Coming off their first win of the season against the Tennessee Titans, the Jacksonville Jaguars have had some up and down since Sunday. On the downside, linebacker LeRoy Reynolds was suspended by the league for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances. On the upside, middle linebacker Paul Posluszny is the AFC defensive Player of the Week. Did we mention they won Sunday? A win after eight losses in a row is always an upside.
Reports on Reynolds’ suspension came to light Tuesday. The undrafted free agent has played in all nine of the Jags’ games this season, but he is now suspended for the next four games. He can return on Friday, Dec. 6 after the Jags play Thursday Night Football against the Houston Texans.
Reynolds will not be missed as much as suspended wide receiver Justin Blackmon. He has only six tackles this season and no interceptions or forced fumbles. Of course, every man on the field contributes something, but with numbers like this, it should not be difficult for the Jaguars to fill his spot.
Compared to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins, the Jaguars have not had nearly as much trouble in the way of controversy and roster shifts this season. They also have not been as competitive as the Bucs, losing every game by at least two touchdowns. Before Sunday, they never managed to put up more than 20 points in a game, and still got outscored by at least two touchdowns (Week 5 @ Rams 34-20). On Sunday, it seemed as though the Jaguars finally realized that whatever they were doing was not working, so they did something else, and that something else got them their first win.
Posluszny is a seven-year veteran linebacker and leads the Jaguars with 88 tackled this season, a forced fumble and two interceptions. To earn his Week 10 honors as DPW, Posluszny pulled off eight total tackles, five for them solo. He also recovered a fumble he forced, giving the Jaguars a much-needed boost. That fumble was his first this season. Both of his interceptions came in this game as well, and one of those ended up as a touchdown.
The Jaguars needed those take-aways, and now sit at -5 turnover ratio. This is one of the things they were not doing before the bye last week. They also weren’t doing much in the way of scoring, with only 11 touchdowns after Sunday’s game to their credit. The defense has not been very active either, with only 12 sacks credited over the course of nine games.
Perhaps over the bye, the Jags were able to take a closer look at themselves and their opponents. Whatever happened, it has given them a swing toward positive momentum that has been sorely missed in Jacksonville. On Sunday, the defense played. The offense played. When they both played well and played with a corresponding strategy, they won. Code cracked?
Perhaps the Grid-Iron Gods decided it was time to smile upon Jacksonville. As we all know, these gods can be capricious, so the Jaguar’s next game against the Arizona Cardinals will be a defining moment in the rest of their season. One is not data, two is not proof. Three? We may have a pattern.
By Brandi Tasby