaguars were down by 17. Some teams in the NFL these days can make up 17 points in a half. The Jaguars have had trouble scoring that in a game, so at that many points . . . well, the odds weren’t good.
9. Cecil Shorts may still be OK. Yes, the rookie has struggled this season, and yes, he still only has two receptions for 30 yards. But the reality is a lot of people around the team still think the rookie from Mount Union can be a productive player moving forward. He went to a Division III school, and a lot of times small school guys need a year. It happened with Pierre Garcon. He was a non-factor as a rookie in 2008 and he has been productive and dangerous since. Shorts had a 5-yard touchdown reception on Monday on which he showed athleticism and body control. It was as good a catch as a Jaguars player has had all year. He still has a chance, and there’s no question he figures in the future.
10. The receivers . . . Well, how often do we say it? And how often do we see it? Gabbert wasn’t perfect, and he wasn’t close, but there still aren’t a whole lot of plays where the receivers are wide open, either. For the game, the Jaguars’ receivers had five receptions for 40 yards and a touchdown. This group needs a major upgrade, and it will be the primary focus of the off-season.