Jaguars failing to meet lowered expectations


PFT is looking at every team’s state of the franchise during their bye week. 

We looked at Carolina earlier this week. Now up: The Jacksonville Jaguars.

Lowered expectations won’t cut it

The minute Jack Del Rio cut David Garrard, there were lowered expectations for this Jaguars team. When Del Rio went to rookie Blaine Gabbert in Week 3, the bar was set even lower.

That isn’t likely to help Del Rio keep his job.

Everything was building towards 2011. The team spent a lot of money in free agency. It’s year three of G.M. Gene Smith’s rebuilding plan.  The Jaguars are competitive, but 2-6 is 2-6.

Gabbert giving cause for concern

Yes, he’s a rookie. Struggles are to be expected.  Then again, Cam Newton, Christian Ponder, and Andy Dalton are rookies as well.  They are all playing much better.

Gabbert’s play has regressed as the season has worn on. There hasn’t really been one game or moment for him where he’s looked like a franchise quarterback. The team hasn’t passed for 100 net yards in three weeks.

Excuses aplenty abound. He doesn’t have great weapons. Sometimes you have to trust your eyes, however. Gabbert looks a lot more like Jimmy Clausen or J.P. Losman than a promising prospect.

Linebacker group stands out

I had my doubts whether the Jaguars made wise investments by handing out so much money in free agency this year. I was wrong.

Paul Posluszny has been terrific. Combine him with Daryl Smith and free agent pickup Clint Session and the Jaguars have one of the best linebacker crews in the league.

Defense doing its job

This is a playoff-caliber defense.  The secondary has settled down. The pass rush isn’t great, but the team is tenth in points allowed and seventh in yards allowed. They are very tough to run against.

Disappointing core players

Aaron Kampman signed a huge contract two years ago and hasn’t been healthy enough to be a factor. Tight end Marcedes Lewis signed a big long-term deal and isn’t making much of an impact.

Most alarming is the play of defensive tackle Tyson Alualu. He looked like one of the best young players at his position last year, but has struggled big time this season.  Terrence “Pot Roast” Knighton has been far more effective.

Winnable games ahead

The Jaguars face the Colts and Browns on the road coming off the bye. Those are teams Jacksonville can beat.

Still it’s hard to see the Jaguars winning more than 5-6 games this year. Taking a step back well below .500 isn’t going to work for Del Rio. He needs to win now.

Not only are the Jaguars bad, they are boring. That’s a rough combination in a town trying to sell tickets.

49 responses to “Jaguars failing to meet lowered expectations

  1. If you ask me, Gabbert is doing just fine. He is the typical rookie and should not be compared with other rookie quarterbacks. First of all he doesn’t have a good supporting cast on the offensive side as the Jags are more defense-oriented than the other teams sporting rookie QBs.

    Let him develop; then see if he is worthy. Right now he is still learning.

  2. Why the heck was this even written?

    Seriously …

    And if you think Alualu has struggled badly – you haven’t seen ANY JAG GAMES.

  3. theres on huge difference between them and other qbs… gabbert has NO weapons. mjd yea but i mean hes even lost a step w the injury as well i mean they beat the ravens when mjd had like 10 fumbles lol and even one at the 1 where gabbert led them down..give the man weapons and a functional defense! althought mathis has helped them significantly

  4. It’s depressing as a Jaguar fan to see this team settle for average…and cant even achieve that!!

  5. Most alarming is the play of defensive tackle Tyson Alualu. He looked like one of the best young players at his position last year, but has struggled big time this season.

    Forgot to mention that he has/had knee injury????
    Gabbert didn’t look good, but played against good defenses w/o anything close to AJ Green, Steve Smith or P.Harvin…..Jags defense is way more entertaining:)

  6. I saw the MNF game they played & won. Gabbert was not an accurate passer & looked lost. If that is representative of his usual performance, I’d say he’s a bust already.

    I realize he’s a rookie, but I can’t think of many QBs that play really crappy as a rookie starter & become franchise QBs.

    Big Ben didn’t look that great as a rookie, but he didn’t look this bad either. I’d be worried if I was a Jags fan.

  7. Of course there are lower standards for a team who covers over 10,000 seats and still had trouble selling out to avoid a blackout. At least L.A will pay to see the Jaguars.

  8. Only took 9 responses to get to the tarp and LA joke, I think thats the longest yet. I’d love to see people like Ari888 step up and tell us who his team is so we can laugh at him too, but cowards will be cowards.

    Gabbert has looked bad this year. MJD is still a beast but I think he forgot the stickum for his hands this year. Defense is amazingly better then last. If only we had some WRs and an accurate QB….

  9. “Big Ben didn’t look that great as a rookie, but he didn’t look this bad either. I’d be worried if I was a Jags fan.”

    what are you talking about? He was undefeated until he played a cheating Patriots team in the playoffs. Completed 66% of his passes and had the highest QB rating (98) for a rookie ever. The only difference between Gabbert and Newton/Dalton/Ponder is the coaching and talent surrounding him. Why are people so impatient as to expect any rookie to do anything. Big Ben was the most successful rookie QB in NFL history and to hear you tell it he didn’t look so good. Seriously?

  10. Tyson Alualu has been playing the whole year on one leg. He’s still playing though, and not a liability (like you admitted teams don’t run well on them, indicative of DT play.) That’s toughness.

  11. i think ppl r so spoiled by the performances of rookies recenctly such as flacco, ryan, bradford, dalton, newton, ponder that noone takes the time 2 realize there rookies and on a jaguar team that that is to cheap 2 spend anymoney on anything!

    if u think all rookie qbs r beast comin out the gate look at NY qbs sanchez and mannings rookie yr.. sanchez granted is a bum but manning had a way below par rookie yr even tho he started only 7 games.. im a Giants fan trust me i seen it but now look at eli it only took 8 years lmao but hes finally consistant now which is makin him elite and on top of that winning!

  12. I remembered wondering during the draft, why aren’t we seen anything from this Blaine Gabbert QB, who was always being closely compared to Cam but constantly portrayed as better choice to Cam?

    The same folks who were hyping him as a better and more NFL ready than any of the other QBs were the only ones who supposedly saw him practiced during his Pro Day and marveled as to how GREAT he was. Bet u dollars to donut that if any of the other rookie QBs, especially Cam, was having their bars set as low as Blaine is and still not delivering, the word “bust” would be all over them.

    BTW, didn’t the Jags reach up to get Blaine? With all the excuses now being made for him, no one has yet to mention that he was a top ten QB…Doesn’t how high u go aff the draftboard mean anything anymore or is that only when it comes to certain QBs.

  13. Can’t blame everything on the lack of weapons around him. They are still NFL receivers and this kid can’t hit anybody. Less than 100 yards every game is inexcusable. With that defense this kid has to just be average and they’d be a .500 team. Unfortunately he’s miles from average and the Jags missed big time on this pick. I think we can stop hearing about him being the next Joe Montana as all the clueless analyst were saying prior to the draft.

  14. @jrobitaille23…did you not watch Big Ben his rookie year? He threw like 15 times/game. He didn’t suck, but that team won because of defense & a kick-ass run game. Don’t be such a homer.

    The Big Ben you see today (top 3 QB) is light years away from what he was as a rookie.

  15. I hate the excuse that he lacks weapons they guy has just been flat out bad. This is essentially the same team as last year only with a WAY better defense, a healthier MJD and Gabbert at qb. I wonder why the have gone from playoff contender to one of the worst in the league, I don’t think it was the improved defense or MJD. People can make all the excuses they want but he has been terrible. Maybe he will improve but this has to be a disappointment to go from playoff contender in a much tougher division to bottom feeder while the division is wide open. This was the Jags year to make a push, instead they are set back another 3 years and stuck with Gabbert.

  16. Gabbert has a passer rating of 62 so far this year. Sanchez, Stafford, and Freeman were at 63, 61, and 59 in 2009 as rookies. Of all the QBs in the NFL who started when they were still 21 years old, Gabbert has the second highest first year passer rating to Drew Bledsoe (65). Others have been Stafford, Freeman, Alex Smith (40), and Michael Vick (61).

    All of those players turned out to be solid NFL quarterbacks.

  17. warvette says: Nov 3, 2011 7:35 PM

    not sure why jackconville fla deserved a nfl team in the forst place!?!

    Mommy let you connect to the internet again? Congratulations. Perhaps one day you will be able to live on your own with your fine vocabulary and spelling skills procuring you a cushy job as a sports blogger or something you’re qualified for.

  18. If you replace Jason Hill, Jarett Dillard and Sims-Walker with better receivers you have a totally different offense. We need to upgrade the O-line but if we have a chance at a top receiver in the draft then that’s where we need to go.
    Having said that I think that Blaine is a good prospect and will improve soon.

    Two things that are huge though: Mercedes needs more targets and MJD needs some help running the ball (Greg Jones) so he doesnt get beaten up each week.

  19. Did I really read that someone wrote atleast LA would pay to see the Jags!? The same team that has let two teams leave!? HAHAHAHAHA and yes I am laughing at you, not with you

  20. Earthtopft: the difference between guys like Stafford, Freeman, and Sanchez in their rookie years compared to Gabbert is that they all showed flashes of greatness or competency despite overall poor numbers. Stafford had a 5 td game in his 2-win season. Gabbert has shown absolutely nothing to make anyone believe that he can one day be great. He’s shown more flashes of Joey Harrington than Joe Montana. Sorry but the kid just doesn’t have “it”

  21. @earthtopft That was the most rational post I have seen yet. Blaine may or may not be a great quarterback, but it is WAY too early to call him a bust. He is really young…has played top 5 defenses almost every game. Some of his better throws have been DROPPED. A little perspective is a good thing.

  22. @earthtopft
    Sanchez didn’t play well but his team got in done and won games and made it to the the ACF Champ Game. Of the others you listed Freeman came in a played for a terrible team with zero expectations, Alex Smith sucked and has sucked for years, Stafford’s team again zero expectations but he showed some skill and promise, and Vick again a hopeless team but he showed some skills and a lot of excitement his rookie year. What has Gabbert shown? He came into an improving .500 team with playoff or at least playoff contention expectations and has shown nothing, he has probably been the least exciting player in the league and has shown no promise in a single game. Maybe he will turn it around but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  23. Gabbert’s pocket presence leaves a lot to be desired, and his accuracy does need to improve. But he is a rookie. He needs the veterans around him to give him more help than they are. He’ll be fine in the long run.

  24. I agree what hutch119 said about the lack of weapons being an excuse for his performance even though the two top receivers are towards the top of the league in terms of drops. Gabberts big issue seems to be stepping into his throws. I think between the rest of the games this year and a full off season he should be much more comfortable and step up, or at least I hope.

  25. i too agree with jags fans about gabberts preformance. i have been a serious nfl junkie since 1972 and since when is a rookie qb supposed to automaticlly step in the starters role and be above average? some do it sure but to count the kid as a flop at this point is just plain stupid.

  26. Theres a lot of smack typing going on here concerning Gabbert. Honestly he has struggled for the most part. And yes, he has not pushed this offense to wins but he also hasn’t really caused losses either. The Jags have been plagued with drops, fumbles, blown pass blocking and hilarious snap issues from Brad Meester. Everyone knew coming in that of all the drafted QBs, Gabbert was the most raw who would have been better off being able to sit behind Garrard for the year. Well since Garrard’s back was secretly wrecked and McCown showed that he inept, Gabbert was thrust into a starting role under a crappy offense.

    Look, its way too early to call the kid a bust but if he is then the Jags will move on and try again. No big deal here, it has happened in the NFL before people. You can’t fault the scouts for believing that Gabbert has the goods to become a great starting QB. Still though, with an improved, new coaching staff in the off season I feel that Gabbert will make unbelievable strides and develp into something special.

  27. Yea….Blaine was sort of put in a difficult situation. 1. There wasn’t any training camp, 2. he was basically the 3rd string QB throughout pre-season. 3. He was thrust into the starter role a few days before the season opener with limited time to get acclimated with the first string unit.

    I don’t think any other rookie qb this year went through the same sort of thing. He’ll need time but he must also improve.

  28. Blaine Gabbert = Matthew Stafford.

    …Think about it, you stupid morons!

    Everybody called Stafford a bust. He wasn’t, he just needed a stud WR to play with (aka Calvin Johnson from Georgia Tech)

    Go Jags…..all you haters can go fu%^ yourself…The Jags are on the cusp of something very BIG! . One of the top defenses in the league (look it up), and the youngest team in the AFC!

  29. While Gabbert’s play hasn’t been impressive, I think he deserves another year for proper evaluation. The difference between him and Newton, Dalton, Ponder, is that he has a lame duck coach. That organization has problems from top-to-bottom, and it’s going to go thru a fairly significant house-cleaning when the season ends. For now, there are too many management issues on that team for me to expect a polished product.

    Judgement reserved for now.

  30. Paul Posluszny is having a pro bowl season. I don’t hear Bills fans saying negative things about him anymore either. I remember when he signed with the Jags, the Bills fans were saying how he only makes tackles 10 – 15 yards down the field. He seems to be around the ball every play. I love the way he plays.

    Bill’s fans. Face it. You were wrong.

  31. To flbills:

    If Jax is a second tier city, what the hell is Buffalo? Let’s not get into city pissing contests…Or is that really all some of you keyboard QBs have?

  32. jvillenole says:Nov 4, 2011 1:10 AM

    Blaine Gabbert = Matthew Stafford.

