JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines ten things the Jaguars must do to beat the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, Sunday
1. Run.The Jaguars couldn't do this in Philadelphia in the regular-season opener, at least not enough. They had a couple of productive runs by Toby Gerhart early in the fourth quarter that took them into Eagles territory, but that was about it for running production – and it wasn't enough to give the Jaguars a feeling of having established the run. That meant bad down-and-distance situations, which meant 2-of-14 on third downs. You can't win that way, and you can't hold leads that way, either.
2. Run block.Observers cast a lot of blame Gerhart's way this week, much of it unwarranted. He ran hard in Philadelphia and was effective when he had holes. A few NFL backs can make yards out of nothing. LeSean McCoy of the Eagles can do that and he did Sunday, but Gerhart isn't that sort of back and most other guys aren't, either. The Jaguars must get better here. Do it, and a lot else will follow.
3. Forget last week.This shouldn't be a problem. Losing a 17-point lead was tough, and it was disappointing, but there wasn't a deflated feeling among players. This team knows where it's headed. It knows the goals remain in front of it. The players have to forget the recent past, but there's no thought here that they won't.
4. Catch the ball.The drops weren't the only issue against the Eagles, but they hurt, even if some of the drops would have been really, really tough catches. Two in the fourth quarter seemed to define the situation, with rookie wide receiver Allen Hurns and tight end Marcedes Lewis having hands on passes that would have given the Jaguars a first down in Eagles territory with the score tied, 17-17. As Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said, you have to catch the balls that are thrown to you – and the Jaguars definitely need to do that.
5. Stay focused.The Jaguars had a few key mental errors Sunday, particularly defensively. There weren't many, and they can be corrected, but the ones that happened led to huge second-half plays. Josh Evans and Chris Prosinski made key mistakes at the safety position. With Johnathan Cyprien possibly missing Sunday with a concussion, Evans will start and Prosinski will be the backup. They need to play better than last week. The Redskins don't play as up-tempo and don't strain a team mentally quite like the Eagles, but they're still dangerous.
6. Protect Chad Henne.This is tough, because it means getting Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo blocked. The Redskins' linebackers form one of the NFL's best pass rushing tandems. It also means controlling end Jason Hatcher, a Pro Bowl defensive end with the Cowboys who signed with the Redskins as an unrestricted free agent this past offseason.
7. Stop RGIII.That means containing Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III's mobility, and it also means limiting wide receiver DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. Griffin isn't running as much as he did in 2012 as a rookie – and he didn't throw downfield much in the regular-season opener. That figures to change Sunday, particularly with Jaguars safety Johnathan Cyprien uncertain with a concussion.
8. Limit Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson.The Redskins' wide receivers are legitimate, proven big-play threats. That remains true even though Griffin seldom went deep to them last week. As Jaguars cornerback Dwayne Gratz noted this week, the Jaguars giving up a long touchdown to Jeremy Maclin last week probably means the Redskins will test the Jaguars' corners and safeties this week. Pass that test.
9. Stop Alfred Morris.The Jaguars did a good job limiting McCoy last week. Morris isn't as dangerous in the open field as McCoy, but he is effective running inside and outside in zone-blocking schemes, and the Jaguars need to stop him to put Griffin in difficult down-and-distance situations.
10. Huck it and Chuck it – and make the play.Huck it and Chuck it is HenneTalk for throwing deep and pushing the ball downfield, which contrary to perception he did against the Eagles – and did pretty well. Henne completed passes of 46, 34 and 21 yards to Hurns, but Hurns had a couple of passes later that could have been big plays, as did Lewis and Lee. The Jaguars got momentum early last week making big plays downfield. They lost it late not making the same plays. Make them Sunday.