Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars Kick Off The Season
By Matt Giraldi
The Philadelphia Eagles will host the Jacksonville Jaguars at 1:00 pm EST on Sunday. Yes, Sunday afternoon brings the official return of Philadelphia Eagles football ladies and gentlemen. Both Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley are in their second seasons with their respective team. Las Vegas and the gambling community have voiced their opinion on the match by listing the Eagles as a 10.5 point favorite. While Jacksonville still has a long way to go in their rebuilding, I believe they can keep this a low-scoring defensive battle.
Defensive Front Four Looking To Capitalize Off Jaguars Youth
The Jacksonville Jaguars went against popular rhetoric and elected veteran Chad Henne over rookie Blake Bortles as the starting quarterback against the Philadelphia Eagles. And while Henne is not a rookie, the Jaguars will have plenty of inexperience amongst the starting offense. One of whom is starting center Jacques McClendon, who will playing in only his tenth game as a five year professional. Rookie wide receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson are both expected to play, but most of the play-calling should heavily revolve around running back Toby Gerhart.
Luke Joeckel, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ second year tackle and second overall pick in the 2013 draft, has not played a regular season game since last October against the St. Louis Rams. In that game, Joeckel fractured his right ankle. After struggling early in the season, it will be imperative for the Eagles defensive line to test the Texas A&M alum and force pressure on Chad Henne. In 2013, Chad Henne was substandard when given ample time to throw. Expect defensive coordinator Billy Davis to draw up several exotic blitz packages to collapse the pocket and force Henne into some mistakes.
Kickers Are People Too
The Eagles are going into the 2014 season with Cody Parkey, a rookie from Auburn, as the place-kicker. Veteran Alex Henery was released by the organization after three seasons with the team.
During the Eagles fourth preseason game against the New York Jets, Parkey made field goals from 53 and 54 yards out. Alex Henery made only two career field goals from north of 50 yards (2-for-5).
Meanwhile, Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee missed some time in the Jaguars final preseason game with a quadriceps injury. His health could come into factor on kickoffs or long-range field goal attempts.
Gus Bradley Has Jacksonville Jaguars On The Defense
There are two familiar faces that will be making a return to Philadelphia as part of Gus Bradley’s defense. Defensive end Chris Clemons along with linebacker and Penn State alum Paul Posluszny anchor a young and upcoming defense. The front seven of the Jaguars also features veterans Red Bryant and Geno Hayes. The Eagles offensive line must protect Nick Foles and give ample time for plays to develop downfield. This match-up will be a good litmus test for Allen Barbre at right tackle.
Last season, the Jacksonville Jaguars were pesky in run defense causing ten fumbles (3rd most in the NFL). That’s the good news for the Jaguars. The good news for the Eagles is that the Jaguars allowed seven different opposing offenses to gain over 150 yards on the ground last season. LeSean McCoy has rarely had ball security issues and should figure to have repeated success against Jacksonville.