I was able to ask Ryan Day, editor of Big Cat Country (SB Nation’s Jaguars website), a few questions to get a feel for the Steelers’ Week-5 opponent. Take a look at the very candid interview below:
Blake Bortles continues to be a mystery. One day everyone is writing him off, and the next he still has hope of being a franchise QB. Where do you stand on Bortles as the answer at the position?
The fact that he's a mystery makes him a bad quarterback. He's inconsistent and he's bad three times as often as he's good. You can't build around a guy like Bortles whose floor is this bad and it’s hit so often. He's just not that good and I have no hope for him being the long-term solution for this team -- but I fully expect this front office to sign him to an extension and completely destroy the team.
The Jags’ defense is getting after the QB in a big way throughout the first four games of the season. With their secondary and pass rush being the strengths, what would be the weakness of the group?
The linebackers, probably, although Myles Jack has been playing well. Telvin Smith is an athletic freak but he still takes bad angles. The interior run defense is also a problem. This team misses Roy Miller at nose tackle in a big way and, while we're able to get to the quarterback and rush the passer, we lose something in the run game when Paul Posluszny isn't at middle linebacker and when Roy isn't on the team.
Jacksonville's offensive line has kept Bortles pretty clean so far this season, this likely due to running the ball a lot. How would a game plan look to stop the Jags' offense?
Stack the box. Let Bortles beat you in the air. That's how the Tennessee Titans did it and that's how the New York Jets did it. Bortles can't figure out a defense to save his life and his throws are nearly always ducks. Stack eight guys in the box and make sure your secondary can cover for more than four seconds and you'll win on defense.
The Steelers have one of the more potent WR duos in the NFL. Do you think your CB tandem is capable of keeping Antonio Brown and Martavis Byrant in check for four quarters?
Absolutely I do, but some of it depends on the offense too. We saw in Week 2 that the offense couldn't get a first down to save its life and the defense got tired by the end of the third quarter. This is an elite defense if it gets a reasonable amount of time to rest on the sidelines -- but if it doesn't, it plays just as poorly as any other unit out there.
Jacksonville always seems to play the Steelers tough, no matter the venue. How do you see this game playing out, and what is your prediction?
I don't think this one is even close. Bortles will get picked apart and I think this team will have some trouble figuring out how to run against a 3-4 defensive look. Bortles' only saving grace this season has been pre-snap reads and calls -- but against a foreign defense I think he'll have trouble and it'll trickle down into sacks allowed, run plays that should have been audibled to pass plays but instead stayed on the ground—and more. Le'Veon Bell is going to have a field day against us. I think this ends:
Steelers - 33, Jaguars - 16