    …Think about it, you stupid morons!

    Everybody called Stafford a bust. He wasn’t, he just needed a stud WR to play with (aka Calvin Johnson from Georgia Tech)

    Go Jags…..all you haters can go fu%^ yourself…The Jags are on the cusp of something very BIG! . One of the top defenses in the league (look it up), and the youngest team in the AFC!
    I thought about it and came to the conclusion that anyone that thinks Blaine Gabbert = Matthew Stafford is a stupid moron.

    Stafford has more physical tools than Gabbert,
    Stafford graded out much higher than Gabbert going into the draft,
    Stafford was the overwhelming consensus number 1 pick comming out of college ,
    Physically Gabbert can not make all the throws Stafford can,

    Stafford’s only problem in the pros is his inability to stay healthy. When it comes to talent level he far outpaces Gabbert.

    Why don’t you compare Gabbert to Ponder?
    They both play with elite running backs…..Peterson has 798 yards rushing (1st in the league) on the season while Jones Drew has 740 rushing yards (3rd in the league).

    They both play for bad teams….Vikings were only 1-5 when Ponder took over. They both don’t have a true number 1 receiver although Ponder’s receivers are slightly better than Gabbert’s (Although by mid season the Viking’s number 1 deep threat Bernard Barrian had to be cut cause he only had 2 catches!)

    The Jags have a better defense than the Vikes. If Gabbert was even average this Jags team could win with running Jones-Drew and playing solid defense.

    Quit making excuses for this guy and stop with the silly comparisons. You guys are starting to sound like the Tebow fans…..

  33. You think the Jags are boring . i take it you haven’t seen my Browns stumble around on offense looking lost & confused . i see another FG Battle when the Browns face the Jags . two good defenses going to waste with crappy unimaginative offense . struggling QB ‘S . suspect Offensive lines .. receivers who cant get any separation ..YUK!!!

    Browns – 6

    Jags – 3

  34. Yeah, Poz really shines in a weak AFC division.
    I’ll take Nick Barnett any day.

    Besides BILLS 5-2, soon be 6-2!!
    AFC East Champs!!

  35. Gabbert has struggled at times but lets ease off the Losman and Clausen comparisons. Clausen had 3 TDs in 13 games last year. Gabbert has 5 TDs in 6 games.

    And the team beat Baltimore and played close games at homes against New Orleans & Cincinnati and on the road at Houston & Pittsburgh.

    Get some weapons like a Justin Blackmon next April and watch him blossom.

    Here are Gabbert’s stats so far.

    6 games 907 yards 45.7% completion percentage 5 TDs 4 INTs

    And even though his stats aren’t impressive, lets look at some other rookie QBs with comparable numbers.

    11 games 1663 yards 47.5% completion percentage 7 TDs 14 INTs.

    John Elway.

    10 gamers 2267 yards 53.3% completion percentage 13 TDs 20 INTs.

    Matt Stafford.

    9 games 1043 yards 48.2% completion percentage 6 TDs 9 INTs

    Eli Manning.

  36. As a season ticket holder of the Jaguars, watching week after week, this team needs HELP. The best part of the game is the FLYOVER, or Jaxson’s entrance….and maybe the drumline! I am a STO for 15 years and this is by far the worse receiving corp in the NFL…technically they arent even receiving…they are short running routes, not completing plays and arent able to hold onto catchable balls. The one thing they are able to do consistently is cash their paycheck every week and laugh about it…probably saying to themselves, “Dang, I’m getting paid for this!”. The fans dont have any rights, everything is dictated by the league or the team, from $6 beers, to $85 jerseys….but if you love football, you tollerate it. Jville better come up with a better football product quick….

  37. “flbills says:
    Nov 4, 2011 5:52 AM
    Jacksonville..second tier city..second tier team and no fan base=low expectations.”

    From a Buffalo fan? Really?

    Your team hasn’t made the playoffs in 12 years. We haven’t been great but at least we can remember what being in the postseason is like.

    And don’t try and down our city. I am sure Buffalo is a fine town but the population of that city has declined every decade since the 1950’s. Meanwhile, Jacksonville’s population has increased every decade.

    As for “no fan base”, which team is playing games in Toronto? Which team had a playoff game blacked out?

  38. As far as career goes it’s WAY too early to judge Gabbert. But what bothers me about him is that he flinches away from even the hint of pressure. He’ll throw while shying away and it wreaks havoc with his accuracy. Not sure how that gets fixed since I can’t figure out why he’s that way. It’s not like he’s been in there for so long and taken such a beating that he’s gun shy. It’s inexplicable.

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