The Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions only see each other every four years and the difference in geographic proximity means fans of either team probably don’t follow the other very closely. I got together with Luke Sims, editor of Black and Teal, to help get some perspective on the Jaguars and he was kind enough to answer my questions.
1. What has been the talk in Jacksonville about the trade that sent Mike Thomas to the Lions?
Luke Sims: Most of us Jags fans are glad to see him go. The Mike Thomas extension was one of those “oops” moments that general managers generally want to avoid. While Thomas has played well in the slot in the past (his 2010 season in particular) he has been underwhelming when asked to be a bigger part of the passing game. Thomas was failing as a punt returner and as a receiver before his trade to the Lions. As it pertains to the Lions I must admit I’m a tad confused by the acquisition. Perhaps they feel they need a receiver with only 13 catches on the season or perhaps they feel that a change of scenery could be beneficial to his game. We’re glad to be free of someone who was obviously unproductive in the current scheme.
2. The Jaguars have had a couple tough losses, what has been the difference in them coming up on the losing end instead of pulling out a win?
LS: At the beginning of the season the blame fell on the defense. The Vikings game in particular was one when the offense put us in a position to win but the defense let everyone down by letting the Vikes drive for two field goals to win it. Now it is just a few plays that have led to shortcomings. The Jags were in it with the Packers and should have held on to win against the Raiders. It’s a question of development and whether the players can get out there and play a full 60 minutes. It’ll come, but right now they need to learn how to finish.
3. What do the Lions need to do to have success against the Jags?
LS: The Lions need to have Matt Stafford stay on form. If he can pass well then the Jags probably don’t have enough firepower to keep up on offense and the defense won’t be able to limit the Lions’ offense – especially due to a depleted secondary. Calvin Johnson should have a big game by virtue of the Jaguars’ pass protection woes. I’m looking for the Lions to exploit the secondary mostly because it’s easier than running the ball against this defense, especially recently since they’ve allowed only 135 yards on the ground in the past two games.
4. The Jaguars are firmly in the running for the first overall pick in the 2013 draft, what should they do with it if they get it?
LS: I think that the Chiefs and/or Browns may sink lower than the Jags. A lot of people would like the Jags to take a quarterback or to go after another defensive end. I would like to see them trade back and get another high-quality corner. It’s only the midpoint of the season, I don’t think it’s time for the Jaguars to start worrying about being first overall, though the top ten is certainly a possibility.
5. What is your prediction for Sunday’s game?
LS: Sunday’s going to be tough, but I think that the Jags have enough momentum (yes, those two losses have built momentum) to pull out an upset. I’m saying 21-17 for the Jaguars. Three touchdowns in the game would be ridiculous for the Jaguars offense, but they should be able to get it done with Gabbert being let off his leash a bit more with each game.