A 2-5 record is certainly nothing to get excited about in the NFL, but in the case of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the record can be deceiving, when considering the Jaguars are getting big performances from young players and as a team, they are trending upward.
Quarterback Blake Bortles is leading the Jaguars push toward the future and despite some decision-making issues this season, he is definitely improving. Bortles struggled in the second half of Sunday’s game in London, but his touchdown pass with just over two minutes left, showed that he has what it takes to come through in the clutch. Bortles has thrown 15 touchdowns this season, which is four more than he threw in his 2014 rookie campaign. He is on pace to set a new Jaguars record for TD passes in a single season, needing just nine more to best the record of 23 set by David Garrard in 2010. According to ESPN.com projections, Bortles is on pace for 34 this season.
Wide receiver Marqise Lee, who has been out since suffering a hamstring injury in week three against the New England Patriots, would help Bortles break that record a lot sooner if he can get back on the field. According to Head Coach Gus Bradley, Lee has been rehabbing and will continue to do so, while the team enjoys a few days off, beginning today. They will return to practice on Monday. Lee has three catches for just 40 yards this season and as much as Bradley would love to have him on the field, it sounds like the Jaguars are going to be very cautious. “We haven’t talked too much [about when Lee could return],” Bradley said. “I think that we’re going to use this week to try to evaluate. We said we would go up to the bye week and then make a decision off of that.”
According to multiple reports, the Jaguars brought in a couple kickers on Wednesday, as they try to get a very shaky kicking game under control. Current kicker Jason Myers has struggled this season, missing three extra points, including one on Sunday, in London. He has also missed three field goals this season. “I think he understands as a kicker he’s got to make extra points,” Bradley said. “You’ve got to make those and the kickoffs [have to be deeper].” The kickers that were brought in were not immediately known, but according to reports, former Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee was not among them. Scobee was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers before the start of the regular season, but was later cut when he struggled with them.
The Jaguars defensive effort against the Bills was the difference in Sunday’s win over Buffalo. Linebacker Telvin Smith was right in the middle of the action and on Wednesday, he was recognized by the NFL as this week’s AFC Defensive Player of the Week. Smith had an interception return for a touchdown, to go with his eight tackles.
Jacksonville will take full advantage of the bye week, before returning to action November 8, against the NY Jets. The game will kick off at 1:00 p.m. from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.