A full day has passed since the Jacksonville Jaguars' debacle in New England, and hopefully everyone has calmed down. If not, here's some help from my buddy, Kenny G. Sure, things seemed bleak and hopeless yesterday, but things will get better from here and like that guy from the Men's Warehouse commercials, I guarantee it.
Okay folks, keep in mind that most of the players have only been practicing for two weeks and the free agents have only practiced for one week. Minicamps and OTAs are the times when trust (which is paramount for most units in the NFL) is established between offensive linemen. The fact that a longtime member of the offensive line (Vince Manuwai) is gone and has been replaced by a rookie (Will Rackley). It's going to take a bit of time to for them to work optimally. The same goes for wide receivers and QBs as well. You could see it during the game when Gabbert would throw at a certain area, only to have the receiver break off into another route. That stuff usually gets worked out in the OTAs. However, as the weeks go by, this small stuff should disappear.
The tanks are still in the armory
All of the offensive and defensive weapons have not played yet. Maurice Jones-Drew hasn't played (Although Rashad Jennings has filled in well) and neither has Marcedes Lewis. Fans often tend to underestimate Lewis' impact on Jaguars offense. Not only does he open lanes for Mojo, but he keeps defensive ends out of the backfield and he keeps the chains moving. The pass rush is affected as well. The pass rush may have looked nonexistent during the game, but it will be improved when Aaron Kampman and Terrance Knighton are brought back in. Tyson Alualu may be very good, but if the other people surrounding him are ineffective, he can be phased out, However, when Knighton's large frame returns to the rotation, he will draw double blocks, allowing Kampman and Alualu to work one-on-one and create mayhem in the opposing backfield, Cecil Shorts, who has been turning heads in training camp as a favorite target of Gabbert, wasn't allowed to play in the game, either.
IT'S THE FIRST GAME!!!
Come on, this stuff happens almost every year, except that this year, the coaches and players are scrambling around trying to make sense of things after a prolonged lockout. They're not running zone blitzes and stuff like that. This first preseason game was just a glorified scrimmage. Don't put too much stock into the first game. However, as the Jaguars probably unveil their weapons in the preseason home opener in front a national TV crowd, watch closely, because all of the chains will be loosed.
Tags: Aaron Kampman, Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Jaguars, Marcedes Lewis, Rashad Jennings, Terrance Knighton, Tyson Alualu, Vince Manuwai, Will Rackley