By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
Now that we have gotten the first win out of the way, maybe the perception of the Jacksonville Jaguars has changed a bit in many minds of fans, casual observers and the local and national media.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for the moment, are the worst team in the NFL. They have no wins, they sit in last place in the NFC South (yes, we still sit in last place in the AFC South) and they currently have the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Winning does change a few things - makes the day seem brighter, makes the drag of practice and preparation seem a little more worth the effort, and makes the work by Gus Bradley and David Caldwell easier to handle when we see a team that gave a solid defensive effort in the 29-27 win.
Yes, there are plenty of things the Jaguars have to work on and there is plenty still to prove as the season continues to roll on. Seven more weeks – seven more chances to win. While fans may be upset this team won over the weekend, taking away a potential chance at the top pick in the Draft (my father is included in this group of “fans”), winning has a nicer ring associated with the Jaguars and honestly, if there are writers who think like I do, we have grown tired of writing the same material over and over again about a losing franchise that “showed improvement.”A win for the Jacksonville Jaguars IS improvement.
It also means we will not make history as the 2008 Detroit Lions did. It means we can learn from this victory and know we can win in this league. It means there hopefully will be more fans in the stands on Sunday versus the Arizona Cardinals and it means that the idea that “winning is contagious” could actually exist in this city.
When the 2013 schedule for the team was revealed, we all knew there would be some tough challenges in the first eight games. We played all of our AFC West opponents before we faced a second AFC South rival. The 49ers were waiting for us in London and we still had to deal with demons that challenged this team internally.
A win to start the second half of the season helps make those demons a little less painful. And also makes this writer think there are more wins on the way.Arizona is 5-4 but has its flaws. The team is exciting but under Bruce Arians, it is still learning to control its own offense. Houston is a team in disarray. A win last week followed by a loss to the Cardinals. It has a free agent quarterback in Case Keenum who is exciting, but erratic. Our biggest fear is JJ Watt is still on their defense. We face them twice. Cleveland is an up and coming team. But it is the Browns. While they appear to be better, they are not ready for a playoff run. They still play like at times like they are, well, the Browns. Buffalo is a nice team to watch on defense, but has a rookie EJ Manuel who looked lost against Pittsburgh today. The Jaguars face them at home and can win this game. Tennessee is a team we just beat. Having a win under our belts already this season on the road will make a contest at home a little more tolerable. Hopefully we can sweep the Titans, a team we have a lot of history with. Indianapolis lost today to St. Louis and looked mortal. Maybe we catch them at the end of the season when they already have a playoff spot wrapped up and players sit out to rest.
What I am trying to get at here is there is lot of football to be played this season, but these games, maybe another three or four of them look winnable. Although it may upset the apple cart of fans who want us to “Tank for Teddy,” I would rather put out a winning product on the field, earn some respect from the league and deal with the draft later. Quitting is not what this team should be about. I thought Gus Bradley was trying to build a winning environment. Sunday, he showed me a little of what he has been talking about.
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