The Jacksonville Jaguars are 1-7 and sitting at the bottom of the AFC South. This does not mean that they do not have any talented players. Besides halfback Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville may not have a group of Pro Bowl players, but a few that would get some recognition if they played elsewhere.
The first that comes to mind is middle linebacker Paul Posluzny. He was once a second round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills out of Penn State in 2007. Posluzny came to the Jaguars as a free agent last year. At the moment he is second on the team in tackles and has one interception. Posluzny is not really big enough to play his position, but gives everything he has. He is the quintessential good player on a bad team.
Another example of this is cornerback Aaron Ross. He signed with Jacksonville as a free agent after spending five years with the New York Giants. With New York, Ross won two Super Bowls. He was second on the team in interceptions last season for a championship team. Ross still has talent, but teams know that they do not have to challenge him to win and his production is going down across the board.
The jury is still out on quarterback Blaine Gabbert. He is only in his second season out of Missouri. Gabbert threw for 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2011. He is three touchdown passes shy of matching his rookie production and has only thrown five interceptions so far. Despite playing with a sore shoulder and without Jones-Drew, Gabbert has improved.
Wide receiver Justin Blackmon was drafted with the first pick this season out of Oklahoma State. Jacksonville hopes that he is the big play receiver that Gabbert can go to and who takes the pressure off of Jones-Drew. After eight games Blackmon has only 23 receptions and one touchdown. His slow start is not unusual for a rookie. Jerry Rice did not exactly burn it up his first year with the San Francisco 49ers.
The Jaguars will not find out how good Blackmon can be until he plays with a healthy Gabbert and Jones-Drew. The three of them have only started five games together. Jacksonville needs them on the field to see how Jones-Drew’s running will benefit the Gabbert to Blackmon passing combination.
Two good players on offense and defense are not enough for any team to win in the NFL. This is especially true when your best player, Jones-Drew, is out indefinitely with a foot injury. It is hard to win and create fan interest without any talent.
However, the Jaguars need to find every silver lining that they can.
Jacksonville may be 1-7, but they do have some talent.