JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser prepares you for the week ahead with five quick questions for Jaguars-Redskins …
1. Can the Jaguars stop Robert Griffin III?With Griffin staying in the pocket more under new Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden, there perhaps isn't an extreme play-to-play worry over the third-year quarterback's running ability. That was a huge part of his effectiveness before a knee injury in his rookie season. Still, this is the Jaguars' first look at RGIII, and his mobility always is a threat.
2. Can the Jaguars run block?The Jaguars showed hints of a running game late in a regular season-opening loss to the Eagles, but you need more than hints. Running back Toby Gerhart ran for 42 yards on 18 carries Sunday and partly as a result of the overall struggle to run, the Jaguars faced too many long down-and-distance situations. Denard Robinson showed signs of production as the backup, but even with his breakaway speed the line needs to block more cohesively. As a young offensive line gels, this area should improve. Until it does, this question will get asked.
3. Is Chad Henne starting at quarterback?This is going to get asked until rookie Blake Bortles is starting at quarterback and until Henne is not. That's not imminent and nothing happened Sunday in Philadelphia to make it more imminent. The Jaguars like Henne's efficiency. They like his experience with three rookie wide receivers and a young offensive line. They like how he played Sunday. With young players around him offensively, he remains a calming influence. He's the starter.
4. What's the status of Cecil Shorts III and Johnathan Cyprien?Those are the two most prominent injury issues facing the Jaguars, with Shorts scheduled to run on Tuesday and Cyprien in the concussion program. Shorts' status for the week will be determined by how well he ran Tuesday, and he could be day-to-day. Cyprien's injury looked frightening, but concussions are tough to predict. Also look for tight end Marcedes Lewis and running back Toby Gerhart to be limited early in the week before likely playing on Sunday.
5. Can the Jaguars cut out mental errors?This is key, because these hurt Sunday. Against the up-tempo Eagles, two defensive mistakes led to long second-half touchdowns – a 49-yard run by Darren Sproles and a 68-yard touchdown pass from Nick Foles to Jeremy Maclin. The Redskins don't play as fast a pace as Philadelphia, but those mistakes need to stop no matter the pace. Offensively, an offense with rookies everywhere at receiver and young players on the line had issues in the second half. Understandable considering the youth? Expected considering the inexperience? Yes, on both counts, but still something that needs to improve.