Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Jaguars top 10: Easy pickings
By Michael DiRocco
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t claiming a moral victory by losing to the Denver Broncos by 16 points on Sunday -- well below the 28 points by which the Broncos were favored.
The bottom line is the team is still winless (0-6), but the Jaguars did play reasonably well in Denver. However, they continue to be plagued by the same silly mistakes that have hurt them all season: penalties, turnovers, failure to capitalize on big plays.
That still doesn’t overshadow the fact that there were some pretty good individual performances on Sunday. That made selecting the Jaguars’ top 10 playmakers pretty easy for the first time this season.
Jaguars LB Paul Posluszny tackles Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno in their Week 6 game at Mile High.
Remember, this isn’t a list of MVP candidates, but a compilation of the players who are making the biggest difference each week.
Here we go, with last week’s rankings in parenthesis:
1. WR Justin Blackmon (1): There’s no doubt he’s the key to the offense. He was targeted 20 times, caught 14 passes for 190 yards, and the Jaguars' offense had its second-highest yardage total of the season. The highest? Last week against St. Louis in Blackmon’s season debut. He was matched up against Champ Bailey on Sunday and had his way with the 12-time Pro Bowler.
2. QB Chad Henne (6): Henne did make a few mistakes -- he missed a wide-open Clay Harbor on the game’s first play and should have run for a first down on fourth down late -- but he still played the best game of any Jaguars quarterback this season. He completed 27 of 42 passes for 303 yards. His two interceptions came on balls deflected at the line of scrimmage.
3. LB Paul Posluszny (NR): The Jaguars' defense did the best job of any team against Peyton Manning this season and Posluszny had a 59-yard interception return for a touchdown -- his first career NFL TD. He did get caught by a play-fake that allowed Wes Welker to get wide open on the game’s first touchdown, but he also had seven solo tackles.
4. RB Maurice Jones-Drew (2): He showed some of the tough inside running that used to be a staple of the offense, gaining 71 yards on 21 carries. He also had a season-long 28-yard run. The offensive line is still having trouble opening holes and Jones-Drew is getting contact in the backfield, but he’s still managing to give the Jaguars some kind of running game.
5. WR Mike Brown (NR): You might think this is pretty high for a guy who had only four catches for 49 yards, but it was the fact he played 67 snaps in his first game back since suffering a fractured bone in his back in the season opener. He was on the field that much because of the injury to Cecil Shorts and he responded.
6. DT Sen’Derrick Marks (3): The defensive line isn’t playing particularly well but Marks has been. He had one tackle for loss and recovered a fumble inside Denver territory, which set up a Jaguars field goal.
7. CB Mike Harris (NR): He recovered one of Manning’s two fumbles, giving the Jaguars possession at their own 6-yard line. Denver had converted a fake punt earlier on the drive and was threatening to take an 18-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Harris also had a team-high eight tackles.
8. K Josh Scobee (5): It was another perfect day for Scobee, who made field goals of 50 and 30 yards.
9. S Johnathan Cyprien (7): He had five tackles and forced another fumble, his third of the season, and did a solid job in Cover 2 by not allowing big plays down the field. It wasn’t his best performance of the season but he was a key part of a defense that stymied Manning better than any team so far.
10. LB Geno Hayes (NR): He had six tackles and knocked down one pass. Again, not a spectacular performance but a solid job against Manning. The Jaguars may have given other teams the blueprint for at least slowing Manning down.