Two teams with stubborn, old-school head coaches slammed their workhorse running back into 7-10 man fronts over and over, each trying to hide their former Jacksonville 1st-round pick QB’s shortcomings by getting a lead and trying to sit on it. The better QB won, and the better team lost.
This game represents why the Jaguars are unlikely to run through 3-4 playoff games and win the Super Bowl this season…despite having the best defense in football. Doug Marrone is going to cost them a shot at that precious gold.
There’s no way the Jags can try to ‘Baltimore Ravens/Trent Dilfer’ their way to the title…not in this era. 17 years ago you could stumble to the title with a dominating defense and zero offense…not now. It would take a hellacious amount of good defensive TD fortune…too much to ask when we get to the final top 4-8 teams squaring off. This is a Jags team that shocked the Steelers but then the Rams breezed past them the following week. Jacksonville can whack anyone…they just can’t whack 3 good teams in a row.
The Jags may win their next 4 in-a-row or go 2-2…it’s hard to say. It just seems like they are destined to get to Week 17 to go to Tennessee with the AFC South title on the line. The loser of that game will be a wild-card team.
Arizona has a pattern forming in 2017 – win a close game by the grace of God, and then play like crap the following week. It’s a sign of terrible coaching…as we know they have been poorly coached for a few years now. Extra beatings the whole week after they lose, so they try to win just to not have sit through Bruce Arians’ four-letter word tirades, and they breathe a sigh of relief/play sloppy the following week and cycle repeats itself.
We never hear of Arians as ‘in trouble’ on the coaching front…why?
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- There’s a sudden Ricky Seals-Jones (4-72-1/6) fan club movement, and I get it – 3 TDs in two games at a position where we were just excited about Tyler Kroft. Despair can be bottomless in fantasy…and usually at tight end.
I would get more excited by RSJ if he didn’t just play 15-20 snaps a game. AND if he played on an offense featuring the tight end. Credit Blaine Gabbert – he sees Seals-Jones getting left alone/weaker coverage and he’s going after it. Credit RSJ because he’s working like a young Jimmy Graham – a WR/TE hybrid taking advantage of lesser, physically smaller coverage.
I wouldn’t bet against another TD this week but I’m thinking teams will be wise to this now…especially the Rams. I could see a jumped route pick-six coming. Jalen Ramsey was a half a step away from doing so last week when he smelled one out on RSJ.
Don’t disregard Seals-Jones as a lucky flash in the pan…as I have kinda painted. He’s not bad. He’s different because he’s a WR trained guy working at TE and he’s better, bigger, faster than the linebackers trying to cover him. I’m dismissive that this will turn into stardom, but a top 20 TE right now, a possible TD each week into a TE1 output for a stretch – totally possible. It's happened for two weeks now, so I’m not in front of this story.
-- You know what scares me as a Leonard Fournette (12-25-0, 3-17-0/3) owner? In this game, it’s the second or third+ time this year I’ve heard the shock and dismay from TV analysts announcing how long Fournette has been on the sidelines in the fourth quarter. It’s usually a signal the Jags are about to lose (see: Jets game from a few weeks ago). I mean, I get you get what I’m saying here…Doug Marrone is a total idiot and is every typical NFL head coach from central casting – arrogant, unchanging, non-progressive, and more interested in being a tough guy than the effective CEO of a football operation. These players are going to know who’s the boss type of crap…bleh. Tom Coughlin 2.0. Who is Marrone’s boss? Oh, nevermind. The era of this style of coaching is become outdated…especially in the pro game.
It’s not the not in play in the 4th-quarter and Marrone stuff that is scaring me, although I hate that too. It’s the look on Fournette’s face when they swing the camera over to him during the announcers blurting “…AND FOURNETTE HAS BEEN ON THE SIDELINES THIS ENTIRE 4th QUARTER!” Fournette has that look that’s a mix of ‘I hate this place’ and ‘I hate this coach’ and ‘I will leave the moment I can in free agency’.
