AFC South: King Dunlap

Upon Further Review: Jaguars Week 7

October, 21, 2013
A review of four hot issues from the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 24-6 loss to the San Diego Chargers:

[+] EnlargeMaurice Jones-Drew
Stephen Morton/AP PhotoWhile the Jacksonville Jaguars' running game averaged 4.6 yards per carry against San Diego, Maurice Jones-Drew only touched the ball 11 times.
Effort problem: For the first time all season, coach Gus Bradley said he saw a lack of effort from his players. That’s disconcerting because that’s usually the first sign of a team that has tuned on its head coach or given up. We won’t know until Sunday’s game against San Francisco in London if that’s the case, but initial thoughts based on what was said in the locker room are that Bradley hasn’t lost his players. Rather, it was likely the players were lulled into a sense of: We’ve improved each of the past two weeks and we’re naturally going to continue that progression. What happens is players forget just how hard they worked or the amount of preparation that went into the improvements. That appears to be what Bradley believes, as well. “The three most dangerous words in the NFL are, 'I’ve got it,' and I think we felt like, ‘We’re making strides. We’ve got this. We’ve just got to go out there and do this,’ and that’s not how it works,” Bradley said.

Pass rush MIA: San Diego lost a pair of left tackles in the first quarter when starter King Dunlap left the game with a concussion and backup Mike Remmers left the game with an ankle injury four plays later. The Chargers, who had only seven active offensive linemen, had to shuffle the lineup, and that should have been the jackpot for the Jaguars’ pass rush. Nope. The Jaguars’ lone sack came on the play in which Dunlap was injured and they didn’t get to Philip Rivers again and only hit him twice more. The lack of pressure was the main reason Rivers completed 22 of 26 passes for 285 yards.

Running game disappears: Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch earlier last week said he wanted to get Maurice Jones-Drew 20 or more touches every game. He had just 11 against the Chargers: nine rushes for 37 yards and two catches for 19. Jones-Drew averaged 4.1 yards per carry, tying his season high (he had 70 yards on 17 carries against St. Louis), and the running game overall averaged 4.6 yards per carry, which was by far the best mark of the season. There really wasn’t a reason to abandon the run, either. The Jaguars were down by 11 points late in the second quarter and never trailed by more than 14 in the third quarter, but Jones-Drew had just three touches in the second half (three carries, one reception). The Jaguars ran the ball a season-low 17 times, including two designed runs for quarterback Chad Henne.

Fighting through: Receivers Justin Blackmon (groin/hamstring) and Cecil Shorts (sprained SC joint near his shoulder) fought through injuries and combined to catch 14 passes for 138 yards. Shorts, however, dropped two potential touchdown passes, but he didn’t blame his injury. “Nothing to do with my shoulder,” he said.

Final Word: AFC South

October, 22, 2010
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 7:

Gigantic obstacle: For the Philadelphia Eagles, the 6-foot-9, 330-pound King Dunlap will play left tackle for the injured Jason Peters. Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Dave Ball would seem primed for a classic speed vs. size matchup here. But Jeff Fisher said the Eagles chip more than anyone in the league, even with receivers. So Ball can expect regularly to be knocked off course by a tight end, back or even a wideout before he gets a chance to get around Dunlap. And Kevin Kolb gets rid of the ball on time in a quick-passing offense.

[+] EnlargeAlterraun Verner
Tim Heitman/US PresswireAlterraun Verner and the Titans are 4-0 when they have a turnover advantage.
Evaluate effort: The Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t exactly go down swinging in Week 6 in the "Monday Night Football" home loss to the Titans. Once the Titans built a lead, it seemed clear Jacksonville didn’t think it could catch up. Against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7, the proper response now is to come out guns blazing. The Jaguars need to play with tremendous effort to show the team knows it’s 3-3 and has not given up on itself or coach Jack Del Rio. Rally around a substitute quarterback, facilitate a big game for tailback Maurice Jones-Drew, make sure Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel is uncomfortable. It’s a test of leadership, at least to a degree.

Turnover edge: The Titans are 4-0 in games where they’ve had a turnover advantage and 0-2 in games where the other team’s had it. The Titans have seven takeaways in their last two games. But the Eagles have only turned the ball over five times this year, and have had the turnover edge in five of their six games.

Get the star going: Jones-Drew has a solid history against the Chiefs. He’s scored a touchdown in three consecutive games against Kansas City. The Jaguars need to make sure the Chiefs do not get any sort of substantial lead, so they can rely on Jones-Drew's running. That's the preferred option with backup QBs Trent Edwards or Todd Bouman starting for the injured David Garrard. MJD averages 5.0 yards a carry as a starter on the road.

Dreading it: Colts fans won’t necessarily be enjoying their team's weekend off, knowing how injury-depleted the team will be when it resumes play Nov. 1 against the Houston Texans, who also have a bye. They learned this week that Dallas Clark is finished for the season, Austin Collie will miss at least a couple of games and Antonio Johnson had knee surgery. Moving forward, they can look forward to an update on Joseph Addai, who’s dealing with a shoulder injury that can cost him time, too.