My apologies to everyone for the delay on this interview. Tracking down a Jaguar blogger turned out to be an impossible feat. Anyway, I was able to get an interview with Jonathan Loesche from Jagsonville and Alfie Crow from Big Cat Country. This will finish up the AFC South series and we will continue moving on to the NFC North to get the opinions of Lions, Packers, and Bears bloggers. Continue reading to see what Mr. Loesche and Mr. Crow had to say about their Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jon: The Jaguars gave the Colts a run for the division. What kept them from moving in for the kill?
Jonathan: December collapses are nothing new under Jack Del Rio. 8 seasons, the Jaguars have entered December 6 times with a solid chance of winning the division or a Wild Card. The Jaguars have had 2 playoff seasons in those 8 years. This year, the team simply wasn't that good particularly in the secondary and QB position. The Colts regressed and the Jaguars were seemingly the only team in the AFC South that didn't regress as well.
Alfie: What kept the Jaguars from moving in for the kill was their inability to finish. It's been a trend under Jack Del Rio and behind David Garrard for the past few years. The Jaguars have had an inability to finish games and have tanked in December/January for the past few years. In fact, they haven't had a winning record in the final four games since the 2007 season. To be perfectly honest, I believe it was more the Colts being down than the Jaguars giving them a run.
Jon: Name the MVP and LVP of the 2010 Jaguars.
Jonathan: The Jags MVP is without a doubt Maurice Jones-Drew. The man played on a bum knee all year and still almost won the rushing title. The LVP is a tie between David Jones and Don Carey (Surprise two secondary players.) According to Football Outsiders, a hole in zone coverage does a better job defending a WR than David Jones did. As for Carey, he was the subject of an infamous roster move GM Gene Smith made. To put it lightly, Carey was terrible and wouldn't start for any other team in the league.
Alfie: The MVP of the team is undoubtedly running back Maurice Jones-Drew. He's been the heart of the Jacksonville Jaguars since the 2008 season and he brings it week in and week out. Without him, I think you could count how many games the Jaguars would win on a single hand. As far as the least valuable player, I'd have to pick safety Don Carey. Carey was picked up off waivers in the 2009 season and placed on injured reserve, drawing the ire of the Cleveland Browns front office, since he was waived injured. Carey started the majority of the season at the free safety position and he was just down right terrible. He routinely blew coverages and took poor pursuit angles.
Jon: The Jaguars pass defense was one of the worst in the league. Was this on coaching, the players or execution?
Jonathan: For now, I'll go with talent. The Jaguars secondary was a revovling door of DBs and they were all varying degrees of bad. Rashean Mathis is still a solid starting corner, but clearly not the elite corner he was from 2004-2007. Derek Cox managed to play well after getting out of Del Rio's dog house. However, the safety position has to be addresses quickly. Courtney Greene is a solid SS from a run stuffing standpoint but leaves something to be desired as a pass defender. If the Jaguars don't make a play for Eric Weddle, alot of people will be disappointed.
Also, the Jaguars LB corp shares some responsibility for the terrible pass defense. Kirk Morrision and Justin Durant were consistently being targeted by teams with good receiving TEs.
Jon: What were your preseason expectations? Did the Jaguars meet, surpass or fall short of them?
Jonathan: 8-8 was my expectation and the Jaguars played exactly to that level. However, obviously, no one figured the Colts would regress like they did and the Jaguars would enter December leading the AFC South. In that regard, the Jaguars fell short yet again.
Alfie: The Jaguars met my expectations as far as their record, as I picked them to finish 8-8. Where they surpassed it was the fact that they were actually in position to win the division and make the playoffs towards the end of the season. I actually expected them to start out much worse than they did and finish better than they did. I guess it was the inverse of what I thought would happen with the same end result?
Jon: What is the biggest need for the Jags this off-season?
Jonathan: The Jaguars need to get a QB for the future. We know what David Garrard will give you and he's already 32. The Jaguars haven't drafted a QB since taking Byron Leftwich in 2003 (the longest current streak in the NFL.) The current QB crop isn't the blockbuster class many anticipated, but I still believe several quality starters can be found in this year's draft.
Alfie: The Jaguars have two huge needs entering 2011. First and foremost they need to address the pass defense. Whether that's bringing in another pass rusher to pair with Aaron Kampman or if that's going out and grabbing a top safety free agent like Eric Weddle remains to be seen, but something has to be done. The other need for the Jaguars is to address the quarterback position, which they've ignored for years. David Garrard is likely still going to be the starter in 2011, but he's 33 and the Jaguars desperately need to get a young guy in there to begin grooming to take over.
Jon: What is the biggest hope for the Jaguars moving forward?
Jonathan: The biggest hope is the continued support from the community. Former Jaguar Tony Boselli led the Team Teal efforts that resulted in every Jags home game being on TV. The team and the city can't afford to rest on those laurels. The next step has to get the regular seats sold out on a season ticket basis and (more importantly) getting the Jaguars club seats filled.
Alfie: The biggest hope for the Jaguars is to just continue to improve. Fans are getting restless, but most realize it's going to take baby steps. The team began a rebuilding process in 2009 after blowing up a lot of the roster and have steadily improved. There are still some major areas that need work, but the only hope right now is to continue to get better and improve their young building block players.
With that, the AFC South is concluded. I would like to thank Jonathan Loesche and Alfie Crow for agreeing to do this interview. And for more from Mr. Loesche check out Jagsonville for Jaguars related information. And for more from Mr. Crow, check out Big Cat Country.
As well, I want everyone to know that if you have a particular question that you want answered by a future team's blogger, please email me with the question. This offer will stay open until all interviews have been completed (Note: All teams in the NFC South, AFC South, and NFC North have already been completed).