Monday, October 1, 2012
Jaguars have been non-competitive in 2 home games
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars might want to burn those teal jerseys.
The Jaguars (1-3) have been non-competitive in both home games this season, including Sunday's 27-10 loss to Cincinnati. They managed 212 yards against the Bengals, not a whole lot better than the 117 they totaled in a 27-7 setback against Houston on Sept. 16.
Those lopsided losses -- and the offensive ineptitude -- have everyone looking for answers.
One certain change is coming: Jacksonville will switch to black jerseys for home games beginning Sunday against the Chicago Bears. It's not quite the makeover fans are clamoring for, but it's probably the most the Jaguars can do on short notice.
"We're obviously frustrated," guard Uche Nwaneri said Monday. "We don't want to be in this position. We put ourselves in this hole. We've got to dig our way out."
The Jaguars have plenty of blame to go around.
Coach Mike Mularkey and his staff put together a game plan that was supposed to take advantage of Cincinnati's injury riddled secondary.
Instead, the Bengals blitzed often and kept steady pressure on Blaine Gabbert. They sacked Gabbert six times, intercepted a pass and held Jacksonville to 186 yards passing.
Making the plan even stranger, it limited the touches for running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Coming off a 177-yard performance at Indianapolis, Jones-Drew ran just 13 times for 38 yards.
"After the fact, I wish we could have gotten Maurice Jones-Drew a couple more (carries) certainly," Mularkey said. "But again, they were short-handed. Four corners down. We were trying to take advantage of the situation, and when you have situations like that, you have to do that. You have to try to expose their weaknesses of the defense, and we obviously failed to do that."
Jacksonville's offensive line was a big reason the team couldn't get going.
Left guard Eben Britton, back in the lineup for the first time since the season opener, struggled in one-on-one situations against Bengals defensive tackles Geno Atkins and Domata Peko. The Jaguars benched Britton at halftime, but much of the damage had been done since Jacksonville trailed 17-7 at the break.
"I'm not hitting any panic buttons," Nwaneri said. "Obviously there is frustration there, but you just have to find ways to become more efficient as a player and a unit to minimize the frustrating plays on the field."
Mularkey said Gabbert has to do more, too.
Gabbert has completed nearly 56 percent of his passes for 654 yards, with five touchdowns and an interception. He has been sacked 12 times.
"It's been Blaine at times not being patient when the protection is good," Mularkey said. "A lot of that is from prior history, his time clock going off probably faster than it should go off. So that is something he's got to get better at. ... We're still in the process of a new offense this year, but we haven't put a game together really to give Blaine a fair chance to show his ability."
Gabbert likely won't have one of his top targets against the Bears.
Laurent Robinson sustained his third concussion of the season -- and second in as many weeks -- against Cincinnati.
Mularkey said the "chances are probably higher that he won't play this week."
Robinson was injured early in the third quarter Sunday when Adam Jones kneed his helmet at the same time his head hit the ground.
Robinson's first concussion came during training camp, and his second one came last week at Indianapolis.
Mularkey said things just seem to be going wrong for the Jaguars, from injuries to missed opportunities. He would like to see what would happen if things go right for a change.
"We're all extremely disappointed in the loss," he said. "I'm hoping we're just disappointed because we believe we had a chance to win that game. ... We're not making plays when plays are there to be made. (Players are) seeing the inconsistency you're seeing on the field. I think they know it's there. We need to get a complete game together by all three units."
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