It’s week two of the 2017 NFL preseason and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play the Jacksonville Jaguars today. So we talked to Ryan Day of Big Cat Country about the game and the Jaguars, and he gave us some interesting answers. You can find our counter-Q&A over at Big Cat Country, incidentally.
1. What is up with Blake Bortles? Is he good, bad, good-in-potential, soon-to-be-replaced? What's going on?
Man, if I knew, I'd be driving down to EverBank Field myself and knocking down Tom Coughlin's door. The short answer is: He's just not that good. The long answer is, well, you know what? We'll go with the short answer. The mental part of the game escapes Bortles. I don't know (or want to say) it's a lack of preparation, drive, or initiative.
I think some guys have it (or at least a better potential to have it) and some guys don't. Try as he might, Bortles doesn't have it and he's getting worse. With every new day, it seems he's breaking just a little bit more and there will come a day when he will absolutely implode on the field and there will be no other option but to get a new guy under center. I hope that day is a practice.
2. Where are the Jaguars strongest, and where are they weakest? In other words: which Bucs units are going to get the stiffest resistance?
The Jaguars are strongest at defensive line and wide receiver. Their edge rush leaves something to be desired, but I think they have two of the best interior guys in the league in Abry Jones and Malik Jackson. Mix in an All-Rookie like Yannick Ngakoue and a veteran like Calais Campbell and you've got a very good unit. The receivers, especially the top three in Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, and Marqise Lee are very good and have their own specific roles. You'd need a very versatile top-three unit at cornerback to stop them.
We're the weakest at quarterback (obviously) and on defense I'd say it's the linebackers. We still don't know what we're doing at middle linebacker and strongside linebacker and it'll show in games. They keep moving Myles Jack around and I don't know if he'll ever get settled enough to learn a position well enough to excel.
3. If you could take one Bucs player not named Jameis Winston, who'd you choose?
Uh, who's your backup quarterback? Ryan Fitzpatrick? Yeesh. I can either go a position of need and grab Robert Ayers (who we could have had anyway!) or get a better player not necessarily at a position of need like O.J. Howard. I'll go Howard. Our tight ends are a thin bunch led by Marcedes Lewis who has just a year or two left in the tank.
4. Can you give us a prediction for the Jaguars this season?
Pain. Alcohol. Misery. And probably five wins. I think this is the year Blake Bortles is pulled and that Chad Henne finishes the season.
5. Are there any unknown players we should be keeping an eye on?
Corey Grant is the No. 4 running back but he's one of the fastest players in the NFL. Our receiving corps is deep, so backup receivers like Keelan Cole and Shane Wynn. And, sadly, Chad Henne. Like I said, this is the year Blake Bortles gets pulled midseason. Might as well watch the guy who will be getting snaps after he's done.