When you lose two straight games by a combined score of 68-13 and three home games by a 98-20 count, there are going to be questions about making changes to your personnel.
Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey got those questions on Sunday evening after his team let a 3-3 halftime tie unravel into a 41-3 curb stomping that sends them into their bye with a 1-4 record. The questions about changes might feel a bit more urgent for the Jags since there’s precious little indication that better days are around the corner with the current personnel. At the top of the list of positions under scrutiny is quarterback.
Blaine Gabbert threw two pick-sixes in the second half and lost a fumble that killed a prime scoring chance just before halftime, the latest performance that made it hard to reconcile offseason talk of improvement with what what’s unfurling in front of your eyes. That led to questions for coach Mike Mularkey about whether or not there would be a change under center when the team returns for Week Six.
Mularkey said no and then went to work absolving Gabbert of the blame for the two interceptions. He blamed Justin Blackmon for not coming back to the ball on Charles Tillman’s interception, a forgiving assessment of a ball Gabbert should never have thrown. The second interception bounced off of Maurice Jones-Drew’s hands into Lance Briggs‘ and Mularkey wrote it off as bad luck. It was a high throw, though, and Jones-Drew had to reach up to get it with a defender right on top of him, which led to the deflection and six more Bears points. Gabbert wasn’t as willing to point the finger at others.
“It falls on my shoulders when the momentum swings that bad,” Gabbert said, via the team’s website. “When you have two pick sixes, you’re not going to win ball games.”
The Jags are now 5-13 in games started by Gabbert and the results are taking on a grim similarity that usually precedes big changes. Mularkey told his team that no such things are coming.
“I said, ‘No matter what is said outside, I think people inside know we are closer than anybody will ever write or say in the next two weeks,’” Mularkey said, via the Florida Times-Union.
You won’t get any argument here because there’s little doubt Mularkey’s got more confidence in his team, especially their offense, than I do after watching them on Sunday.