This Thursday, the Jaguars and Colts battled on prime time, which lead to a decisive 27-10 win by the Colts. While this game is not being talked about much, I felt this game really showed the state of both franchises, both heading in a completely opposite direction.
With the win Thursday, the Colts improved to an impressive 6-3, which is already four more wins than last year's 2-14 record. The main reason for the jump, is the Colt's fantastic rookie draft class, led by rookie quarterback, Andrew Luck.
While Luck did not have his best game (18 for 26 passing, 227 yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, and 1 interception), he still did a solid job managing the game, and doing what is needed to win.
Watching Luck, almost is like watching Aaron Rodgers from his 2008 season, which was his first as a starter. Luck demonstrated his fantastic arm, exceptional athletic ability, and just his ability to make plays. He does not quite have as great stats as Rodger's did that year, he improved by already having 6 wins, which was Rodger's total win total from 2008.
Luck is still a rookie though, and I still noticed some flaws in his game. At times, he stares down receivers, which can be awfully dangerous against elite level talent. His decision making also needs to be worked on, as he made a few bad plays, most notably the forced interception when the Colts are in field goal range. Still, Luck is by far the most impressive rookie quarterback since Dan Marino, no one has been able to lead the team from day one like Marino and Luck.
Like I mentioned, the other rookie's in the 2012 Colt's draft class are also doing great. Guys like TY Hilton, Vick Ballard, Coby Fleener, and Dwayne Allen have helped in improving this offense. All four are some of the best rookie's playing, and I wouldn't be surprised if most of them made the All-Rookie Team.
Then there is the Jaguars, who after the loss have dropped to an embarrassing 1-8, and along with the Chiefs, are in contention for the 1st overall pick.
The Jaguars are a team that is just loaded with problems, at the moment, they only really have few bright spots, which are Maurice Jones-Drew, who is currently injured, Cecil Shorts, who has been a productive receiver for the team, and a promising defense, with solid players like Tyson Alualu and Paul Posluszny. Besides that, this team is a mess.
The Jaguars just lack the know how to really win game and make plays. They make so many bone headed mistakes in games, such as Reggie Wayne falling to the ground, then getting up and getting the first down on third down due to no one touching him. Football teams cannot when games when they consistently blow it for themselves with bad decisions. The team had 10 penalties and several dropped passes, which is a formula for failure.
A lot of the blame for the team's failure is going on Blaine Gabbert, and I don't really think that is right. He shows a lot of promise, and he still is only 23 year's old. He has great mobility, and has the arm to make every NFL throw. What he lacks in which is important is pocket presence, which is his fault and the Jaguars offensive line's fault. He looks unsteady, quick to move out of the pocket, or run backwards. He never really looked comfortable, which showed with his lack of accuracy in a lot of his throws.
Gabbert reminds me of a young Rob Johnson, a guy who is big and tall, and has the arm to make every throw, but is uncomfortable in the pocket and not a real leader. Dont get me wrong though, the Jaguars still have tons of problems around him. Besides Shorts, the receivers are inconsistent, and drop too many passes they should catch. The play calling and coaching by Mike Mularkey is poor as well, containing his quarterback to short throws, which takes out any big play chances.
At this point, the Jaguars should just start over again now, there team is going nowhere fast, so perhaps its time to not only clean staff, but move the team to Los Angeles.
image: © craigoneal