Fournette is in, and has always been in, the ‘Fournette business’. He isn’t a slave to coaches or the team going back to his LSU days. He gives 150% on every carry – just don’t screw with him and don’t waste his time. Doug Marrone is in the ‘fake tough guy coach’ business to impress himself, or his dad, or whatever ghost he is chasing. Who is more important to the Jaguars success…Marrone or Fournette? Fournette knows the answer. Marrone is going to try to prove to you otherwise. I can just see a powder keg here.
It’s going to be a problem for years. Eventually, this is going to come to a boil or blows, but it’s not time yet. Fournette is going to pick his spot in the future, you watch. Just remember when it happens – when Andrew Luck is rumored to be disgusted with Colts’ team management…we all nod our heads and agree. So, no one pull the ‘just go play ball’ when Fournette does it.
Fournette is in the ‘Fournette business’ so he’s going for numbers and production, good for fantasy…but he’ll leave when he can unless Marrone is gone by then. He also won’t be around for meaningless games if he is slightly hurt, etc. Something we’ll have to monitor when the time comes. In 2017, the team is no longer losers so we’re good for fantasy. He’s not sitting out to protect his moneymaker right now. There will be a day though…
-- Dede Westbrook (6-41-0/10) led the team and targets and football people went nuts with excitement because they love two things – rookies and players with cool names (see: JuJu Smith-Schuster, and notice the mild love for Corey Davis and Mike Williams).
When I watched this game live I walked away thinking Keelan Cole (2-30-0/7) had a lot more purpose in this game, but then the stat line looked like he was ‘meh’. On the re-watch…it’s confirmed – Cole was the focal point when in need. Marqise Lee was wiped out by Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu was sliding to Keelan Cole a bunch…leaving Westbrook as a check down type of option, and a take-a-shot in weaker coverage guy.
Cole had a 20+ yard brilliant play taken away by an illegal shift. He was open on two deep balls Bortles couldn’t make the throw on. Cole had some great moments in this game. I'm telling you Keelan Cole is where it’s at, not Westbrook…and I saw him make a catch and run play in this game that left my jaw dropped.
I’m sorry to leave you with this but I feel I must, again – Keelan Cole might be the next Antonio Brown but I’m not sure. I don’t feel sure about it yet. I think I see it but sometimes I’m not sure.
Antonio Brown + Blake Bortles & Doug Marrone = you don’t care who Antonio Brown is all these years, so there’s that too.
-- Bruce Arians said that he could see Blaine Gabbert (22-38 for 241 yards, 2 TD/1 INT) as his QB for 2018…
Do I need any more proof of what I’ve said about Arians for two years?
Can you imagine a good rookie prospect QB in the hands of Arians? Bleh.
As crazy as a Gabbert-future sounds, I will say Gabbert is playing decent ball. He’s a great backup QB. He’s not frazzled like he used to be. He has good feet. He’s just ultimately bad at being a QB over time. He can work mediocrely for a spell. He’s not as easy a ‘mark’ for your DST like a Kizer or Geno or Flacco might be.
-- D.J. Foster (1-4-0, 3-18-0/4) made a tremendous, falling out of bounds, tippy toes, stretched out grab of a rocketed pass on the sidelines, essentially winning Arizona this game…it allowed them to quickly get into FG position for the last second win.
Foster is seeing a little more time each week the past two weeks and holding his own. I like DJF, but I know this is Adrian Peterson’s yard. DJF is a long shot RB4 in PPR. No upside unless he has a surge of targets because of game flow.
-- Cards rookie WR Chad Williams (1-0-0, 1-8-0/3)…woof. Uncomfortable looking, still.
-- Deone Bucannon got hurt early in the game, and it was Josh Bynes (9 tackles, 1 TFL) who filled in and racked some numbers. I’m guessing Bucannon will be out this week…and maybe the rest of the season.
Snap Counts of Interest…
29 = Chad Williams
18 = D.J. Foster
17 = Ricky Seals-Jones
34 = Yeldon
28 = Fournette
02 = Ivory