By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
Regardless of thier record and how things look on Sundays, the fans here in Jacksonville should be thankful for football. I, for one, am as I celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family.
For years prior to the city being awarded the 32nd franchise in the NFL, Jacksonville was always a bridesmaid, never a bride. The “Bold City of the South” was teased and played with by franchises from Baltimore, Houston, Arizona and New Orleans. Residents would pack the then Gator Bowl to show support for an NFL franchise and mayors like Jake Godbold would pledge the city’s loyalty to anyone who wanted use the stadium or the geographical location as a pawn for a better deal right they stood.
In 1993 all that changed when Jacksonville became the “Little City That Could.”
Now, the Jaguars are part of a fraternity, a brotherhood that cannot be copied. The team may lose games and lose them in ways that make the fan base scratch it head and ask for changes to be made on a daily basis, but honestly, the alternative of not having football in the town is worth this pain.
There is hope that one day in the near future, this franchise will be one that other NFL teams aspire to be. The rush of emotion that comes with the pregame and kickoff and the adrenaline of being at the stadium or watching Jaxson DeVille and his antics make us all pretty darn lucky.
We should be thankful for a young quarterback who is not afraid of his own shadow. We should like the fact he takes responsibility for his mistakes and wants to get better. We should allow him the chance to be better, because in the long run, he could be Elway or Brady or Manning or even Luck. For now, he is Roethlisberger in waiting.
We should be thankful for our defensive front four that continues to amaze us. Did you know the Jaguars are first in the league with 43 sacks? That is almost four a game and over 16 games, that is 64 total – a number that has to impress the diehard fan in cities over the Mason-Dixon like. Thank you Chris Clemons and Red Bryant for stepping up.
And most of all, we should be thankful for the season and the holidays. We should be thankful for young receivers and a scat back named Robinson. We should enjoy an offensive line that could be very good. We should also hope Gus Bradley and Dave Caldwell finally get it.
Hopefully this time next week we will be talking about our Jaguars as winners. But no matter how things pan out, our football team is something we all should be thankful to have in the first place.
Roy Millerhas been selected by his teammates as the 2014 Ed Block Courage Award winner. The award is presented each year to one member of every NFL team, recognizing the player’s courage and dedication in returning from injury or illness.
Miller suffered a shoulder injury during the 2013 season and played through the injury instead of opting for surgery. He waited until the conclusion of the season to get the shoulder surgically repaired. Miller spent the entire offseason rehabilitating the injury in Jacksonville and has returned to full health for the 2014 season. He has started all 11 games and has totaled 22 tackles and four tackles for loss.
“Roy stands for everything this award is about,” Jaguars defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks said. “He battled through an injury the entire season, never complained, but played every Sunday for us. He is the epitome of a true teammate. It was a real credit to him and his dedication to his teammates.”
Miller will be honored along with the other 31 team nominees in March of 2015 at the 36th annual Ed Block Courage Awards gala in Baltimore.
Miller was also nominated as the Jaguars 2014 Salute to Service Nominee. Teams nominated players, coaches, personnel and alumni who demonstrate an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community. Finalists for the award will be announced in January, and the winner will be recognized at the “4th Annual NFL Honors” awards show in Arizona on Saturday, January 31, the night before Super Bowl XLIX.
By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
I wish a coach would just come out after a huge loss and admit the team stunk the joint up. Instead, all we hear is the company line – the same shtick that has been repeated week after week in preparation for a season that has proven to be anything but positive.
This is not a team that is showing progress. Despite five sacks of Andrew Luck, the Jaguars did nothing to prove it used the week off to good use and came up with a winning game plan. At this point in the 2014 season, it’s sickening to watch at times. At this point, very fan that shows his displeasure for how this season has failed has a right to complain, a right to want to rethink the money they spent and the right to criticize any part of this organization they want to. Some have called for the coach and general manager to go. A majority thinks the offensive coordinator should be replaced and some have even questioned how team owner Shad Khan has ran this organization.
Personally, I think they all have a point. There are plenty of fingers to point at this organization, but the way the team played on Sunday could be summed up in one assessment by my friend Billy.
“Zero tackling on special teams! Defense playing well but we can't count on our defense to do everything, every single game! No fun to watch these Jags games anymore until they put a competitive product on the field. They better win at least 9 or 10 ball games next year to show huge improvement or heads should roll. Whether it's right or wrong that's the nature of this business!”
That’s another disgruntled fan voicing his opinion about how the Jaguars have not finished what they started in 10 of their 11 games this season.
I did not expect the playoff this season, but I did expect mediocrity. I expected more offense and more wins. I have gotten none of that. Right about now, I’d say this is a team that “owes” its fans a better energy, a better performance and more heart than this team has showed the past two games over the last three weeks.
There are five games remaining in the season and the New York Giants coming into EverBank with one thing in mind – to win. It’s a good bet the way this team has played lately, the Giants could look like world beaters under former Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin.
