On the other hand, the Jaguars look a little dysfunctional. Neither a terrible team nor one with enough talent to compete consistently, just what does this season hold for them? In some respects the Jaguars are in the exact same situation they were last year, where stagnation is just as good as taking a step back.
A win here or two may silence the voices, but is there a need for deeper change than we’re seeing at the moment?
Jaguars: Three performances of note
What to say about the safety play? Don Carey (-3.9) had the traditional bad game by a Jaguars safety. Missing a tackle, taking bad angles in run support and failing to deliver any sort of support to his corners — that was his day, and the safety position remains a huge concern for the Jaguars. There just isn’t anyone on the roster right now you’d trust to start.
And what of the tackles? Eben Britton (-6.3) is lost for the year after a woeful performance, though his replacement Jordan Black (-2.6) was hardly encouraging. The Jacksonville tackles just don’t look capable of matching up against top-line pass-rushers, with last year’s first-round pick Eugene Monroe (-3.4) having another tough day. Maybe we’ve been spoiled by Jake Long and Joe Thomas, but we just expect more from high-pick tackles.
If there is one consistent success story for the Jags, it’s Aaron Kampman (+1.3). Before the start of the year Kampman himself sounded less than sure about his health, but he’s rarely come off the field and rarely failed to deliver. He ended this one with a sack, two quarterback hits and a pressure on just 21 pass rushes as the Chiefs went run-heavy.
Chiefs: Three performances of note
It’s been a couple of disappointing weeks for LB Derrick Johnson (+4.8) recently, but he had a massive game in this one. He wasn’t particularly active in run defense (though he did what was asked of him) but was superb in coverage. He almost intercepted one pass and broke up another before the piste de resistance of returning a pick for a touchdown.
Imagine if the Chiefs had a lead-blocker who could consistently lead block? They already have a potent rushing attack, but they may as well have been playing with ten men when Mike Cox (-4.2) was on the field. His run blocking was as bad as any fullback’s this week and he didn’t cover himself in glory with his pass protection. Must improve.
Ending on a positive, we finally saw why Eric Berry (+3.7) was picked so high. He didn’t have much to do in run support but, much like Johnson, he did it well. However, for the first time he looked more than competent in coverage. He made a lot of yardage out of an interception return and broke up another pass on one of the three occasions he was targeted. Let’s see if he can do it against a top-line quarterback.
Deji Karim (-2.3) couldn’t find any running room behind the Jags’ line and fumbled a ball away. … First-round pick Tyson Alualu (-0.5) seems to be less and less of a factor these days. Whether that’s down to a knee injury or struggling to cope with expectations placed upon him is another story. … Larry Hart picked up a hit and two pressure on nine rushes of the quarterback.
The other rookie Chiefs safety Kendrick Lewis (-0.4) was rarely tested playing the deep safety, though he did break up a pass. … Javier Arenas (+0.8) isn’t looking out of his depth as the nickel back. … We’re beginning to see what Dexter McCluster (+1.1) is capable of. He caught all five balls thrown his way and was surprisingly effective from the running back when it came to getting yards after contact (almost half of his yards came here). … Tony Moeaki (+1.1) wasn’t a huge asset as receiver but continues to show himself off as a complete tight end.
Todd Bouman completed just two passes when the Chiefs brought pressure. … No Chiefs player had more than one special teams tackle.