The Jacksonville Jaguars had to finally face reality in Week 3 of the preseason. After two weeks of winning against playoff teams, they had to face the fact that they are not ready yet. While there is still time to tweak things going into the season, there are still a few important issues to fix.
Missed tackles have become an issue that needs to be resolved quickly. This was an issue in the first two games as well, but it blew up against the Baltimore Ravens. When someone catches the ball in the open field, they need to be wrapped up immediately. That is what made 2011's defense so great. Now, we've reverted back to 2009's defense, complete with Aaron Ross pulling a "Reggie Nelson" (getting beat in coverage and then falling down almost immediately after a half-hearted swipe at the ball). The most egregious error was when Courtney Greene had a clear shot at Bobby Rainey in the open field and whiffed, turning a 5 yard gain into a 40+ yard touchdown.
The second issue is with the pass protection. Guy Whimper shouldn't even be on this team right now. He is the single biggest reason for the offense's stagnant performance on Thursday. Whimper's poor pass blocking was the reason why Blaine Gabbert had so many checkdowns, which made it easy for Bernard Pollard to just wrap up the ballcarrier for an easy three and out. If any of this is sounding familiar, it's because it basically what we did to the Ravens during Monday Night Football in 2011.They beat the Jaguars at their own game and they had a good time doing it.
Even despite all of this, there were still some positives to this game. Blaine Gabbert still kept his cool in the pocket, even while being assaulted by the Ravens defense. There were no jitters or hesitation, even during a play where he didn't expect the ball to be snapped and while he often elected to check down from the deep routes, he made smart decisions with the ball. Rashad Jennings added another solid game to his resume as well, gaining 57 yards on 13 carries. To paraphrase ike Mularkey, this game should be one that you must learn from, because when the regular season starts, there are no mulligans.
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