All fans want to see if improvement. The defense began the game against the Colts then hid their heads in the sand as Andrew Luck picked them apart. This weekend its Eli Manning’s turn. While the younger Manning has not been the best behind center this season, this could be the week he looks like his brother Peyton – at the Jaguars expense.
We own the first or second pick in the 2015 NFL Draft right now. Can we just get up off the carpet this time and give New York all it can handle for four quarters? That’s not too much to ask. Even if we cannot win this game (which I don’t think we will) at least we could be competitive.
At least the fans would be happy with that.
By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
Marcedes Lewis and Blake Bortles have never been on a regular season field together in the same game.
That is about to change this weekend.
As the Jaguars plan to face Indianapolis this weekend, the team will welcome back their big tight end after eight weeks with a high ankle sprain. This should be a boost to the Jaguars offense, but honestly, and yes I agree with David Lamm, how much of an improvement is to be determined.
The Jaguars’ tight end has been mostly MIA in recent years, having to help pass block because of a weak offensive line or to protect Blaine Gabbert from himself in the past. Blake Bortles and his athletic ability make this a better situation for everyone involved.
To their credit last season, the Jaguars used Marcedes Lewis more and more as a pass catching threat in the second half of the season – mostly due to injuries to the receivers on the team – and he responded with blocking, catches and more importantly, first downs and touchdowns. This season with taller, fleeter receivers, Lewis could be another big target this team needs. I do not necessarily think he could be the difference maker the Jaguars need, but he could improve the scoring chances for them in a huge way.
It could be argued that besides the quarterback position, the tight end slot on offense has become the most important to the success of an NFL franchise. There are a limited amount of “stars” at the position, so finding one who can catch balls like a gazelle and can block like a third tackle is mega important to WINS.
Back when the Jaguars were winning division titles and making playoff appearances, the tight end position was in good hands with the likes of Kyle Brady and Pete Mitchell. But other than Lewis’ Pro Bowl appearance in 2010, has the team really had a solid player to fill the position? And with Lewis and his big contract possibly becoming a topic of discussion in 2015, will this be the last six games we see Lewis in Black and Teal?
The Jaguars need Lewis to perform. He needs to catch passes, block pass rushers and most importantly, score touchdowns. He needs to be everything he was in 2010. Like I said before, the position seems to have been forgotten in the recent past. Hopefully the second half of last year will be a reminder for this coaching staff as they prepare for the second half of this season.
Hopefully the more Lewis performs the more Bortles will improve. And the more Lewis and Bortles improve, the better chances are Lewis may return to Jacksonville next season.
By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
While I said on Monday that the Jaguars and their fans should consider the final six weeks of the season as a new beginning for the franchise, there is still the problem of determining just what went wrong over the course of the first 10 games and the 16 total games on the schedule.
Reeling off two or three more wins, much like the team did last year will do wonders for team moral and maybe for the fans psyche, however it does not change what is wrong here in Jacksonville. Head coach Gus Bradley gives the same speech every week about how this team is learning and progressing. The team, admittedly, is better than it was last season. It shows in different segments of the team each game, but unless we are talking about the Cleveland win, there are nine games where miscues and ineptness have cost the team wins.
So, my question to everyone out there is, “Who falls on the sword for this franchise?”
The defensive unit, although still dealing with issues at linebacker and in the secondary, has played better in the past six weeks. There is still a need for an elite pass rusher, two linebackers and a safety. Free agency can take care of most of those needs. The NFL Draft should yield he team (which has the No. 2 selection should the season end today) a top pass rusher like Randy Gregory from Nebraska or top offensive lineman like Brandon Scherff of Iowa. If the team trades down, Florida’s Dante Fowler or someone like linebacker Vic Beasley of Clemson or Shane Ray of Missouri could fit nicely here.
Each addition would surely help the team, but that is not what this blog is about. Bluntly put, which staff member, member of management or what security guard on game day is responsible for another collapse – well really impotence in this team’s ability to win football games?
If it is the offense that cannot “do its job” on Sundays, does it clearly fall on the coordinator Jedd Fisch? There is improvement in the offensive line, the running game and there are better receivers on the roster. Blake Bortles’ progression was steady, but has tapered off. Does quarterback coach Frank Scelfo take the blame for a lack of steady play? These are decisions that must also be made in the offseason. Team owner Shad Khan is not going to fire general manager Dave Caldwell, and in turn Caldwell is not going to tell Bradley he must go. The blue print is still in place and for the most part, it is working but may take an extra year to get there. Bradley and Caldwell are doing this for the first time. They need more than two years to turn this around. But someone must be held accountable.
Look for there to be a change, or two, in the offensive coaching staff next season. Sometimes it isn’t as much the players who might be in the wrong situation, rather the coaches who are teaching these players about the situation at hand.