The Indianapolis Colts’ Sunday trip to Jacksonville provided an opportunity to ask five questions of JagsInsider Publisher Charlie Bernstein, who has covered the NFL for more than a decade.
1. Chad Henne spoke on the conference call about the Jaguars getting some new bodies on the offensive line. What's the latest on the O-line shuffling?
After you yield 10 sacks in a game, there will be a shakeup. Right tackle Cameron Bradfield, who started the first two games was released and you can expect to see Austin Pasztor at right tackle (he's been injured since preseason). The team is also going to try Luke Bowanko at center, and he'll be the third different starter at the position since the start of preseason. Pasztor is a certain upgrade over Bradfield and Bowanko lost the starting center job, so there isn't much to go on there.
2. Not to belabor the same topic, but after allowing 13 sacks in two games, do you think the changes will make a difference against a weak Colts pass rush with only one sack and six hurries so far?
I think I can make a bold statement and say with some sense of certainty that the Colts will not get 10 sacks on Sunday. To be perfectly honest, the Jaguars’ offensive line obviously isn't good, but I would only put about half of those sacks on them. Chad Henne holds the ball far too long and when he starts getting hit, he seems to hold the ball even longer (example: deer in headlights). The Colts obviously don't have pass rushers like Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo so I would think the Jaguars offensive line should hold up a little better.
3. Is there a key offensive player for the Jaguars that we might not know much about in Indy?
There is, but they have to be smart enough to play him. I'm talking about quarterback Blake Bortles. Regarding the guys that do play, rookie wide receiver Allen Hurns is a guy to watch. He was an undrafted free agent because he didn't have a lot of measurables. Still, Hurns knows how to run routes and he routinely gets open, despite not having great size or speed. To give you an idea of how impressive he's been, most undrafted rookies just want a shot at making the team or practice squad. Hurns had a starting job over two guys drafted in the second round locked up by the third week of preseason.
4. The Colts are treating this as a "must-win" game, obviously because of lofty season expectations. The understated mind-set on Jaguars conference calls was more of "we just want to get better this week." Is that what you're hearing, or do some Jaguars consider this a "must win" also?
The Jaguars don't get caught up in "must win" type of talk. To put it simply, they know what they are and they're simply not there yet. Nobody believed that this was a playoff team coming in and although the team, coaching staff and fans want to win every week they know the reality of the situation. This season is about improving and eventually playing Blake Bortles.
5. In Week 1, the Colts threw a ton. In Week 2, they played smashmouth. No clue on what they think this week. How would you assess the Jaguars' pass and run defenses?
The Jaguars’ defensive line is the deepest and most talented position on the team. With that said, we've seen a lot of break downs from the linebackers which have allowed big plays in the running game. With safety Jonathan Cyprien out for most of the second half against Philadelphia and last week's game against Washington, opposing quarterbacks have simply had their way. And Nick Foles and Kirk Cousins aren't good enough to get coffee for a guy like Andrew Luck. I would believe that the Colts’ best opportunity to attack the Jaguars is through the air, specifically with their tight ends. It seems as if the Jaguars have an aversion to covering tight ends and that goes back to the start of the franchise. If the Indy line can protect, there will be some huge plays in the passing game available.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.