Friday, September 16, 2011
Playoffs hope rest on the knees of Tyson Alualu
Considering the last topic for any Jaguars discussion was on December 29th 2010, discussing the hopes that Trent Edwards may carry this young team in to the playoffs, I though it best to revisit that theme.
This is a young team. That is not ready for the playoffs. One simple reason, the passing game just isn't there yet. It's getting there. Tools like Mike Thomas, Marcedes Lewis, Deji Karim and MJD are waiting for this offense to take the next step. But that next step is at least one to two years away, pending the meteoric rise of Blaine Gabbert and the X receiver I expect will be Jaguars first pick next year.
But let's talk about what is there. It's that defense that no one respects, yet. And by all means there is no need to respect them yet. They were embarrassing last year, I just never understood how receivers got so open so often. And when they got tackled they never stopped. How can you be that bad? Every game? Nuts. But all the right sort of acquisitions were made this off-season. Landri, Coleman and Lowery played one real game and boy they looked the part. Such solid tackling that was so lacking last year. The media attributed Chris Johnson's 3 rushing yards in the first half to his extended lockout, I attribute it to a defense that made constant penetration behind the lines and completely closed the edges every time. It was perfect and it felt great seeing a good Jaguars D since the Gregg William days. The famously underrated Daryl Smith is now flanked by the wonderful run stuffing Posluszny and a man I've seen very often, Clint Session. The line is epic top to bottom. Have you seen Alualu out there? The guy has a motor and lift off the line that's elite. He's improving exponentially game after game, doing his best to emulate Mathis-esque spin moves. He's going to make a name for himself and his team. Knighton is a tank to say the least. Matt Roth and Aaron Kampman are proven veteran bookends that will not only bring productivity in sacks, but mentorship to the rookie tackles in the depth chart behind them. What about that Jeremy Mincey kid, I know Kampman is not 100% yet, but even if he was I doubt Kampman would start in front of Mincey after the productivity he has shown.
I'm feeling good about this defense. Jaguars have this uncanny ability to dissolve and crumble at the same time, in away games. Let's see what Week 2 in the Meadowlands has to offer. I'm hopeful, very hopeful, that Mark Sanchez is in for a stuffing. Still. Jaguars won't win. That offense just isn't there yet.