This Sunday, the Cleveland Browns will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars started off the season at 0-8, but currently stand at 2-9 after winning two of their past three games.
To help preview this week's game, I reached out to Adam Stites from Big Cat Country and exchanged five questions with him. Enjoy!
Chris: "I've poked fun at Blaine Gabbert the past few years, calling him the worst quarterback in the NFL. In typical Browns fashion, though, our own quarterback, Brandon Weeden, has done a pretty good imitation of Gabbert in the sense that both have played terribly.
Are there any Jaguars fans who still feel like Gabbert can grow, or does everyone just want him out of the picture already? Do you think it's a guarantee that Jacksonville will take a quarterback with their first-round pick?"
Adam: "It's essentially unanimous that Gabbert is not going to be the guy for the Jaguars, and the team has reflected that by benching him behind the terrible Chad Henne.
As for the draft, quarterback would certainly be the position to look at, but rumbles are that the Jaguars only like Teddy Bridgewater as a top prospect. If they are the owners of the #1 pick, he's certainly the favorite, but if they keep earning victories, don't be surprised if they address the quarterback position in the second day, whether I agree with that strategy or not."
Chris: "Maurice Jones-Drew is in the final year of his contract, and his production has declined over the past two years. Do Jacksonville fans want to retain the veteran running back as their starter, or do they want to move on from him too?"
Adam: "There's definitely a split among Jaguars fans when it comes to Jones-Drew. The 2012 holdout soured many on Jones-Drew, but many still love him as the face of the franchise.
I wouldn't be surprised if the Jaguars brought him back for a little bit longer on a small contract, but it's clear that the team needs a long-term solution at running back because Jones-Drew's best days are certainly behind him."
Chris: "How have the Jaguars been utilizing Denard Robinson? Have fans wanted to see him get more reps?"
Adam: "The "offensive weapon" designation that drew everyone's attention really did Robinson the disservice of launching expectations through the roof. Really he's a running back that has a lot of growing to do at the position and hasn't been used for hardly anything else.
While he threw a pass in Week 12, Robinson hasn't been used as a receiver at all and will likely only receive two or three snaps against the Browns on Sunday. He's also dealt with fumbling issues so far."
Chris: "Statistically, the Jaguars seem to rank pretty low in almost all of the important categories. Who would you say is the team's best defensive player, and who is their worst defensive player (in the starting lineup)?"
Adam: "The top defensive player, in my opinion, would be defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks. A consistent penetrator, Marks has been the best pass rusher on the team despite coming from the interior and has been key for the team's resurgence against the run as of late.
There's no egregious hole on the defense that has been exploited, and while statistics would indicate that the rookie safeties have been the worst on the defense, I would select Jason Babin as the worst on the unit. The veteran has never been very good against the run, but his inability to rush the passer makes him a pretty useless player that is also good for more pointless personal fouls than anyone on the team."
Chris: "Tell us about a player on the Jaguars who Browns fans might not have heard of, but who has been playing well."
Adam: "The defense has been leading the way for the team in their recent successes and the best unit on the team might be the young secondary. While rookie Dwayne Gratz has played well on one side, veteran Alan Ball might be playing some of the best football on the team.
A square peg that has been forced into round holes his entire career, Ball fits perfectly in Gus Bradley's defense as a press cornerback and has had a ton of success since the bye week."
Thanks again to Adam for taking the time to answer my questions.