There’s a lot to discuss. The Steelers’ offense vs. the Jaguar’s defense, Leonard Fournette running against a Pittsburgh defense which has shown some cracks during the second half of the season.
To get a better glimpse of what things are looking like on the other side of the fence, I was able to ask Ryan Day of BigCatCountry.com, SB Nation’s Jaguars website, some questions to get a feel for what Jacksonville fans are thinking heading into this game.
Check out the full interview below and, for the best coverage on the Jaguars side of things, check out the folks at BigCatCountry.
Blake Bortles seems to be more of a running threat than a passing threat anymore. Are Jaguars fans confident in his ability to win a playoff game on the road in less-than-ideal conditions?
Define confident. I think last week’s playoff game showed us the coaching staff’s true feelings about Blake Bortles. They wanted to lean heavy on the run game (and did) and Blake had to take it into his own hands to get half of his total yards with scrambles that most of which did not look designed at all. Do I have confidence in Blake should the defense let us down on Sunday? No, I don’t. He’s inconsistent and this receiving corps is young. But if you’re asking me if I have confidence in our defense, run game, and coaching staff? I absolutely do -- and it feels good to say that after so many years.
The Jaguars’ defense is legit - no way around it. However, every unit has their weaknesses. What is the way to successfully attack the Jacksonville defense?
I’d say the best way to attack our defense is to either run the ball when Abry Jones is in the game or quick timing passes -- whichever you think your offense would best execute. I wouldn’t call the linebackers a weakness on this team, but they’re the least dominant. I mean, our defensive line is stout (outside of Jones) and our secondary is a top-three unit in the league. If you’re going to attack the Jaguars defense, it has to be very strategic.
Leonard Fournette’s impact on games has decreased as the year has progressed. Do you think this is more defenses scheming to stop the back, is he battling injuries or has he hit the proverbial rookie wall?
I think the offensive line is getting worn down after so many games and Blake is playing more poorly. If Blake were able to establish some kind of rhythm in the passing game, I think you’d start to see our run game open up. It’s all on him, which is understandable, but it’s also pretty frustrating.
If you are an Offensive Coodinator and the Defensive Coordinator, how do you attack the Jaguars on Sunday at Heinz Field?
If I were offensive coordinator, I’d run Le’Veon Bell about 100 times and I would attack every gap you’ve got. Just run, run, and run some more because I don’t think this secondary is going to allow Ben Roethlisberger to have a productive day. As far as a defensive coordinator, stack the box. Force Blake to beat you. Stop the run game. Frustrate this offensive line.
What is your prediction for the upcoming game?
I think the line now is the Jaguars as a 7-point underdog. I think the Jaguars cover. As far as winning, why not? We win 17-16 with the help of a defensive touchdown.