What we learned

20120924-offense.jpg

1.Maurice Jones-Drew is good.I caught heat for not mentioning him in What We Learned last week. So now, for this week, he's mentioned. He's good. The Jaguars wouldn't have won without him.  Move on.

2.Jones-Drew gives it his all.This is a little different than No. 1. Remember during Jones-Drew's holdout when people wondered if he would give it his all when he returned if he didn't get paid? Well, he didn't get paid and there's no questioning his effort.

3.Cecil Shorts is clutch.He gave the Jaguars a late lead with an above-the-Xs-and-Os play in the opener; he did it again Sunday. At some point, it's no fluke. And at some point, he may need to play more in the other 59 minutes.

4.The offensive line has some guts.You might add here that offensive line coach Andy Heck can coach a bit, too. You didn't notice Guy Whimper as much Sunday. And you never thought much about Mike Brewster making his first NFL start. Gabbert was sacked once, and Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 177 yards. That's a solid showing for the guys up front.

5.The line can run block.Remember when we mentioned in the preseason that the offensive line can run block no matter the linemen and no matter the back? Proof positive on Sunday.

5.Justin Blackmon still has to improve.He was targeted five times with one reception. That's more than last week, but not enough from a player who had the look of a go-to guy before the season. Give Blackmon credit for the final block that made a 59-yard touchdown run by Maurice Jones-Drew easy, but he has to be a bigger factor.

6.Josh Scobee is really clutch.He didn't beat the Colts with a 50-plus-yard field goal this time, but he kicked three on Sunday. Without any of them, the Jaguars don't get a very important victory.

7.Derek Cox matters. He played at a high level in his first game back after a preseason hamstring injury. When he's healthy, as he was early Sunday, he helps the defense immeasurably. He left the game late, but it was because of fatigue – not unusual for a guy who has missed the last six weeks.

8.This team still believes.The players talked all last week about validating the work they did during the preseason. They did that, and a team that had quit wouldn't have been fighting at the end.

9.Rashean Mathis is getting healthy.He made his first start of the season Sunday, and he – like Cox across from him – was a factor. Mathis was credited with a pass defensed, and he had an interception taken away because of a questionable pass interference penalty. He said his knee and the muscles around it have improved weekly since ACL surgery. It's starting to show.

10.Bryan Anger isn't just good, he's consistently good.Six punts. A 53.5-yard average. A 45.3-yard net. He's special. That's all.

11.The team still has a long way to go.Winning cures a lot, but the Jaguars still have work to do. A lot of work. Gabbert has to be more consistent in the first 59 minutes of games, and the passing offense as a whole must be more productive. The defense improved in the second half, but overall it's not playing as well yet as it did last season.

12.Winning feels good.All the other stuff? Those first 11 points? They pale in comparison to this one. The Jaguars hadn't won a game that mattered in a long time, and never had won a regular-season game under Mike Mularkey and with Shad Khan as the owner. The relief and the satisfaction were palpable afterward. The money these guys make is great, but if you think winning doesn't matter you didn't see these guys after the game Sunday.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising