Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

Jaguars “D” a Throwback

There’s lots of chatter about the Jaguars win over the Colts in Indianapolis Sunday afternoon, most of it somehow discounting it as a victory, because Indy is winless this year. Tell that to the Chiefs last week who got spanked by a previously winless Miami Dolphin team. A win in the NFL counts no matter which one of the other 31 teams you beat.

While it’s easy to look past this one and criticize the Jaguars shortcomings even in victory, I’m going the other way. This is one that would have been easy to let slip away.

Tied at 3 at halftime and after a three and out on their first possession of the third quarter, the momentum was starting to build for the home team. But despite their paltry production in the passing game, the Jaguars were still in the game. Their defense was stout, giving up a field goal early but controlling the Colts, stopping the run and not giving up the big play.

When your offense is struggling to score points, it’s not an easy thing to drag yourself back out their on defense and put the clamps on your opponent. But this defensive group seems to have a work ethic and a willingness to carry the team as far as they can.

Against the Ravens the defense came to life and gave the team an identity. It’s carried on now for three weeks. They’re willing to be the face of the team. Now when you hear anybody talking about the Jaguars the first thing you hear is, “Well, their defense is great.”

After that it’s about how their rookie quarterback, Blaine Gabbert is struggling. And that’s exactly right. The Jaguars aren’t going to outscore anybody. They can’t get into a shootout because they can’t score enough points. But an “ugly win” is worth as much as any other kind.

A decision about Gabbert’s effectiveness long term is still a long time away. Right now he’s erratic and even regressing occasionally. But Maurice Jones Drew and the running game should be able to keep the ball enough to keep the Jaguars in most games.

The next four games fall in the Jaguars favor starting with a road game against an equally struggling Cleveland Browns. The next three are at home against Houston, a Monday nighter against the erratic Chargers followed by the up and down Tampa Bay Bucs coming to town.

It’s hard to project that they’ll get back into the playoff race, but at least it now appears their defense will show up every week, ready to go to work.