With the Indianapolis Colts facing the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday, Stampede Blue's Josh Wilson talked with Big Cat Country's Ryan Day about the Jaguars and this Sunday's matchup. The questions are in bold and then Ryan's responses follow.
1. From an outsider's perspective, the Jaguars seem to be continuing in the right direction - if ever so slowly. Is that an accurate statement? And if so, how much improvement have you seen (or do you expect) from this year's team compared to the last few years?
I don't know. I really don't. With the way we looked last week -- giving up the most points in franchise history -- I can't say yes with any certainty.
Honestly, this week and next are two big games for this franchise. Not because of any AFC South dominance crap because the Colts will have that wrapped up before December. If we go out and lay an egg in Indianapolis and then play poorly again matched up against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, my money is on Gus Bradley being fired before season's end. We win one of these next two games and look competitive in the other, his job is safe. Well, safer.
The direction of this team begins and ends with Blake Bortles. He's flashed maturity and growth, but he's also made some of the same stupid mistakes he was making his rookie year. If he can limit those, I think the direction looks a lot more optimistic.
2. How has Blake Bortles looked to start this season? And how are Jaguars fans feeling about him after a season-plus with him at quarterback?
As I said before, Bortles has flashed -- both in a good way but also in a "wait, that was rookie season Blake Bortles" way.
Overall, he's better than he was last year. But he's not as good as he should be for a No. 3 overall pick.
3. A lot of Colts fans liked Sergio Brown, who signed with the Jaguars this offseason after spending time with the Colts. What is his role with Jacksonville this year? And how has he been doing?
I actually really like Sergio Brown. His personality is great, he loves this city, he's one of the better players on our defense (which isn't saying much, but whatever) and he loves this team and his players. He's not a long-term fixture at the position, but he's certainly a fine solution for right now.
His role with the Jaguars has been a mixed bag. He's been one of our most frequent blitzers and he's played near the line in run support some, but mostly he's the typical centerfielder you see in a lot of free safeties around the league.
4. This is Year 3 for Gus Bradley in Jacksonville. Is his seat getting warm at all? Will the team have to show significant improvement this year for him to stick around, or is the general feeling at this point that they will keep him?
I think the loss to the New England Patriots last week was the first time this fanbase collectively said, "He might get fired before season's end." It was bad.
Like I said before, if we go 0-2 over the next two weeks, things are gonna get bad in Jacksonville. We win in one of the next weeks, things will be fine until the bye week.
5. Knowing what you do about the Jaguars, how would you attack them if you were the Colts' offense and defense?
If I were the Colts offensive coordinator, I'd target the middle of the field almost exclusively. Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny is horrendous in pass coverage and was a target of Tom Brady's last week. Spread the field and find open receivers over the middle.
If I were the Colts defensive coordinator, I'd make sure my guys could seal the edge (especially the right edge) and make T.J. Yeldon run up the middle or to the left. I'd also mix in some Cover 2 and blitz to create pressure for Blake Bortles. You'll get your interceptions that way.
In short, do what the Patriots did.
Thanks again to Ryan for taking the time to answer these questions, and be sure to check out Big Cat Country for complete coverage from the Jaguars side of things!