Each week during the season we’ll talk with the FanSided editor who covers the Colts’ upcoming opponent and try to get a better understanding of the enemy before us. This time around, we sidle our Trojan Horse up next to the Jacksonville swamp to talk Jaguars with Andrew Hofheimer of “Black and Teal.”
1) The Jaguars haven’t been very good this season (though miles better than the Colts!). How much rope does Jack Del Rio have left? Could this finally be the year that he is shown the door?
"I’d say JDR has less than a 50/50 chance of returning next season. As in any situation, there are plenty of contingencies where this situation is not all his fault and the biggest circumstance this year was David Garrard playing horribly in the preseason and the Jaguars determining that he could not help us as much as Luke McCown and rookie Blaine Gabbert. The team and fans were counting on Garrard coming back and giving us one more decent year and riding our strong running game and an improved defense into playoff contention. At this point, I’m wondering if it’s just too late – Jack has had a lot of extra lives in Jax and I don’t know if Wayne Weaver can realistically ask the fans to give him one more."
2) Which Jaguars players have surprised you the most (good or bad) so far this season?
"Marcedes Lewis has by far been the biggest disappointing, falling from a top blocking and top receiving tight end last year and giving us almost no production this year. He’s still blocking well and we’re hoping he starts getting open and turning those drops into catches, but a lot was expected of him this year and he has failed to delivery. On the positive side, I’ve been really pleased with Jaguars veteran Jeremy Mincey, who has been playing his butt of this year and constant pressure and big plays from the DE and DT spots and pretty much all of our defensive free agent acquisitions (Posluszny, Session, Dawan Landry, Dwight Lowery, and Drew Coleman) have plugged right in and played tremendously for us."
3) What key match-ups should we keep an eye on this week?
"The Colts DE’s are always a good gauge of how well your O-line is playing. There’s been a lot of fan rumbling about our O-line, especially 3rd year LTEugene Monroe, so I will be looking for Monroe to keep Dwight Freeney in check to let Blaine Gabbert get more comfortable in the pocket. The Mathis/Guy Whimper matchup is a scary one, so I’ll expect the Jaguars to send some help over there with a RB blocking or TE chipping him on most plays."
4) How good do you think Blaine Gabbert can be?
"First of all, the kid was never meant to start this year – Jack Del Rio and GM Gene Smith said that explicitly when they drafted him. He turned 22 in October, only had two years as a starter in college, and despite his raw ability and drive to be great, still had a lot of mechanical wrinkles to iron out. We’ve seen his ability on plenty of plays. The kid can make the throws and play at this level. He’s gonna need more experience and a full offseason to fully realize his potential, but I have no doubt he can be a top 10 QB at some point in the next 5 years."
5) Finally, what are your predictions for the game?
"I think the Jaguars come out of the bye week strong and really stick it to the Colts, who have obviously been a nemesis for a long time. We wanna make this one hurt for personal reasons and to get some good momentum in the second half. Final Score: Jaguars 24 – Colts 9"