What we learned

20121029-bgabbert.jpg

1. Blane Gabbert has a chance.At the bye, there were tons of questions. Actually, for a lot of people there are still questions. But a strong case can be made Gabbert has played better the last two weeks than in any other stretch of his career. He's not there yet. He's still a ways from there. But the last couple of weeks lead you to believe there may be good things to come.

2. Cecil Shorts can be good.We're a week removed from Shorts making some critical errors, so to paraphrase Denny Green, it's not time to crown the guy. Still, Shorts has made plays more consistently than any other Jaguars receiver this season and he had his first career 100-yard game Sunday. He earned more playing time, and he's proving he deserved it.

3. The drops haven't stopped. By several counts, Jaguars receivers dropped eight passes Sunday. Whatever the count, there were too many. It has been a problem all season. On Sunday, it cost Gabbert a huge game and may have cost the Jaguars a victory.

4. The pass rush is getting better.The pass rush got help from a secondary that played well most of the game Sunday, but you know what? That's OK. The pass rush is supposed to get some help from the secondary. The rush had two sacks and did a good job harassing Aaron Rodgers with limited blitzing. That's how the Jaguars need to play defense to be effective.

5. The Jaguars miss Derek Cox.Credit the secondary for covering very, very well Sunday. But Cox is the best cover corner on the team, and the Jaguars missed him late in the crucial minutes.

6. Andre Branch may be developing.It has been slow growth, but for a rookie defensive end, it often is. Branch got his first significant play of his NFL career Sunday, and it was a big one – a sack/fumble that set up the Jaguars' lone touchdown.

7. Numbers have helped the defensive line.The line wasn't dominant Sunday, but it was good. And without question it has played better the last two weeks than it did the first five games of the season. The return of Austen Lane has helped. The return of George Selvie has, too. The Jaguars have been solid against the run the last two weeks, and the pass rush has picked up, too. It's no coincidence that with the return of John Chick, the defensive front is the healthiest it has been all season.

8. Justin Blackmon is still a rookie.He had his best statistical game of the season, and was a half-foot (the one that was out of bounds in the second half) from another really big play. He had a huge play early in the first half that showed why he was the No. 5 overall selection. In the second half, he had some plays that weren't nearly as impressive and others that drew criticism from observers. He's still young, but the Jaguars continue to like his progress, and Head Coach Mike Mularkey likes his approach in recent weeks.

9. Losing still hurts.There are no moral victories. It's a cliché, but it's also true. The Jaguars played maybe their best game of the season Sunday, and still lost. Players felt the pain. And the frustration. In the NFL, losing stinks. And there is no substitute for winning.
10. Gabbert is tough.It would be nice not to have write this, but enough people still question it that it's sort of necessary. The guy played with a shoulder injury, and shrugged off a couple of really hard hits Sunday. He did all of that and played maybe the best game of his career. Say what you want about the progress and everyone's entitled to their opinion, but he's tough.

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