Jaguars Keys to the Second Half

The first half of the Jaguars season is over and there have been ups and downs. Nobody in the building is enamored with the team's 2-6 record and although they're out of playoff contention, there are a few things the team can accomplish in the second half of the season.

Keys to a Successful Second Half



1. Give Blaine Gabbert an opportunity to be evaluated.

I'm well aware that Gabbert has started six games but honestly, how much evaluation can you do on a guy whose weapons are constantly letting him down when he's not running for his life? The players around Gabbert must play better so the front office can get a true idea if their rookie quarterback can play.

2. Time to end the forced playing time from draft picks.

The unofficial NFL rule is that if two guys are at roughly the same ability at a position, the younger guy plays. It's understandable. Especially if the younger guy is one of the current GM's draft picks. With that said, Cecil Shorts has been awful at wide receiver and is simply taking snaps from more deserving guys. On the line, Will Rackley has looked completely overwhelmed and has shown no reason for anyone to believe he can play in the NFL. It's time to play other guys.

3. Evaluate the rest of your roster.

In the first half we've seen players such as John Chick, Kyle Bosworth, Cameron Bradfield, Dwight Lowery and Russell Allen step up and play well in spots. It's time to see even more of those guys and don't be afraid to have a quicker hook on some of the other positions that are not performing. What's there to lose?

4. Keep MJD healthy.

You can call it a pitch count or something else, but Maurice Jones-Drew's long-term health is much more important than anything you can accomplish on the field the rest of this season. Teams are keyed into stopping the dynamic back and at this pace he's going to get hurt. I'm not saying shut him down, but no more than 20 carries per game.

5. Embrace the role of spoiler.

The Jaguars have showed that they can and will compete from week to week, despite being out-manned against playoff caliber teams. With remaining games against the Texans, Chargers, Buccaneers, Falcons and Titans, the Jaguars can have a say in the playoff race and seeding. If the Jags can't make the postseason, what would be a better Christmas present than to knock the Titans out of the playoffs?



Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering 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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