1. Coming into this season the Jaguars were a hot pick as an up and coming team. They didn't start out the season that way, but have won the last two meetings. Are they showing themselves to be that up and coming team or have the past two games been a product of playing bad teams?
I think the Jaguars have been lucky the past two weeks. The first three games really showed just how poorly they're playing at the quarterback position and how much Blake Bortles has regressed. The last two games have been "get right" games in a sense against an awful Indianapolis Colts team and a stumbling Chicago Bears game.
Make no mistake, I believe the Jaguars match up well against the Oakland Raiders, and [the Jaguars] could very well win again this week... but the only way to do that is if the light switch comes on in Bortles' mind and his receivers step up in their consistency.
2. Blake Bortles' numbers look pretty good. Are those numbers indicative of him being one of the league's better quarterbacks or do they not tell the real story (ie garbage time stats, etc)?
Do Bortles' numbers look good this year? He's averaging 250 yards and 1-2 touchdowns alongside 1-2 interceptions per game this year. His completion percentage is up, but I think that's a result of a more conservative gameplan by offensive coordinator Greg Olson. Why conservative? Because Bortles is playing terribly this season. He's so inconsistent and so inaccurate and it's frustrating as hell. The defense is playing their asses off and if the offense had just plateaued from last year they'd be 4-1 easy.
Editor’s note: I was talking about his career numbers, not just this year. But unfortunately there are no follow-ups in this format.
3. Greg Olson was not popular as offensive coordinator in Oakland. How has he performed in Jacksonville and what should we expect his game plan to be Sunday?
I like Olson. I think he's a smart guy. But he has some bad pieces in Jacksonville. T.J. Yeldon is not good, the offensive line is shuffling every week, Allen Robinson is dropping easy passes, and Blake Bortles is throwing some of the worst passes I've seen of him in his career. Olson prefers an offense that is double-tight end, runs off the play-action, etc... and with Yeldon showing himself to not be a feature back in this league, it's hard for Olson to adjust. He's done his best, in my opinion, and the offensive struggles are a lot more about execution rather than coaching.
4. Is there a Jaguars player on either side of the ball that you say, "If the Raiders don't stop him, they're in trouble"?
Michael Crabtree. We talked on our latest episode of Keep Choppin' Wood about who Jalen Ramsey should shadow this game. Last week it was (obviously) Alshon Jeffrey, but our guest -- @SullyFootball -- pointed out that Crabtree has more of the opportunity for taking over a game than Amari Cooper does. I think if Jalen struggles against Crabtree, it could be a very long year.
Editor’s note: Michael Crabtree still plays for the Raiders. He has not been traded to the Jaguars. I think Ryan may have misunderstood the question. Again, no follow-ups. Informative none the less.
5. Despite having drafted TJ Yeldon just last year and adding Chris Ivory in the offseason, the Jaguars have the second worst rushing offense in the league. What is going on there? Can they make up for it in other areas?
Man, I have zero idea why the running game sucks. It's mostly talent (and by extension, execution) but it shouldn't be this bad. Yeldon and Ivory aren't garbage running backs and the offensive line has some studs. In fact, I would call center Brandon Linder a top-five center in the league. But they are awful on the ground. Maybe a part of it is Bortles and the passing game -- there's no pass to set up the run, Bortles can't help convert third downs, extend drives, and get the backs rhythm, etc... But I have no idea and I don't know if help is on the way. I think the running game is what it is and they just have to try and overcompensate with defense and the passing game. The defense is doing its job, now it's time for Bortles.