After a week where the Jacksonville Jaguars almost made it through the bye without being part of the national media frenzy, it is back to work for the winless franchise.
That means a steady dose of work on the offense, the defense, special teams and everything else in between.
Eight weeks until the end of the year, no playoff berth in sight and a need for head coach Gus Bradley and general manager to focus on 2014 as this team’s coming out party.
No one’s job is in jeopardy, yet, but there could be changes in the coaching staff for the 2014.
I suspect when all is said and done, there could be changes to positional coaches and maybe a coordinator position, but the franchise will not make moves at the team’s two head positions.
So after a week off following a disaster in London, a player who cannot stay clean of substance abuse and a former team star who throws the franchise under the bus, saying he believes the team is going to London at some point, what is this team to do?
Prepare for a trip to Tennessee - that’s what. And in doing so, the team must realize it can play the role of spoiler for many teams trying to make the playoffs. If we are talking specifics, here are four things this team must focus on to begin the second half of the season.
The team changed the look of the front line with the hope of a harder charging pass rush. Roy Miller and Sen’Derrick Marks were supposed to be saviors on the interior. They have shown some ability to apply pressure up the middle, but the pass rush from the outside has been nonexistent.
The Jaguars must find a way for Jason Babin, Tyson Alualu and Jeremy Mincey to make plays on the outside. And someone please tell Andre Branch that the way to the quarterback is forward, not backward.
Keep Henne upright
The Jaguars' offensive line has gotten better, but it is not great. For some reason, the addition by subtraction rule applies here. Since Eugene Monroe was traded and Luke Joeckel was hurt, the line play has gotten better. Tackles Austin Pasztor and Cameron Bradfield have done a decent job of holding defenders in check.
The team must also deal with injuries and find more ways to open holes through the interior line for the running game to be more effective. Will Rackley must have a bigger role in that success and he must learn to avoid injuries.
Find a replacement for Blackmon
The Jaguars will use Mike Brown more in the offense and find ways for Ace Sanders to show off his speed.
Brown is having a solid season. He will continue to blossom. I thought the third slot for him was perfect in this rotation. Now, he takes a more prominent role in this offense. Does that help or hurt him?
Can the Jaguars find a free agent who can come in and make magic happen? Chad Johnson and Brandon Lloyd are still available.
Run more of MJD
Whether he was being showcased or not, the team needs Maurice Jones-Drew to have a huge second half of the season. The run game helps set up play action and the passing game more with his legs.
The fact Henne is a more comfortable quarterback in the pocket and on third down means this team can afford to use MJD on first and second down to move the chains. They can rely on the pass as a second option.