Jacksonville ranks dead last in the NFL in yardage (251.8 per game), they are 29th in the NFL in passing yardage (174.3 per game), they are 31st in the NFL in rushing yardage (58.0 per game), and they are dead last in points scored (10.2 per game). With the injuries and downright awful play in the Denver Broncos secondary of late (there will be a thorough look at that this afternoon), facing the Jaguars at this point in time should be what the doctor ordered.
Blaine Gabbert is quite possibly the worst QB in the league right now. He's hurt so the Broncos will be facing his slightly more capable backup
Tim Tebow Chad Henne. On the season, Chad has completed 53-95 passes (55.8%) for 601 yards (6.3 APA), with 2 TD's and 2 INT's. Chad has targeted every part of the field thus far and is most successful to the intermediate left and middle of the field. He isn't afraid to go deep has 8 of his attempts have gone beyond 20 yards. Last week against St. Louis he threw for 89 yards and a TD in mop up duty.
There was a point in time when Maurice Jones-Drew brought fear to opposing defenses. This year isn't one of them. Last week was his most productive game of the season. He rushed 17 times for 70 yards (4.1 per carry) and caught two balls for 16 yards. MJD only has one touchdown on the year.
The Jaguar offense does have some weapons at the skill positions. Coming back from a four-game suspension last week was troubled WR Justin Blackmon. Raise your hand if you drafted him in FF despite the suspension and played him the first week he came back (Bronco Mike raises hand). He had a great week last week seeing 9 targets overall and turning those looks into 5 receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown.
On the other side of the field will be #2 Cecil Shorts. He continues to be the most targeted of the Jaguar receivers despite the return of Blackmon to the lineup. Last week he was targeted 11 times, hauled in 5 balls for 74 yards and a touchdown. In every game this year he's been targeted at least 10 times per contest so expect him to remain an integral part of the offense this week.
When the Jags run 11 personnel (3 wide receivers) rookie 4th round pick Ace Sanders will take the field in the slot. Sanders is small and speedy at only 5'7" and 178 lbs. So far this year he has caught 14 balls for 162 yards.
In the absence of TE Marcedes Lewis, 6'2" 248 lb Allen Reisner has received most of the snaps at TE. He has caught 5 balls for 40 yards and should be considered more of a blocker. 6'3" 252 lb Clay Harbor has been targeted a big more in the passing game with 9 receptions for 117 yards and a TD. The TE has not been an integral part of the Jacksonville offense thus far though.
From left to right: LT Cameron Bradfield (-6.6), LG Will Rackley (-14.7), C Brad Meester (-0.9), RG Uche Nwaneri (-0.3), and RT W Austin Pasztor (0.8) will comprise the group the Broncos will face Sunday. As you can see there is a lot of opportunity to attack the left side of that line and a lot of opportunity to exploit all the shifting that has gone on with the trade of Eugene Monroe and the season ending injury to rookie Luke Joeckel. Bradfield surrendered 4 pressures on 35 pass blocking snaps last week. LG Will Rackley has given up two sacks along with 16 total pressures this season.
Early on this team will line up in two-back sets with FB Will Ta'ufo'ou to try and establish the running game. They may mix up some playaction and take some shots downfield, but it doesn't seem to be in their makeup to play aggressively, even against a struggling secondary. Sitting at 0-5, they really have nothing to lose other than the #1 overall pick.
Listening to the radio yesterday it seems as if the Broncos plan to play Champ at his customary LCB position, the same position DRC has played in his absence. If this is true, we should see Justin Blackmon against Champ and DRC against Cecil Shorts. If I were Henne and the Jags offense, I would throw at Champ all day. He has yet to play this year and his last body of work was getting torched against Torrey Smith in the playoffs.
If they cannot find a way to get the running game going, they are going to have a really tough time keeping Del Rio and company honest with their blitz and coverage schemes. Shut down MJD and you have Chad Henne vs. Peyton Manning in points race. Anyone out there seriously think Henne can keep pace with Peyton score for score? Me neither.
I wanted to find some real positives watching a few different games worth of tape, but the highlights are few and far between. Jags fans should be excited about Justin Blackmon coming back into the lineup. Other than that, this is a team that will fail to gain yardage consistently and will give the ball back to the Broncos after 3 or 4 plays.
If Woodyard is out, I have some genuine concerns. Paris Lenon is terrible and was getting burned in preseason against 3rd stringers. Lucky for us the Jags don't have much of a receiving TE threat because Paris stands no chance at being good in coverage.
In the secondary, I really, really hope Duke Ihenacho studied his performance against the Cowboys real hard because he probably played his worst game to date. We can't have that sort of play from our safeties, period.
There are still some real questions for the Broncos defensively going forward. Fortunately for them, by the time they face anyone who can pose real problems for them, they are likely to have every one of their starters back on defense.