Each week Windy City Gridiron exchanges questions with the opponent. This week we visit in with the third of four AFC South opponents - the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ryan Day from Big Cat Country offers some quick hitters in front of this weekend’s tilt. If you’re looking for my responses to Big Cat Country’s questions, click here. If you missed last week and wanted to check out the question from the Colts, click here.
WCG: 1. Is Blake Bortles a good quarterback? Bortles put up some fantasy football worthy numbers last year but that could be attributed to a poor defense and the need to play from behind. As we move along in year 3, is he the franchise QB or will Jacksonville need to go back to the well soon?
BCC: No, not right now at least. He looked okay in the nationally televised London game two weeks back which is why this may seem like a pessimistic viewpoint, but his decision-making, accuracy, and mechanics have all regressed to where he was his rookie year and I can't for the life of me figure out why. He's not a franchise quarterback in his current state, but I don't think it's out of the question to believe he can grow into one. He needs to grasp the mental aspect of the game because all the physical tools are there. Easier said than done, I know, but he showed progress last year... so at least he knows he can do it. If he finishes this year like he started it, he'll get one more year to prove he can be the guy and then I think you go to the well in 2018.
WCG: 2. The Jaguars seemed to hit it big with Allen Robinson, the 6'3" WR out of Penn St. He's off to a slow start with just 21 grabs for 238 yards through 4 games. Are defenses trying to take him out of the game or is there something else going on here? Who needs to step up to get Robinson back to the top flight WR we saw last season?
BCC: Absolutely. His lack of explosive plays (plays of 20 yards or more) is what's most unsettling this offense and causing it to stall. The Packers and Chargers did a tremendous job taking Robinson out of the game and it really confused Bortles. All that said, Robinson looked like he got something back against the Indianapilis Colts in Week 4... but again, it's the Indianapolis Colts. My advice is to center your defensive gameplan around Robinson and the other dominoes will fall too.
WCG: 3. The Jaguars have three exciting young defensive players in Dante Fowler Jr., Myles Jack, and Jalen Ramsey. How have they looked so far and what are the expectations this year for each of them?
BCC: You missed one: Yannick Ngakoue. Ngakoue is a legitimate Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate and he's a third-round pass rushing specialist out of Maryland. But he's producing and it's been really, really fun to watch. As far as Fowler, he's not the edge rusher he was drafted to be, but he's getting pressures up the middle with stunts and I don't really care how it happens. A pressure is a pressure, to be honest. Jalen Ramsey is another Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate and Myles Jack is finally getting significant snaps at outside linebacker. I'm excited.
WCG: 4. Gus Bradley is in his 4th year with the club and has led the team to an average of 4 wins per year. Is the rebuild ever going to take off under Bradley or will the Jaguars be in the market for a new Head Coach at the end of the year?
BCC: In my opinion? No. I don't think Gus Bradley is the guy and I think he's replaced mid-season. Look for a move after the Thursday Night Football game against the Tennessee Titans. They'll be in the market for a new head coach before the end of the year.
WCG: 5. What's up with the London connection? What are the chances this franchise officially moves over the pond to England? What is the general mood of Jaguars fans in playing so many games over in Wembley Stadium?
BCC: Zero. The Jaguars aren't moving to London. It's not happening.
WCG: BONUS - Who ya got and by what score in what may shape up as an important game for 2017 draft position?
BCC: I think the Bears win a close one -- something in the ballpark of 26-24.
Thanks to Ryan and Big Cat Country for the time!