JACKSONVILLE – Here are ten things the Jacksonville Jaguars must do to beat the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field in Jacksonville Sunday
1. Forget what "isn't."The Jaguars are no longer in playoff contention. And their three-game winning streak is over. Those are what "isn't" for this team. But you know what? The playoffs weren't happening anyway, and around EverBank Field, the focus wasn't all that much on the streak in recent weeks. This season remains about improving and laying a foundation. Keep doing it.
2. Hold on to the ball.This is about more than Denard Robinson. Mike Brown also lost a fumble against the Bills, and although it was on a questionable call, ball security is still a daily point of emphasis for Gus Bradley. The Jaguars hadn't lost a fumble in the first five games after the bye. They were 4-1 in those games. They lost two against Buffalo. That they lost that game is no coincidence.
3. Let Scobee kick.OK, you'd rather have touchdowns. In fact, you'd much rather have touchdowns. But Josh Scobee has been unreal this season, with his only two misses coming on a 60-yard field goal and a blocked field goal. It just didn't seem right not to mention him.
4. Stop the run.The Jaguars have improved in this area dramatically since the bye, but Bradley said this week the Jaguars actually have slipped a bit here in recent weeks. A few too many games with the average yards per carry for the opponent a little too high. That means the Jaguars are giving up more explosive runs than they were in November. That means more manageable down-and-distance situations for the opponent and that means less pass-rushing opportunities. That really hurts a team already struggling to get pass rush.
5. Get Marcedes Lewis involved.He's the Jaguars' most-talented offensive player right now. His run-blocking has been key in recent weeks, which is usually the case when the Jaguars run well. But with Cecil Shorts III out and Justin Blackmon long since suspended, the receiving corps is way, way depleted. Lewis is capable of making up for some of that depletion. He's a big, strong target and he has some of the Jaguars' most explosive plays in the passing game this season. Give him a chance to get a few more. Use the big guy.
6. Close it out at the 'Bank.The Jaguars are 1-6 at home this season, including 1-5 at EverBank. But the play has been better at home in the second half of the season than the first, and the fans have responded. The fans are getting behind this team. They sense football's getting fun again. Give the home crowd a final chance to cheer.
7. Force turnovers.The Jaguars lost the turnover battle against Buffalo. They're better as a team than they were before the bye, but they're not good enough to win without forcing turnovers.
8. Hit Chris Johnson. Hard.Johnson, the Titans' running back, isn't having his best season. Not even close. But he's still dangerous, and the best way to keep him from being dangerous is to hit him hard. Early and often. Do that, and there's a significantly less chance of him having a big game. Don't do that and he can score from anywhere.
9. Run.It's starting to be clear this is no longer the problem it was early in the season. When the Jaguars struggled to run in two consecutive games out of the bye, Bradley publicly said the team had to find some way, somehow to get that fixed. Well, the Jaguars did. The Jaguars have rushed for 100 or more yards in four consecutive games, and last week reserve running back Jordan Todman rushed for 109 yards in his first career NFL start. Impressive for a team that couldn't get more than two yards per carry at times in November.
10. Get tricky with it.The Jaguars had a couple of "creative" plays dialed up Sunday against the Bills. They didn't quite get into situations to use them. That doesn't mean offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch won't keep trying. He wants "unusual," bold plays as part of the offense and so does Bradley. Some weeks they work and some weeks they won't. They've worked more often than not for the Jaguars this season. Dial one up again this week. And make sure the call goes through.