For the second season in a row, I had the opportunity to interview a prominent Jaguars fan on Twitter, @DownerJagFan about the team. An occasional contributor to SB Nation’s Jacksonville community, Big Cat Country and owner of his own blog, @DownerJagFan was gracious enough to once again accept my request to answer some questions.
1. Well, things have certainly turned around for the Jaguars in the past month or so. What’s changed?
I think there are two main reasons the Jaguars have won 4 of the last 5 games.
First of all, Chad Henne has not been himself, lately. He’s been very conservative with the ball, not going downfield very much, but also he’s avoided going “Full Henne” by throwing passes right to the middle linebacker.
The other reason they’ve been winning is that the many young players on the team are improving. They are excited about playing for this team at the same time they have been playing teams (Titans, Texans, and Browns) that have had frustrating seasons. These young guys are going hard for their coach every game.
2. The Jaguars will most likely be drafting very high next year. What’s the team’s #1 need?
Without question, this team’s #1 need is a QB. The question now is if an elite QB will be available to the Jaguars where they will be selecting. If they keep winning they may look to another position in round one. Which position? Take your pick. They need pass rushers and linebackers in defense. We need interior lineman and more playmakers on offense.
If the Jaguars don’t find a top young QB next year, fans will not look back on these late-season wins very fondly.
3. He’s in the final year of his contract. Is Maurice Jones-Drew a Jaguar in 2014?
Until recently, I would have said there was no way he’d be back. However, both Jones-Drew and the team have expressed interest in working something out. MJD isn’t what he used to be, but he’s a good-enough RB who is great in the locker room and works hard. He probably won’t be offered big money anywhere else, so I’m now thinking he’ll be back.
4. Not unlike the Bills Toronto series, the Jaguars now play one game a year in London. What’s the overall fan sentiment been over this?
This is always a hot topic. Many fans are upset that good home games are being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean. In 2014, the Cowboys will be playing in front of London fans instead of fans in Duval.
Playing games in London always fires up the relocation talk from the Jason LaCanfora’s in the media, trying to get us out of town.
However, it is clear that both owner Shad Khan and city leaders are happy about this arrangement. The city of Jacksonville is a port city that could use more international exposure to boost the economy. The Jaguars are a team that could use more fans.
Like it or not, 3 more games are scheduled over there and enough fans support the owner not to complain too much. Also, a football game is a great excuse for a trip to London.
5. What’s the key matchup to watch on Sunday, in your opinion?
The Bills defensive line is very impressive. Although the Jaguars o-line has improved as the season has progressed, they are far from impressive. With Jones-Drew and Shorts down for this game, will Henne have time to find plays on the field? Will we see Henne’s interceptions surface again?
6. Who’s the best player for Jacksonville that no one’s aware of?
Just kidding. I just wanted to imagine the faces of Bills fans when they read that.
DT Sen’Derrick Marks has been the Jaguars’ most consistent playmaker on defense. If you see pressure in the middle of the line tomorrow, it’ll be from Marks. He was signed in a one-year deal this year and fans hope he’ll be back. He’s been the perfect 3-technique tackle for Gus Bradley’s defense.
7. Prediction for Sunday?
The Jaguars have been playing great special teams and defense, lately. Their intensity and effort has been impressive. However, they will be missing their top RB, their top WR and their top safety on Sunday.
I think the pressure may be too much on this offense and we’ll see Bad-Henne’s return.
Enjoy the pick-six. :/