Will the Jags Open it Up?
The Jaguars may have set NFL football back 60 years with their game plan last week as they ran the ball as much as possible to protect rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert. The lack of passing or killer instinct came at a price as the team's defense could not protect what was seemingly thought of as some sort of insurmountable five-point lead.
"I thought we were a little too conservative and I'd like to see us increase our aggressiveness in attacking defenses and attacking schemes and attacking personnel and going after them. We'll discuss that as a staff," Del Rio said.
The Jaguars run the football more than any team in the NFL (in terms of run-pass ratio) and that simply doesn't work in the NFL in 2011. At least it doesn't if you can't throw the football, and Jacksonville ranks dead-last in passing.
"The offense is anemic right now and what they're doing clearly isn't working. We have to try something different," former Jaguars offensive tackle Tony Boselli said on Jaguars This Week.
"We'd like to be balanced and balance nowadays is even when you throw it a little bit more than you run, really, in today's NFL," the Jaguars head coach explained. "But we'd like to grow in that phase of things and certainly be a team that can be balanced."
So the powers that be realize the Jaguars game plan was too conservative last week and they are playing a team that will score points on Sunday. One would believe that as a heavy underdog Jacksonville would have nothing to lose to attempt to let the rookie quarterback do what he was drafted for.
Roth Could Keep It Competitive
The New Orleans Saints have had one of the league's most lethal passing attacks for the last five years. Drew Brees looks like a future Hall-of-Famer as he can make all the throws and the New Orleans offense is predicated on throwing the ball early and often.
"He's clearly one of the elite players in the league at his position and has done a great job in his time there in New Orleans," Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said when asked about the Saints great quarterback.
If the Jaguars are going to have any chance to slow down this juggernaut, they will need to find a pass rush, something that was absent without both Aaron Kampman and Matt Roth a week ago. We know Kampman will be out as he still recovers from his torn ACL from a year ago but Roth could play on Sunday and will be a key factor in the game.
"You'd like to be at full strength to take on a team that's got the talent level they do and some of the abilities they do, but as is the case whenever somebody is not able to go you just plug in the next guy and expect to play well," Del Rio said.
If the Jaguars have to start either John Chick or Austen Lane opposite Jeremy Mincey, it could be a Drew Brees fantasy owners dream day.
Bumps and Bruises
The first injury report of the week is out and the Jaguars and Saints have the pages littered with names. First we'll start with the visitors from the Bayou.
LB Will Herring (hamstring), C Olin Kreutz (knee), T Zach Strief (knee), TE David Thomas (concussion), LB Jonathan Vilma (knee) and LB Martez Wilson (neck, shoulder) each did not participate in Wednesday's practice session.
Linebacker Jonathan Casillas (foot, knee) and wide receiver Marques Colston (shoulder) were both limited, but Saints head coach Sean Payton said that Colston will be a go on Sunday.
S Jonathon Amaya (shoulder), WR Adrian Arrington (knee), DT Aubrayo Franklin (thigh), S Roman Harper (neck, shoulder), DT Tom Johnson (calf) and CB Tracy Porter (calf) were all full participants.
For the Jaguars, DT Tyson Alualu (knee), DE Aaron Kampman (knee) and RB Montell Owens (knee) did not participate.
DT Leger Douzable (thigh), S Courtney Greene (neck), RB Greg Jones (not injury related), RB Maurice Jones-Drew (not injury related), CB Rashean Mathis (not injury related), T Eugene Monroe (shoulder), WR Kassim Osgood (hamstring), DE Matt Roth (neck) and G Jason Spitz (quadricep) were all limited.
Tight end Marcedes Lewis (calf) and linebacker Clint Session (wrist) were each full participants.
Fresh off his 122-yard performance last week and the Jaguars affinity to keep Drew Brees and company on the sideline, one could expect Maurice Jones-Drew to have a big game on Sunday, right? Well, wrong. As Bo Marchionte of NFL Draft Bible pointed out, aside from his streak last season, Jones-Drew had only gone over 100 yards in consecutive games once in his career, in 2009.
The Jaguars have an opportunity to match or even exceed the total number of passing touchdowns they have all season long (1).
This will be the fourth consecutive week that former Jaguars quarterback David Garrard has not been on an NFL roster. You have to go all the way back to 2001 when Garrard was a senior at ECU to match such a streak.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and the host of "The Sports Crunch" on the Aquarius 7 Broadcasting Network (national), and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie
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