Everyone reading this knows that I’m a big Jack Del Rio supporter. Del Rio is not only a good person, he’s a great coach. The players love him, and if you don’t believe that, go watch this video on Jaguars.com. It contains excerpts from Del Rio’s, MJD’s, and Gabbert’s post game press conferences. As the players in the video say, it’s all about execution, and something has to change.
Now, I support Jack Del Rio, and I hope the team turns it around in a hurry, but I’m not stupid. I realize that he will probably be fired at the end of the season, if not much earlier. I acknowledge that, and I can live with that. What annoys me, as Alfe Crow has pointed out, is that Gene Smith isn’t taking a similar level of heat as Del Rio. True, he will be by the end of the season if the Jaguars woes continue, but in my mind, he hasn’t given Del Rio a talented enough team to win games. It’s that simple. Screw the “players not plays” mentality. I’d like to make it read “players not coaches,” and that puts the bulls-eye squarely on Gene Smith’s chest.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way for the week (or the day perhaps), I can move on to talking about the Jaguars. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Jaguars should have won on Sunday, as was the case in Carolina 2 weeks prior. The Jaguars should be 3-2, but instead they’re a woeful 1-4 and looking for answers.
The Bengals scored the game winning touchdown after Matt Turk shanked yet another punt, giving the Bengals the ball at about the 30 yard line. No, not the Bengals’ 30 yard line, the Jaguars’ 30. There’s no doubt that this defense is much better than last year’s unit, but come one. That’s asking too much, too often of the Jags’ defense, and it cost them the game. The Jaguars worked out punters today, and they’ll likely replace Turk in the immediate future.
The other problems have stemmed from a lack-luster offense. The Jaguars started the game with a great touchdown drive before promptly returning to their mediocre form of an offense. Del Rio has been criticized for settling for field goals inside of the 5 yard line, but it was the right call. The fact is that they couldn’t score from that distance 3 plays in a row, and points should never be taken off the board. There was no guarantee that they would make it back to field goal range at that point. In hindsight, of course you go for it both times, but JDR didn’t know his punter would practically give the game away. That’s football, and he made the tough decision. I had no problems with it.
The Jaguars head to Pittsburgh this weekend. This is where this team will decide what it wants for the rest of the season. This is where teams will either roll over and die, or they’ll fight to the bitter end. Let’s see if the Jaguars have any heart left in them, because that’s what they’ll need on Sunday.