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What We Learned: Jaguars-Redskins


JACKSONVILLE – What We Learned from the Jaguars' 41-10 loss to the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, Sunday …

1. The graph is not a steady upward arrow.This isn't a What We Learned where we can preach improvement. It's not going to be filled with words about how the Jaguars got better. They didn't get better Sunday. Not by any measure and not in any visible area. It doesn't necessarily follow that they got permanently worse, and Sunday doesn't have to define the season. But better? No, the Jaguars did not get better.

2. The offensive line must improve. Fast.There will be some stating the obvious in this WWL. That is by necessity, because what happened Sunday in Washington was there for all to see. Sunday's performance wasn't all on the offensive line. Quarterback Chad Henne could have played better. But 10 sacks? There was too much pressure all day and it's hard to envision any quarterback playing well behind the line Sunday.

3. It's not just the sacks.Far from it. The focus during and after the game has been on the franchise-record 10 sacks allowed by the Jaguars. But the rushing numbers were just difficult to digest: 25 yards on 10 carries, with running back Toby Gerhart rushing seven times for eight yards. The Jaguars talked all week about getting into third-and-manageable situations. An average of 1.1 yards per carry won't get you there.

4. There could be changes up front.The Jaguars are hoping to get starting right tackle Austin Pasztor back from his hand injury Sunday against Indianapolis. That would be one step. But what ailed the offensive line won't be solved by one player returning. By game's end, the Jaguars had Sam Young for Cameron Bradfield in at right tackle and Luke Bowanko at center for McClendon. Young probably isn't starting any time soon, but could it be time for Bowanko? Stay tuned.

5. Dekoda Watson's time at Otto linebacker could be at hand.This may be jumping the gun, but Watson replaced LaRoy Reynolds in the first half. The Jaguars signed Watson as a free agent to play the Otto linebacker position. If he doesn't start he still could be in line for more repetitions.

Images from the 1st half of the Jacksonville Jaguars week 2 game against the Washington Redskins in FedExField

6. The Jaguars' can't tackle like that and win … That's a dramatic understatement. Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny after the game called the tackling poor, and said the defensive effort was surprising because the team was well-prepared. He also said if you don't execute well, quality preparation doesn't matter. Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said afterward he doesn't believe the Jaguars are a poor-tackling team overall, and that he has seen the Jaguars tackle well enough that one bad game doesn't concern him. That needs to be true.

7. … and the defensive front can't play like, either.The Jaguars focused on the defensive line in free agency this past offseason. The idea was better depth would make them a better team against the run and therefore improve the pass rush. That theory looked solid after the opener. It did not look solid Sunday.  If this line isn't better than what it showed Sunday, that's a problem.

8. Youth is still youth.The easiest thing to do after one-sided loss is to assume everything and everybody is bad. Another easy thing to forget is that youth and inexperience can be tough obstacles to overcome in the NFL. The Jaguars are young at receiver and they're young on the offensive line. That doesn't explain away a 41-10 loss, but it explains some contributing factors.  Youth is one reason there's no go-to receiver and youth sure didn't help the pass protection Sunday.

9. Marcedes Lewis could be out a while.Lewis sustained a high-ankle sprain, which often means a four-to-six week absence. For a significant stretch on Sunday, Lewis' 63-yard touchdown was the only significant offense. Losing his receiving ability will hurt. Losing his blocking ability will hurt more. Losing one of the team's best players … well, it can't not hurt.

10. Ryan Davis may be the Jaguars' best pass rusher.Davis consistently has gotten pressure pretty much since being activated from the practice squad midway through last season. He had a sack in the regular-season opener, and on Sunday he had an impressive sack early when momentum was in question. Davis also had a tipped pass in the second quarter. Bright spots were rare for the Jaguars Sunday, but Davis was absolutely one.

11. Allen Robinson has ability.That has been evident whenever the second-round draft choice has been on the field. It was evident again Sunday. His biggest play came well after the score was out of hand, but his 54-yard reception showed the big-play ability. He can be a deep threat.

12. The Jaguars miss Cecil Shorts III …The absence of the veteran wide receiver did not cost the Jaguars the game, not by any means. But when things are getting out of hand you need a reliable, go-to receiver. Shorts could be that, but it's hard to be that when you're not on the field.

13… and they really miss Johnathan Cyprien.As was the case with Shorts, Cyprien's absence doesn't explain all that ailed the Jaguars Sunday. But the defense played very well in the opener before the second-year safety sustained a concussion. Since then, not so much.

14.The season's not over.This loss needn't define the season. It could prove to be a hiccup in the long haul. The Jaguars hope so, anyway.

15. The quarterback buzz is reaching a crescendo.The chorus calling for Blake Bortles to start grows louder by the week. Bradley gave no indication Sunday he planned to make a change, but he also didn't flat-out say Henne would start against Indianapolis. The guess here is Bortles is a little closer after Sunday to being in the starting lineup but that it won't happen Sunday. But those are only guesses.

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