In preparation for the divisional contest between the Titans (yay!) and the Jaguars (boo!), our good buddy Jeanne over at Black & Teal, was kind enough to answer some of our questions concerning the state of her beloved Jags team, their fading playoff hopes and their fearless, poorly-dressed head coach. Sorry Jeanne…
Titan Sized: What is the status of defensive captain Mike Peterson? It sounds as though both he and the team feel like his playing time there has already come to a close. Has the team really decided to go in another direction at MLB?
Jeanne: Mike Pete is a wonderful, awesome person that really gets his team going. Unfortunately, he is ancient in football years. You know how that goes. It happens to everyone eventually. He’s in the last year of his contract and he has been vocal about getting it changed but they haven’t renegotiated yet. I am afraid he is going to go the way of Donavan Darius. Daryl Smith and Mike Pete have been in a competition for the starting job and Smith proved how valuable he was when the Jags took on the Lions. Smith had a sack and a half and seven tackles in that game alone. It is going to be a hard season for Mike Pete.
UPDATE: I just found out that Jack benched Mike Pete indefinitely. So there you go.
TS: At this point in the season, it looks as though there may still be one AFC wild card spot up for grabs between these three teams (that is, assuming the second place team in the AFC North or one of the four teams in the AFC East take at least the first one): the Indianapolis Colts (5-4), the San Diego Chargers (4-5) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5). As I’m even typing this, I’m having a difficult time seeing any way that the Jags could sneak in, as they are currently staring up at six teams. Again, anything can happen, as we still have almost half of the season left, but do you honestly see any path for your beloved Jags to the playoffs?
Jeanne: By losing to both the Browns and the Bengals, the Jaguars left their playoff hopes in the hands of all the other teams in the AFC. The only way they can even hope to show at the wild card spot is by winning all our remaining games (not an easy task) while the rest of the AFC takes a nose dive. Of course, a girl can hope but I am not holding my breath.
TS: I hate to say it, but we were right about head coach Jack Del Rio in our Titans team preview waaaaay back in August. You know what? I’ll save you the trouble of finding that one in your bookmarks:
“Jacksonville Jaguars: If there is a team that we hate any more than the Colts, it may very well be the Jags. They are also a young team, and players like Garrard, MJD, and the two rookies Harvey and Groves will be productive for years to come, but your coach is an idiot and needs to go. Hopefully him and that stupid suit will be on the hot seat if this team under performs this year. That thing looks like it’s straight off the Men’s Warehouse sale rack. Reebok should be ashamed. He makes Mike Nolan look like Frank Sinatra.”
So, aside from all of the nasty (accurate) jabs, and not to rub it in (too much), but would you not agree that this ball club has been a major disappointment thus far? What do you think Del Rio’s future is? Will he be given a pass for this year given all of the injuries and the off-field tragedy involving Richard Collier? Does he still “have the troops”?
Jeanne: Del Rio just got his contract extended before this season started, he isn’t going anywhere. There are a lot of excuses for the Jaguars’ record, especially when not all that much has changed since last year. Unfortunately, this whole thing is really disheartening. The losses got stacked on top of injuries on top of “Big Rich” and the Jags just had a weak start. I think we will have to wait until next year to judge Del Rio’s future.
TS: What areas, if any, do you see the Jaguars capable of being effective against the Titans?
Jeanne: Well, I am of the opinion that the reason we started off slow is because both lines were not performing up to standards. That is why the only teams we’ve been able to run on are the teams ranked at the bottom of run defense. Honestly, I think that the one advantage that we have is Garrard. He has gone back to last year’s form in the last few weeks, despite the offensive line letting him get touched or rushed far too often.
TS: When is “Classy” Matt Jones going to be reprimanded by the NFL for, um… what was it again? And when is Jerry Porter going to earn his paycheck for, um… playing football again?
Jeanne: I don’t think a Titans fan can go after another team’s wide receivers, sheesh. I am just glad that Matt Jones didn’t get suspended for the Titans game. I really don’t know what is taking them so long. Jones appealed the suspension but usually it doesn’t take three weeks for the appeal do go through. He should have been gone for the Browns, Bengals and Lions games. I know we lost two of those three games but we have much harder games coming up so it would have been nice if he was absent for the softer part of our schedule. Also, Jerry Porter AND Troy Williamson caught touchdown passes against the Lions. So. Um. Maybe they will be performing better? … haha, yeah.
TS: The Jags were a lot of critics’ picks to take that next step and make it to the Super Bowl this year. They had a stellar one-two combo at running back. They had a QB who could manage football games quite effectively. They had a defense that was nasty, and was primed to get even nastier with the addition of rookies Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves. So, in your best estimation, what the f happened? What do you think the Jaguars need to address in order to become a legitimate threat in the AFC again?
Jeanne: I have been wondering what happened all season! My theory is that it is just a bunch of small things that lead to one or two mistakes that cost us everything. A few mistakes and some bad luck combined with frustrations, a new defensive coordinator and an injured offensive line. That is the Jaguars’ losing record cocktail. The Lions game last week was the first game all season where the game wasn’t decided in under seven points. Maybe with things righting themselves they will find themselves in a better situation when the end of the season comes but, as I said above, the rest of the AFC wild card teams have to start losing.
And finally, what’s your prediction for the game?
My prediction: An awesome defensive struggle leads to a 13-10 Jaguar victory. Did you really think I would pick against my own team?