Bernstein Blog: JAX @ TEN

The Bernstein Blog is a new feature of in which I, Charlie Bernstein give my unrefined, yet accurate thoughts about the game. There may be some "colorful" language in this blog, being that it is pay-per-view. So if you don't like it, I invite you not to read.

It has been only one week, and it's not time to jump off any of the city's fine bridges if you're a hardcore Jags fan, but there is some certain reason for concern. I spent Saturday night at Bright House Networks Stadium covering the USF-UCF game, and I felt as if that game never ended. The Jaguars offense was striking reminiscent of the UCF Knights, with the exception that Jacksonville has a quarterback who just received $20+ million guaranteed on a contract extension, and UCF has a kid who made just his second collegiate start.

When the NFL released the schedule way back on April 15th, I truly believed that the Tennessee Titans would be the best team that the Jaguars could open with, especially on the heels of what happened in last season's opener. Knowing the offense would likely start slow (like most teams), the Titans seemed like the perfect opponent, being that Vince Young is their starting quarterback and there's no way they would mount much of a passing attack. One would assume that Tennessee's offensive line wouldn't be able to push around the Jacksonville defensive line due to what happened a year ago.

I was dead wrong. The Titans interior offensive line is as good as any in football, and despite Tennessee losing Travis LaBoy, Randy Starks, and Antwan Odom from their defensive line in free agency, the combination of Albert Haynesworth, Tony Brown, and Kyle Vanden Bosch was dominant. The Titans made it a point that the Jaguars were not going to beat them on the ground, and they were going to take their chances putting the ball in David Garrard's hands.

The quarterback gets too many accolades when the team wins, and too much blame when they lose, but that's simply the way it is. What happened to the franchise quarterback that the team gave a $60 million contract to? David Garrard looked like 2006 David Garrard as he held the ball for far too long, refused to throw it away which led to seven sacks, threw two interceptions, and had a bad fumble. I know the offensive line didn't play well for most of the first half, but if this guy is a franchise quarterback, you need a much better performance than that. As I looked around the league yesterday, I saw better performances out of Kyle Orton, Jake Delhomme, and J.T. O'Sullivan, among several others.

The Jaguars began six drives near midfield, and four drives inside Tennessee territory. Garrard and the Jaguars offense manufactured that kind of field position into exactly 10 points. Honestly folks, that's pathetic. The lack of accuracy isn't what was so concerning, it was the poor decision making. I'm not sure how that gets corrected in six days.

As for the Jaguars defense, they played well for the most part. That is, when Clint Ingram finally was replaced by Justin Durant. Ingram was overrunning plays, missing tackles, and showed himself to be just a guy at outside linebacker. Durant made an immediate impact, and the entire defense benefitted. Middle linebacker Mike Peterson talked more than he tackled, as he looked old and slow from everywhere but his mouth. Rashean Mathis continued his play of a year ago when he couldn't tackle anyone, and Reggie Nelson had a few big missed tackles as well. Free agent acquisition Drayton Florence spent most of the afternoon chasing Titans receivers and if Tennessee made the switch to Kerry Collins earlier, the final margin wouldn't have been nearly as close. Simply put, Florence couldn't cover anyone.

On a positive note, the Jaguars special teams with the exception of Josh Scobee was fantastic. Brian Witherspoon is an electric return man who possesses Devin Hester type of ability. The coverage units couldn't have been better. Gerald Sensabaugh played a fantastic game, and Brian Williams showed well at strong safety. Wide receiver Matt Jones caught every catchable ball thrown his way, and tight end Marcedes Lewis caught three passes (really four).

There's plenty of blame to go around for the Jaguars opening day loss, but none of it can go to the officiating. The team was simply out-muscled, outplayed, and outcoached for 60 minutes. I'm now going to check my calendar because I swear it's 2007.

Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.

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