1. The quarterback situation is uncertain... Chad Henne had a chance through the last seven games of the season to earn the starting quarterback position. Blaine Gabbert had the same chance in the first nine games of the season. Neither earned it, and now the Jaguars enter the offseason in precisely the situation they didn’t want at this time – not knowing the starting quarterback entering 2013.
2. ... so is the offensive line situation... The Jaguars’ offensive line struggled to pass block Sunday. They struggled to run block much of the season. This was supposed to be an area of strength entering the season, but too often, the group did not play to its potential. The Jaguars need Will Rackley to get healthy and they need to see if they’re going to bring Brad Meester back and they need . . . well, they need a lot.
3. So is... well, so is a lot uncertain... At 2-14, just about everything is unknown entering the offseason. Quarterback and offensive line are just two of the areas. There will be changes upcoming. A lot of changes. We knew that before Sunday, but it reconfirmed it.
4. The NFL is a strange, strange game. The Jaguars dominated statistically Sunday and were dominated on the scoreboard. How does that happen? Well, it happens when you allow four return touchdowns for on four consecutive series. The Titans scored 28 consecutive points without their offense being on the field. How rare is that? Well, it never has been done before in the NFL, so there’s some historical perspective.
5. Justin Blackmon is on his way. If there was a positive over the second half of the season, it was the development of the young wide receivers. That was true for Cecil Shorts, but it was particularly true for Blackmon. By midseason, Shorts had established himself as a young player developing in a positive way. That wasn’t true of Blackmon, who had struggled much of the first half of the season. But after a 236-yard game against the Houston Texans, Blackmon was significantly more consistent in the second half of the season and finished with a strong seven-reception, 79-yard, one-touchdown game. He has improving yet to do, but the rookie season, in the end, was a success.
6. The defensive front is better with Jason Babin. Babin, acquired off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles with four games remaining, registered two sacks during that span, but his addition improved the Jaguars’ pass rush significantly. He helped the team create more pressure and he made plays at times against the run. He is under contract for at least one more season, and for the Jaguars, that appears to be a good thing.
7. The Jaguars miss Cecil Shorts. Sometimes, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Well, the Jaguars knew what they had in Shorts, but without him on Sunday, the offense struggled to finish enough drives to win. It also struggled two weeks ago against the New York Jets. He has become that integral to the offense. That’s a good thing, because the Jaguars appear to have their receiver situation solidified. But when he’s out, it’s noticeable.
8. Jordan Shipley may fit long-term. What’s going to happen in the offseason? About all we know is we don’t know much, and there is likely going to be change. How the organization will see current players going forward is unknown, but Shipley played well enough to merit consideration heading into the offseason.
9. Daryl Smith must mean something. The defense played better in the final two games of the season, and in fact, that may have been the unit’s best stretch of the season. Two games isn’t enough to establish a trend, but is it coincidence that the group looked more cohesive, quick and aggressive with their best player in the lineup? Hardly. Smith does his job, and he does it reliably, and to hear defensive teammates tell it, that makes the unit better by itself.
10. The future is unknown. OK, we knew that already, but with news reports circulating that the Jaguars could be facing major change, what we mostly learned Sunday was that the team likely is facing an uncertain future. What will the direction be? We didn’t learn that Sunday, but we will soon.