JACKSONVILLE – Here are ten things the Jacksonville Jaguars must do to beat the Oakland Raiders Sunday . . .
1. Forget the opener. That’s a lot of forgettin’ to do, true, because not a lot was pretty about the opener – a 28-2 loss at home to Kansas City. But the NFL is a week-to-week league about matchups, game-planning and momentum. A victory against Oakland, and a lot of the negative talk from the opener feels a lot further away.
2. Forget the past. See? More forgettin’. Longtime Jaguars followers know all about the West Coast woes around this team. Four consecutive losses since 2004. Those trips have nothing to do with first-year Head Coach Gus Bradley or first-year General Manager David Caldwell. No time to break that trend like the present. A victory would give the team a real boost after a disappointing opener, but it would also shatter what had been a pretty gripping West Coast phobia for a long time.
3. Stop Terrelle Pryor. The Raiders nearly won in Indianapolis in the opener. Pryor, Oakland’s new starting quarterback, was the main reason, throwing for more than 200 yards and running for more than 100. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith hurt the Jaguars on scrambles in the opener. The Raiders depend on Pryor’s running a lot more than the Chiefs depend on Smith’s, and he’s quicker to take off and run. Pass rush will be a focus for the jaguars Sunday, but they have to be just as aware of not letting Pryor get lanes to run.
5. Don’t believe the hype. Forget the preseason talk around the Raiders. A ton of it has been that this will be the worst team in the NFL, and that they’ll be fighting for the No. 1 draft choice come December. Whatever. The Raiders nearly upset the Colts last week and will come into this game believing they should win. Besides, the Jaguars are a long way from good enough yet to look beyond any opponent. This game will be tough.
6. Get Jones-Drew involved. Jaguars running back
8. Rush the passer. You get the idea this is going to be a season-long theme, because outside of Leo defensive end
9. Get turnovers. The Jaguars had their hands on one interception in the first half Sunday, and couldn’t hold on. They had a blocked punt for a safety, but didn’t create any turnovers. Gus Bradley and the Jaguars’ coaches emphasized going for the ball and creating turnovers defensively all offseason for a couple of reasons. One is that it’s the culture Bradley wants to create, and the other is that turnovers are the best way for a young defense and a young team to turn games around. Get one early and get more than one.
10. Just win. OK, that’s the mantra of the late Al Davis, the former Raiders owner and heart and soul of the organization. But that’s what the Jaguars must do. It doesn’t matter how and it doesn’t matter by how much. Find a way to win. Do that, and you’re 1-1 and a lot of the bad feeling this past week goes quickly away.