An exclusive Q&A about the Jaguars vs Jets game with the Editor of BlackandTeal.com, Daniel Lago.
In the upcoming Jaguars vs Jets Week 9 match-up, both teams will be fighting pretty much for their identity this season. The Jaguars are just 2-5 coming off their bye week and are looking to add more wins to their column in hopes of rebounding their season.
The Jets are hoping that last week’s aberration of a game against the Oakland Raiders was just a bad game and that they’ll come back in this one ready to play like they’re supposed to. It’ll be a good match-up to watch to see if the Jaguars can replicate what the Raiders did against the Jets’ defense and if Gang Green can come right out the gates swinging to prove they’re indeed a contender this year.
I recently was able to sit down with a fellow Editor Daniel Lago of BlackandTeal.com to get his unique insight about the Jaguars heading into this very important game against the Jets. Here is what he had to say when he answered my questions:
1 – What top offensive and defensive player should fans of the Jets keep an eye on in this game?
With Darrelle Revis likely locked on to Allen Robinson for most of the game, keep an eye on Allen Hurns on the other side of the field. Robinson has seen significantly more targets but the two pass catchers have almost identical numbers. Hurns is one of the most improved players on offense and has become the secondary option in what has developed into maybe the most potent receiving duo in the entire league. He’s shown good chemistry with Bortles, particularly on broken plays when the young QB escapes the pocket and buys time.
Defensively, the Jaguars primary playmaker has been linebacker Telvin Smith. On the field all 3 downs as the weakside backer, Smith has turned into a tackling machine in the run game and is showing he can be a solid coverage linebacker as well. He’s been close to intercepting several balls this season, and he finally nabbed one and took it back to the house in London two weeks ago.
2 – The Jaguars are 2-5 on the season, why is their record like that considering you guys have a good nucleus of youth across the team?
Answers vary depending on who you ask, but the prevailing opinion among fans is the coaching has been the issue. The talent is definitely improved compared to 3 years ago, but youth and a perceived lack of preparation dooms this team week after week. The Jaguars should have beaten the Colts and lost 4th quarter leads in two other games. Head coach Gus Bradley should be safe through the end of the year, but his status is certainly going to be a question this offseason.
3 – How would you evaluate Blake Bortles so far in his sophomore season?
It’s hard to overstate just how much better Bortles is in year 2 after a historically bad rookie season. His QBR (25.2 to 61.4), passer rating (69.5 to 82.5) and his TD-to-INT ratio (11/17 to 15/8) have all improved dramatically and indicate enormous growth as a passer. He still has the flashes of brilliance he showed as a rookie, extending plays with his legs, but he’s started to minimize the terrible decisions. He still needs to work on his accuracy and occasionally has issues getting on the same page with his receivers, but the arrow is pointing up.
Oct 25, 2015; London, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) throws a pass against the Buffalo Bills during NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
4 – What’s the game plan you feel the Jets should use to beat the Jaguars?
Pass the ball. It’s counter-intuitive for the Jets given their success running the ball this season, but the Jaguars are actually OK at stopping the run. Their issues on defense stem from a complete inability to rush the passer and that’s led to opposing quarterbacks having some of their best performances of the season against Jacksonville. Even with a nagging thumb injury, Fitzpatrick should be able to stand in the pocket and find open receivers.
5 – What are your thoughts on rookie head coach Todd Bowles?
The team certainly looks more focused under Bowles than they did under Rex Ryan, but they also have more talent on the team in my opinion. I also like the strategy Bowles has taken defensively to try and manufacture pressure on the quarterback. Overall I think he’s doing well and the effort he was able to bring out of his team against the New England Patriots was a positive indicator moving forward.
6 – Final prediction and MVP of the game?
I want to believe in the Jaguars but I just can’t take them in a road game until they show me they are a better coached team that doesn’t make silly mistakes. The Jets can probably score 20 and secure the win here.
I’m predicting Brandon Marshall to have a big game on Sunday, as the Jaguars have done a poor job of shutting down #1 receivers.