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What to Watch: Quick questions, Browns-Jaguars


JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser preps for the week ahead with five quick questions for Browns-Jaguars at EverBank Field in Jacksonville Sunday …

1.Can the Jaguars run?They haven't so far this season, at least not enough, and the offensive line is taking heat. Jaguars backs rushed for 44 yards on 18 carries against Tennessee Sunday, and when the yardage and yards per carry from your backs are that low, focus turns to the offensive line. This is a young group, and young offensive lines take time to gel, but the gelling needs to start soon. Until it does, this will be a focus.

2.Can the line protect Bortles?A second question on the offensive line? Yes, the group is under that much scrutiny. Most of the offensive linemen have played well at times, but the reality on the line is one bad play from one guy can ruin a play. Rookie quarterback Blake Bortles has taken some pressure off this group with his pocket presence, but it needs to keep pressure off him, too.

3.Can statistics turn to points?This is about finishing drives, and avoiding turnovers. The Jaguars' offense hasn't done either enough this season. Part of the reason is youth, and part of it is the need to develop/find more playmakers offensively. The good news is the Jaguars produced a season-high yardage total and first-down total against Tennessee. That's a good sign, and the rapid development of Bortles is, too. But until stats become points become victories, this will be a topic.

4.Can the Jaguars cover the tight end?It's always a question, and along with stopping the run, will be a key Sunday. The Browns are a patient, consistent offense and will emphasize the run early. If you don't stop that, they'll run you out of the game and run clock while doing it. But if you commit to the run too much, tight end Jordan Cameron and a group of receivers by committee will beat you over the top. That's happened to the Jaguars this season, and with Cameron more of a factor in recent weeks, it will be an issue this week.

Get a more in-depth look at the Jaguars Week 7 opponent, The Cleveland Browns.

5.Can the Jaguars win?Of course, they can. They have been close the last two weeks. When will they win? Can they do it this week? That's trickier. The Jaguars still look like a young team figuring out how to win. They look that way because it's what they are. Cleveland is a vastly improved team that knows how it wants to play and is beginning to believe in itself. This is a tougher task that many thought before the season, but, "Can the Jaguars win?" Yes, that will be a question until it isn't.

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