It’s a quarterback league, no question. So when one of the top quarterbacks in the league might not play, it’s news. In their first three games the Jaguars have gotten all starters: Cam Newton, Ryan Tannehill and Tom Brady. This week Andrew Luck is officially listed as “questionable” but reports are now that he won’t play against the Jaguars today.
Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley says they need to be prepared for whoever is taking snaps in Indianapolis.
“Every week you go into it, you know who the backup is and you show some clips of him. This week it might be a little bit more real so I think that you go into it, you prepare for Luck, you know everything that he likes to do, the style and mannerisms,” Bradley explained. But you might spend a little bit more time on Matt Hasselbeck. I think it’s probably more real than a normal week, no one can argue with that, so you have to be prepared for both.”
Another factor in the Colts’ decision to sit Luck today against the Jaguars is the quick turnaround for a Week 5 Thursday night game against the Houston Texans. Luck has not missed a game or snap because of an injury in his four seasons in the NFL.
Hasselbeck, who just turned 40 on September 25, hasn’t started an NFL game since November 4, 2012 when he was with the Titans. He’s thrown 56 passes in the last two seasons. But it’s not as if he lacks experience. Hasselbeck has thrown for nearly 35,000 yards and 203 TD’s in his 17 year career that included leading the Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl.
So with a 40-year old quarterback and an inexperienced offensive line, the Colts will be a very different team facing the Jaguars today.
When the Jaguars are on offense, Bradley expects Blake Bortles and company to be thinking about moving the ball downfield quickly.
“I think every week we understand the importance of explosive plays. I think you see us we’re taking more shots, more shots downfield, because of the importance.”
Against the Colts, whether it’s Luck or Hasselbeck, Indy can score points. The Jaguars have to match that. Luck has more turnovers, 28, than any other player in the NFL since the beginning of 2014. If he gives the Jaguars the ball, they have to take advantage of it.
“We all know the scoring opportunities rise with explosive plays within a series, so it’s always important whatever week it is. That’s kind of our mentality,” Bradley explained.