The Jaggernaut answers questions from Total Titans

Our thanks go to Shane Clemons, from Bloguin's Jacksonville Jaguars blog, The Jaggernaut.  Shane was kind enough to join us this time in our weekly question and answer exchange with a blogger who looks at things from the other side's point of view.
Following are Shane's answers to my questions.  I'll post a link here for my answers to his questions when he posts them on his site.
Total Titans:  Although the Jaguars lost last week, it was by far their best game of the year.  What are the most encouraging things you saw that the team can build upon?  What would you like to see them keep doing?
The Jaggernaut:  With Chad Henne at quarterback, the Jaguars moved the ball almost at will against one of the best defenses in the NFL. Obviously, as a Jaguars fan, I'd like to continue to see them push the ball down the field as well as using combination routes to get playmakers like Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon the ball in open field. The Jaguars looked like a solid team with competent quarterback play. This weekend's game will tell us a lot about the Jaguars, and even though he's not playing, the Jaguars will learn a lot about Blaine Gabbert.
TT:  What is a Jalen Parmele and what does he bring to the Jaguars that Rashad Jennings didn't?
TJ:  Jalen Parmele is a straight ahead runner, and that's what the Jaguars have been lacking without Maurice Jones-Drew. Rashad Jennings has a tendency to try to make something of nothing, and it ultimately costs the team yards. Parmele isn't going to bust a huge play unless he's given a big hole, but he consistently gets what the defense gives them, and that's all the Jaguars are asking of them.
TT:  Who are the Jaguars offensive and defensive MVPs at this point?  Who should we keep an eye on Sunday?
TJ:  Paul Posluszny is the Jaguars' best defensive player, and he earns my DMVP award for the second year in a row. He tackles, moves well all over the field, and he's a warrior in the trenches. In other words, he's everything you want in a middle linebacker.

Picking an offensive MVP is difficult considering the Jaguars' offensive woes, but my pick for the award would be Cecil Shorts III. He's been the Jaguars' most consistent target this season, and he has the quickness and speed to take a short play and turn it into something huge.

TT:  If you were coaching the Jaguars, what would your game plans be this week on each side of the ball?
TJ:  The Jaguars will be looking to turn their success last week into a victory this week. On offense, I would run the ball up the middle early and often, and I would plan to play off of that with the play action game, much as the Jaguars did last week. Combination routes were very effective against the Texans as opposed to the normal isolation routes the Jaguars have run much of the year, so I would continue running the combinations.

On defense, it's all about stuffing Chris Johnson. The Titans haven't had a great season, and if the Jaguars can keep the Titans in 2nd and 3rd and long situations, their chances of winning go way up. The Jaguars' secondary has played well without a pass rush much of the season, and I would like to see a lot of man coverage on the backend on early downs to allow linebackers to be as active as possible in run defense.

TT:  Care to make a prediction?  Who wins and why?
TJ:  The Jaguars are a different team without Blaine Gabbert — in a good way. Chad Henne gives the Jaguars optimism and confidence in getting the ball down field. If, and it's a big if, the Jaguars play well on defense, I see the Jaguars winning relatively comfortably, something like 27-17 in Jacksonville's favor.
Thanks again to Shane for joining us this week and be sure to check out The Jaggernaut for more Jaguars content and opinion.


The Jaggernaut answers questions from Total Titans

Thanks to those of you who provided questions for us to ask Shane Clemons, who heads up Bloguin’s Jacksonville Jaguars blog, The Jaggernaut.  Following are our questions to Shane and his answers.

Total Titans:  The Jaguars pass rush is something that has been lacking in the past few years.  They traded up to get Harvey in the first round a few years ago and that proved to be a mistake.  They added Kampman last year and he played only half the season.  Is there any reason to think that the pass rush will be better this year?

Shane Clemons:  The Jaguars have had a poor pass rush for far too long, and it remains a concern, but the pre-season gave us a glimpse of what the Jaguars could do. In week 2 of the pre-season, the Jaguars played the Atlanta Falcons. Matt Ryan had a poor night, largely due to being hurried and forced out of the pocket. The Jaguars didn’t get a sack in the game, but they were able to get Ryan to misfire multiple times, including a huge loss on an intentional grounding. The Jaguars’ pass rush is making progress, but it’s not there yet.

TT:  With Del Rio’s job on the line, was he bold or stupid (or maybe both) to toss his starting QB to the curb just a few days before the season opener?  Is McCown really that much of an upgrade over Garrard?  How will the Jags offense be different with McCown instead of Garrard?

SC:  I liked the move. The “last straw” was reportedly Garrard throwing 3 interceptions in practice on Monday. That type of play is unacceptable, and Garrard had played that way throughout the pre-season. McCown was undoubtedly the best quarterback day in and day out for the Jaguars throughout the pre-season. It’s certainly a bold move, but I think it’s something that needed to be done. Here’s a freebie. I don’t expect Gabbert to start unless McCown gets injured at some point in the season. Gabbert’s time is coming, but I don’t expect to see him much this season.

TT:  MoJo Drew had only five preseason carries.  How healthy is he?  With the loss of Jennings, does the situation at RB concern you?

SC:  The Jaguars didn’t want to hurry MJD back from his injury, and I think that’s the right way to handle an injury concerning your best player. Jones-Drew says he’s healthy and ready to go, and I have no reason to believe otherwise. The loss of Jennings hurts, but the Jaguars are very impressed with Deji Karim, and he’s always looked good when he gets in a game. Running back is a position of mild concern, but the Jaguars have bigger problems than just at RB.

TT:  The Jaguars signed two free agents that I wish the Titans had pursued, Posluszny and Landry.  Seems to me like Pos and Daryl Smith will make a good tandem and Landry strengthens the secondary.  How much of an upgrade do they provide?

SC:  Posluszny and Landry should both be huge additions, and they’re not the only ones to help the defense. Drew Coleman will step in as the nickel back, Dwight Lowery will likely start once he’s acquainted with the defense, and Clint Session adds some great speed to the Jaguars’ linebackers. The Jaguars had a terrible defense at best in 2010. That had to change, and they’ve done a good job filling in the gaps. I think the unit will be much improved.

TT:  Are the problems on the offensive line serious or exaggerated?  How well did the starters pass protect in the preseason against the opponents’ starters?  Can they pass protect against an average NFL d-line, or even one that’s thin at defensive end with injuries?  Can they run block for MJD?

SC:  I’ve went back and watched the Jaguars’ pre-season games, and the offensive line is a huge concern. Here’s the good news for the Jaguars. McCown gets the ball out faster than Gabbert or Garrard did. Not only that, the line blocked better for McCown, even when they were against the 1st team defense in the last pre-season game. The offensive line is the one wild-card the Jaguars really have going into the season (okay so McCown’s a wild-card too), and we really won’t know until Sunday whether or not the offensive line is a huge weakness or over-exaggerated.

Thanks for having me, and the questions were great.       

Our thanks go to Shane as well.  For more Jaguars opinions and analysis, please see what Shane and his co-authors are writing about on The Jaggernaut.