The Indianapolis Colts will face the Jacksonville Jaguars in London this Sunday in the first meeting of the year between AFC South rivals, so to get a better idea of the Jaguars (who are a disappointing 0-3 this year), we asked five questions to Big Cat Country’s Ryan Day. Ryan was kind enough to answer them for us, and below you can see our Q&A. Our questions are in bold and then Ryan’s answers follow.
1. What's up with Blake Bortles this year? After a good year last year, he's struggled in the first three games this year. What has changed? And do you think it's just a rough stretch for him or is it cause for concern?
Something that was brought up on our latest episode of the Keep Choppin' Wood podcast, Blake Bortles' regression is a mixture of unexplainable hanxing it and defensive coordinators not being surprised by the Jaguars offense so much anymore. They're locking down Allen Robinson and he was Bortles' safety valve last year. Allen Hurns is wide open (and so is Marqise Lee) and he's just straight missing them or making terrible decisions of when to go to them. Bortles' mechanics are also a mess and I don't know how much of his head is in the game. The running game being (somehow) worse than last year isn't helping.
I can tell you one thing -- I don't really blame coaching. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson's schemes are not the problem here. For the most part, he's creating a vertical passing environment where Bortles should thrive. And his route concepts aren't bad. It's just Bortles totally regressing at an important crossroads of his career.
2. How is the defense looking so far this year?
Well, they're not the reason they're losing, which is saying something. We thought the offense would be carrying this team and so far it's the defense and special teams that are keeping the scores respectable (at least in two of the three games). Dante Fowler and Yannick Ngakoue are better than expected at pass rusher, Jalen Ramsey has All-Pro potential, and Paul Posluszny and Telvin Smith are playing very, very well. The defense is a little ahead of schedule but the offense has regressed so much it doesn't matter.
3. The Jaguars entered the season with high expectations (at least for the Jaguars), so why haven't things gone as hoped (or were those expectations misplaced)? And should it cost Gus Bradley his job - maybe even after this game?
Gus Bradley should have been fired at the end of last year. Those hopes we'd be competing for the AFC South at this point aren't misguided. Teams with much less talent have turned it around quicker than Year 4. This is a total mismanagement by Gus Bradley and I wouldn't be surprised if his bags were already packed for North Dakota for when he got home this weekend.
4. The Jaguars have played in London several times before, so what have you noticed about their performance in those games? Anything Colts fans should be expecting from the Jaguars (or, perhaps, from the Colts) when it comes to the London game?
The only thing you can count on is that you can't count on anything. Our underwhelming defense played lights out against the Buffalo Bills last year but they shit the bed the previous two years against the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers. If not for a fluke of a win last year on a Bills team that had half its offense injured, I'd say you're all but guaranteed a win when playing the Jaguars in London.
5. Knowing what you do of the Jaguars, how would you attack them if you were the Colts' offensive and defensive coordinators?
If I'm the offensive coordinator, I'm running it down your throat. The middle of the line and the run defense, which was a strength last year, has been a little inconsistent this year. Oh, and attack the intermediate routes. Go after whoever Paul Posluszny is covering.
As far as a defensive coordinator, just let Blake Bortles make mistakes and lock down Allen Robinson. You don't need to worry about the Jaguars run game because it's non-existent.