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What we learned...


1. The Jaguars need to get better.Yes, that's obvious, but it's doable. Two one-sided losses in two home games doesn't end the season. Far from it. The Texans and the Bengals are two of the better offensive teams in the NFL, but Mike Mularkey talked afterward about the Jaguars needing to make plays, and he's right. That's the key to improvement in the short-term. Sooner or later, defensive players need to intercept passes given the opportunities, and offensive players need to make big plays. Without them, opponents turn in long drives and without them, offenses stagnate.

2. Derek Cox is good.There aren't a lot guys on the roster you can say this about right now. Not that a lot of guys can't eventually be good, but not enough are playing well right now. Cox is.

3. The offense looks too much like last year.That could change, and the objective will be to get it fixed. But too often if the Jaguars aren't running effectively, the offense is backing up or stopping and starting. It's tough to play offense if you can't get the ball downfield and too often the Jaguars can't.

4. The receivers are having trouble separating.Too often when Blaine Gabbert goes back there's no just no one open. This was a problem last season. Until it's no longer an issue, it's hard to go downfield.

5. Gabbert isn't getting much help.He wasn't great Sunday, and he needs to sense the rush a bit better. He was the first to take responsibility after the game. But Gabbert was sacked six times and he was hit while he was passing seven other times. He also ran three times. There were plays Sunday on which I'm hard-pressed to know what Gabbert was supposed to do. We have seen that Gabbert isn't scared in the pocket. Now, it's time to see what he can do with some time.

6. The run defense must improve.Before we discuss the pass rush, we have to talk run defense. Without Daryl Smith, it appears the back seven is struggling at times with run fits. That opens things up for 138 yards on 34 carries. A 4.1-yard average rushing makes it tough to rush the passer.

7. The pass rush must really improve.The run defense struggling hurts the pass rush. Absolutely. No question. But no sacks in three games? That makes it very tough to stop opposing offenses, or to create big plays defensively. The rush hasn't had many opportunities, but on the times it does have chances, it has to get to the quarterback and get him down.

8. The potential is there.Look, this is not a day for positive. I get that. And I get that fans do not want to hear it. But the Jaguars put together two very good drives Sunday. There were times they got guys blocked. Do it consistently and you can put together some offense.

9. Justin Blackmon is showing signs of life.He caught six passes for 48 yards, and had a couple of plays that showed his potential. On one play in the first half, he showed the body control that made him the No. 5 overall selection and picked up a key first down. That needs to keep growing, but Sunday was maybe the start of the start.

10. Marcedes Lewis needs to be more involved. It's tough to get him involved when the line is struggling, but he showed Sunday what he can do in the passing game. He had a nice 23-yard screen for a first down and a diving touchdown reception. That's two touchdown receptions in four games, and if the line can get right, he could be more productive moving forward.

11. Fred Taylor is all class. OK, we learned this a long time ago, but he showed it again Sunday. Not that we expected anything else. We're moving on now, but a final congratulations to Taylor on his induction into the Pride of the Jaguars. A well-deserved honor and a special moment.

12. Maurice Jones-Drew can't do it alone.Sometimes in this league opponents can stop the run. That's particularly true when the opponent gets an early lead. On Sunday, he rushed for 38 yards on 13 carries, and right now that usually means a tough day for the Jaguars' offense. That has to change. He's an elite back, but Sunday showed why an offense must be so much more.

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