Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point-Counterpoint; Which of Jags' Stats Is Most Alarming?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point-Counterpoint; Which of Jags' Stats Is Most Alarming?

Article excerpt

Byline: Ryan O'Halloran and Jessica Blaylock

Each week, Times-Union Jaguars writer Ryan O'Halloran and 1010XL Jaguars reporter Jessica Blaylock will debate five topics.

1. Last in yards on offense, 29th in yards on defense. The dreary numbers are everywhere we look. Of all the statistics, which one sticks out?

Jessica Blaylock: That they are dead last in the league at stopping the run. I truly believed with the addition of defensive tackles Sen'Derrick Marks and Roy Miller, the Jaguars would be able to not necessarily shut down the run but at least manage it.

Ryan O'Halloran: Scoring. The Jaguars are averaging 9.3 points per game. Granted, Kansas City's defense is looking sharp and Seattle will make a ton of teams look bad, I expected the Jaguars' offense to be more functional than this. Instead, they've struggled to put consecutive good plays together much less good drives.

2. Tight end Marcedes Lewis has missed five games - the last two in the preseason and first three in the regular season - because of a left calf injury. If he plays Sunday, who on the Jaguars' offense figures to benefit the most?

Jessica: Maurice Jones-Drew. I envision that because Lewis is still not 100 percent and he will be mainly utilized as a blocker before being used as a pass catcher, As a blocker, he will help open up the running lanes for Jones-Drew, who is averaging only 2.6 yards per carry.

Ryan: When Lewis gets up to speed as a receiver, Cecil Shorts should benefit. Lewis' best route is down both seams and when matched up against a less-athletic linebacker, he should attract attention from a safety. That should open up some outside room for Shorts and give him a chance to beat one-on-one coverage.

3. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert will start for the first time since Week 1. What do you expect from No. 11?

Jessica: I expect to see something similar to how he played in Week 1 against Kansas City, meaning a little rust after missing time and it taking a while to get some rhythm going with the offense. I hope to see him take some chances and shots downfield after all the talk this past week about the coaching staff wanting Gabbert to play with more freedom. …

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