PFF Preview: Steelers @ Jaguars, Week 5
A heart-breaking home loss to the Buccaneers last week saw the Steelers fall to 2-2, but a trip to Jacksonville may be just what the doctor ordered.
It’s been a rough year for the Jaguars, as they’ve gone 0-4 while losing every game by at least 17 points. The lack of success has led to the benching of Chad Henne and the dawn of the Blake Bortles Era in northern Florida. The hometown hero has posted a QB rating over 80 in both games he’s played in, but 2014’s third overall pick obviously has room to grow.
Pittsburgh has been marred by frustratingly inconsistent play, getting manhandled by the Ravens early on before turning the tables on Carolina the following week. Last week’s late collapse will leave this team hungry for a win, but the Steelers will have earn that win sans several defensive starters. Ike Taylor and Jarvis Jones are out for the foreseeable future, and while Ryan Shazier’s sprained MCL isn’t as severe an injury, he’ll be out this week as well. Fortunately they have one of the most underrated QB-wide receiver combinations in the league. Entering his fifth year with Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown has the second-highest pure receiving grade (+6.0) for wideouts.
For an offense that ranks near the bottom in both rushing and passing offense, the Jaguars couldn’t have asked for much better fortune. Whether or not they have the offensive playmakers to take advantage of their battered opponent is different story. Their two leading receivers have a combined 29 catches (five receivers league-wide have as many or more) and their leading rusher, Toby Gerhart, has averaged a dismal 2.6 yards per carry on the season. It will be an uphill battle, but if Jacksonville can get something going with their rookie quarterback, this may just be their chance to get into the win column.
Antonio Brown – Brown has the highest Wide Receiver Rating of any receiver who’s seen at least 15 targets. When Roethlisberger has thrown at Brown, he has a QB rating of 141.1.
Arthur Moats – Seeing his playing time increase when Jones got injured, Moats has spent 40 of 62 passing snaps rushing the passer. Perhaps that ratio should increase, as Moats 17.1 Pass Rushing Productivity is second among 3-4 OLB’s.
William Gay – Gay has been targeted on average once every four snaps in coverage (the third-highest rate), though he’s done well to allow only half of those to be completed.
Geno Hayes – Hayes has 14 stops in run defense, leading to a Run Stop Percentage of 15.7. Both are fourth among 4-3 OLB’s. He’s one of two players at his position to play at least 60 snaps in run defense and not miss a tackle.
Toby Gerhart – Gerhart is one of five backs with at least 25 carries to not record a run of more than 15 yards. If it’s any consolation, he’s been better in the passing game, catching all seven balls thrown his way and surrendering one hurry on his 22 pass blocking snaps.
Brandon Linder – While he leads all guards in giving up four sacks, he’s only allowed two pressures outside of those sacks. Linder’s Pass Blocking Efficiency of 96.6 is firmly in the top half of guards, not bad considering he’s a third round rookie.
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