Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

What We Learned: Jaguars-Texans


* *

JACKSONVILLE – What We Learned from the Jaguars' 23-17 loss to the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on Sunday …

1.The Jaguars improved this season.This is a tough one for many to grasp, and these words likely will inspire eye-rolling, violent reactions or worse. Still, what's true is true. The Jaguars last season were uncompetitive in most games. In the regular-season finale last season, they traveled to Indianapolis and the game was never close. On Sunday, against a team playing to get into the postseason, they had first-and-goal at the 10 with a chance to win in the final two minutes. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't enough. It's all still very, very frustrating and there's still a long way to go. But considering where this team was in the 2012 offseason – and even this time last year – it's still moving in the right direction. /ducks.

2.The offense remains an issue.This is pretty broad-brushed and obvious, but while there were plenty of legitimate reasons for the offensive struggles, the fact remained that the unit just couldn't score enough – or move consistently enough – late in the season. That remained true Sunday. That doesn't mean quick-trigger reactions, but identifying why has to be a focus early in the offseason.

3.Third downs matter. A lot.Third-down offense was an issue early in the season, and while the Jaguars improved at times throughout the season, they entered Sunday's game 28th in the league in the area. They went 0-for-11 on third downs Sunday. When you can't sustain drives or hit big plays, the offense is limited.

4.Blake Bortles is a fighter …The rookie quarterback was a long way from perfect Sunday and he struggled much of the season. But on a day when not a lot went right offensively, he figured out a way late in the game to give the Jaguars a chance to win. He did it with his legs, which isn't what you want in the long run … still, he did it.

5. … but he must improve in the pocket …We'll get to the offensive line in a minute, and it was a long way from perfect, but Bortles moved out of the pocket too soon at times Sunday and didn't throw the ball away when he could have at other times. As Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said earlier this season, it's hard to blame him when the pocket collapses quickly, but this area must improve.

6. ... and he does have a long way to go.OK, we didn't learn this Sunday. The Jaguars knew it before the season and observers saw it more as the season continued. Bortles has a lot of developing to do. He's young. He's raw. His techniques and his footwork must improve, as must his knowledge of the offense. That's what makes this offseason crucial. He knows it, and soon enough he'll start working on it.

7.Luke Joeckel must get stronger.This has become more obvious as the season has continued and the second-year left tackle has come under more scrutiny. He said immediately after the game Sunday that strength and size will be his offseason focus. That's the theme. That's his storyline. We'll see how it plays out.

8.Right tackle must improve.The Jaguars' offensive line won't undergo the overhaul many observers and fans want – even with five sacks allowed Sunday and a franchise-record 71 for the season – but there will be change. That could mean a free agent or rookie to compete and add depth on the interior. It could mean evaluating coaching. And it almost certainly will mean drafting or signing a right tackle.

9.Jordan Todman makes plays.There weren't too many bright spots offensively Sunday, but Todman – as he has been several times late in the season – was one. He rushed for 52 yards on seven carries and caught five passes for 46 yards.

10.The defense remained strong.OK, it was a long way from perfect Sunday, but without Sen'Derrick Marks, Roy Miller and Paul Posluszny the Jaguars held the Texans to 3.2 yards per carry Sunday. That's passable. And even though the Texans weren't anything close to aggressive, the defense kept the game close enough for the offense to have a chance at the end. The hope for this defense at the beginning of the season was it could play well enough to keep a young offense in games. It did so, and kept doing it through the end of the season.

11.Chris Clemons was a good signing.The veteran free agent Leo defensive end finished the season with eight sacks. He had another Sunday that set up the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter. There has been a litany of free agent signings in the history of the franchise and the league that were far, far worse.

12.Drops hurt.The receivers – from Marqise Lee to Cecil Shorts III to tight end Marcedes Lewis – all had drop issues Sunday. That has happened too often this season. Bortles wasn't outstanding Sunday, but the drops hurt yet again.

13.The rookie receivers are still rookies.There was a lot of talk last week about the Jaguars' rookie wide receivers – and that talk is still legitimate. It's a talented bunch. It's a bunch that has a chance to be good. But rookie receivers have good weeks and bad weeks. This week rookies Allen Hurns and Lee combined for four receptions for 23 yards. They showed flashes this season. Next year they'll need to be more consistent.

14.The Jaguars improved.Whether you want to hear it or not … /ducks

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