Originally posted on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 9/22/13
This Could Get Ugly… Let’s just call a spade a spade here. The Jacksonville Jaguars are a god-awful, unmitigated disaster of a football team and barring some sort of unforeseen disaster or the mysterious disappearance of half the Seattle Seahawks roster, they haven’t got a hope in hell on Sunday. They can’t throw the football, or play defense or even run the football anymore; so pretty much they’re already all-in on Teddy Bridgewater for next year’s draft. With that being said, it almost seems disingenuous to pretend that the three positional match-ups listed below will determine the course of the game. I mean, realistically, all they can even hope to do is shed some light on where and when the Seahawks might struggle and how that will impact the surely lopsided score. As far as I’m concerned, the only area in which the Jaguars will so much as hold a candle to the Seahawks will be in the highly disputed battle of who has the swankier new uniform. Neon green logo-type-pants-things face off against the Jaguars redesigned and more threatening logo. Both combatants will be adorned with nouveau-riche headgear, one bearing a fifty-fifty split of metallic gold and matte black, the other a Kevlar looking middle of the helmet type dealio. There will be seizures. Richard Sherman vs. Cecil Shorts III If there’s one bright spot on the Jaguars offense, it’s Cecil Shorts. He’s got serious wheels and a penchant for scoring absurdly long touchdowns. Even more miraculously, he nearly masks the Jags well documented issues at quarterback. If the Jaguars have so much as a fools hope, which they don’t, it’s because of Shorts. Then again, he’s being covered by Richard Sherman, so they really don’t. But back to those absurdly long touchdowns that Shorts is now known for. Good luck Sunday Jags WR’s… The well’s apparently run dry for Shorts. In his first two contests against Kansas City and Oakland, Shorts only averaged 4.6 yards after the catch per reception, which is down nearly two yards from his totals from last season. He’s played against middling competition (averaged out) in the Chiefs and Raiders, with one possessing a great defense and the other a horrible one, so that probably has little to do with the declined production. Even less likely is the idea that poor quarterback play has hampered his production; that was kind of the norm last season when he nearly hit 1,000 yards. The real problem here is that with Justin Blackmon in the middle of a four-game suspension, defenses can focus even more on Shorts than they originally would. Things will just get worse for Shorts on Sunday when he’s lining up against arguably the best cover corner in football, Richard Sherman. To this point in the season Sherman has only allowed 5 receptions on 10 throws at him, and the longest of those five was a 19-yarder against San Fran. More notably though, quarterbacks have accumulated a rating of 22.9 when throwing at Sherman, so yeah, he’s kind of still good and stuff. Advantage, Sherm. Luke Joeckel vs. Red Bryant The transition from college to the NFL has been particularly difficult for the Jaguars second overall pick, Luke Joeckel. Whether this can be attributed to playing on an absolute monstrosity of a horrible football team or his simultaneously transitioning from left to right tackle, I just don’t know. What’s becoming increasingly clear, however, is that Joeckel has still yet to get up to speed with the mental aspect of playing in the pros. Were Russell Okung to play in this match… Having watched some Jaguars tape it becomes increasingly clear that Joeckel can physically match up with nearly any pass rusher in the league, but that’s only the case when he’s fortunate enough to remember to pick them up. Missed reads and confusion seem to be the issue with Joeckel, is what I’m trying to say. To this point in the season he’s already accountable for 5 QB hurries and 2 sacks, which is, you know, bad. While Red Bryant is on par with the likes of me as a pass rusher, he is one hell of a run defender and as far as ProFootballFocus is concerned he’s actually been the best Seahawks defender in general. Right now the big guy is rocking a 5.6 grade, and has a total of 5 QB hurries to his credit. Maybe it’s Joeckel who is bestowed with the honour of surrendering the season’s first sack for “Big Red”. Jason Babin vs. Paul McQuistan This one is kind of a mismatch. Sure, Jason Babin is getting long in the tooth, but opposite him will be Paul McQuistan who, so far as I can tell, is still Paul McQuistan. Were Russell Okung to play in this match, I’d just as easily write off this bookend vs. left tackle matchup as I would the game as a whole. But unfortunately, he’s not. In his place, McQuistan. Naturally McQuistan plays guard, and generally struggles there. He’s an alright fill-in when James Carpenter eventually goes down with an injury, but not a long-term solution. At left tackle, he’s just horrible. Aldon Smith absolutely worked him in prime time last week, and I won’t be surprised if Babin does the same tomorrow. I can’t imagine Babin effecting the outcome of the game, but I’m moderately worried about the hits he will surely lay on Russell Wilson. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE SEAHAWKS BLOG PAGE IN OUR CLUBHOUSE SECTION AT NWSB!
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