What we learned from the Jaguars’ 23-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans Saturday.
Some of it’s good, some of it’s bad, but here it is . . .
1) Jeremy Mincey is better than most people realize. Most people outside Jacksonville, anyway. He rushed well again Saturday, bull-rushing his way to Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck on several occasions. He also had an interception. In a difficult season, his effort and consistency has been something the Jaguars have been able to count on every game.
2) Maurice Jones-Drew is good. Duh. He leads the NFL in rushing by 128 yards, and needs 136 to break Fred Taylor’s franchise record. What he is doing is remarkable. It’s not news, but you sure don’t leave it out.
3) Maurice Jones-Drew is tough. Well, duh, here, too, but the past two weeks he has played after rolling an ankle. It’s a testament to his ability and toughness that it was difficult to tell after the injuries whether he was hurt or not.
4) Colin Cloherty is pretty good. Here’s a guy who was signed in December and is playing because a whole lot of other people are too banged up to play. But give the guy credit: given the opportunity, he makes plays.
5) The Jaguars are really, really beat up in the secondary. Derek Cox, Dwight Lowery, Rashean Mathis and Dawan Landry. Ideally, that’s your starting secondary. Only Landry is healthy enough to play right now. That ain’t ideal, and it’s hurting.
6) The Jaguars aren’t quitting. Fans don’t like this topic, and it’s true that there are no prizes for effort in professional sports, but this hasn’t become a fragmented, finger-pointing season. That’s no consolation, but it still remains true.
7) Greg Jones should be in the Pro Bowl. We didn’t learn this Saturday, either, but you wish more people around the country would learn it. Jones scored his first rushing touchdown in four seasons on Saturday – and as usual he blocked exceptionally well. There are reasons Jones-Drew can run for 100 yards when defenses know he’s coming. Jones is a big one.
8) Cameron Bradfield may be a keeper. In his second career start, it appeared at first look that the rookie free agent played well. There haven’t been an overabundance of positives late in the season, but getting a chance to see Bradfield for a full game at right tackle has to give the Jaguars a good feeling there moving forward.
9) Daryl Smith should be in the Pro Bowl, too. He has been asked to help rush the passer in recent weeks because of injuries across the defensive front. That’s not the veteran outside linebacker’s biggest strength, but he has been effective in the role as often as not. He has been overlooked his entire career. He’s being overlooked again this season. That doesn’t make it right.
10) Josh Scobee is still here. And still kicking well. He had his first field-goal attempts since November 27 on Saturday. He made it. His lack of opportunities in the second half of the season probably cost him the Pro Bowl, but give Scobee credit for this: He wanted to be more consistent and finish better this season than last. He has done it.