Although Jaguars fans might be excited with the move of starting Blake Bortles now, the team is still pretty distraught over how they’ve played in the first three weeks of the season. With the offense ranked last in yards and the defense ranked last in points allowed, changes to the lineup and roster aren’t exactly a surprise.
Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley announced that second-year safety Josh Evans would be inserted into the starting lineup in place of Winston Guy, and fourth-year journeyman linebacker J.T. Thomas III will be replacing Laroy Reynolds.
“My conversation with Winston and LaRoy was very similar, that we really like them as players and really like their skill set,” Bradley said. “But it’s about consistency and about when you have opportunity to make the plays, make the plays. I think they both understood that. I was very pleased with how they came back today.
“Sometimes a shock to the system like this brings them back and elevates their level of play. Maybe that’s what we’ll see from them.”
More efficient play on offense will obviously help the defense spend more time on the sideline, but it still isn’t an excuse to how the defense has been breaking down week after week.
“I feel like the situation is still the same,” Jaguars linebacker Dekoda Watson said after the team’s 44-17 loss. “We still didn’t do enough as a defense to stop them from putting points on the board. We still have to do our job as a defense, regardless of who they play, we still have to do our job on defense and they have to do their job on offense.”
Outside of Week 1 when the Jaguars registered five first half sacks against Nick Foles, the defensive line hasn’t affected opposing passers nearly enough. Sunday’s 31-39, 370 yard, 4 touchdown performance by Andrew Luck was good enough to earn him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
“He’s an awesome quarterback,” Watson said of the Colts’ Luck. “He’s able to throw the ball, he’s big strong and fast, he makes a lot of plays but it was a lot of things that he did, but there was a lot of things that we did that hurt us.”
It hasn’t just been the pass rush that’s hurt the Jags. The linebackers look lost in coverage and they’ve allowed opposing tight ends to simply feast. In three games, opposing tight ends have caught 22 passes for 283 yards and four touchdowns against Jacksonville. This week they will have to contend with San Diego’s Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green.
“We’re not playing well at all,” middle linebacker Paul Posluszny said. “We know we can play a lot better than where we’re at right now. We’ll continue to fight to fix the problems, make some changes and get better. We know we have to play a lot better than we are right now.”
Posluszny used to be the lone bright spot in an average to poor Jaguars defense but his play has slipped significantly this year. Posluszny has all too often overrun plays and teams have schemed to get him in coverage against their athletes, and he’s losing the matchups much more frequently than he’s winning them.
The Jaguars have their work cut out for them if they’re going to find a victory in Southern California. The San Diego Chargers are red hot with victories over previously unbeaten Seattle and Buffalo in the past two weeks. They rank 12th in passing offense and are tied for 4th in points allowed.
When these two teams met last year in Jacksonville, San Diego walked away with a pretty convincing 24-6 victory, en route to their 10-win season which included a playoff victory. The Jaguars have a new starting quarterback and new hope, and they will try to play a much more competitive game on Sunday.
"Shock To The System"
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