Chargers vs. Jaguars: 5 questions for the opponent
By Travis Wakeman
The Los Angeles Chargers will face the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 14. It will be a battle of 4-8 teams that had much higher expectations this season than the actual results have produced.
Up until last season, the Chargers and Jags had met in five consecutive seasons. Still, it’s a team that the Chargers have only played 10 times in their history.
The Chargers and Jaguars are out of the playoff race and just looking to finish this season on a strong note before changes and upheaval come during the offseason, likely for both organizations.
The Jaguars will have Gardner Minshew back at quarterback this week. The sixth-round pick replaced Nick Foles last week in a loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has led the team to all four of its wins this season and at this point, probably gives the Jags the best chance to win.
There haven’t been too many more positives with the Jaguars this season outside of the sudden rise of wide receiver D.J. Chark. Still, the team could easily be better than 4-8 this season and it will get the Chargers in their house.
So, to get a little more insight into the Jaguars and some more thoughts on this game, I spoke with David Levin, Site Expert over at Black and Teal.
Bolt Beat: The Jaguars have decided to bench Nick Foles in favor of Gardner Minshew. Was this the right move?
Black and Teal: “Yes, it was the right move for many reasons. The biggest one is the Jaguars need a more mobile quarterback in the pocket. While Nick Foles has a stronger arm, he is a statue back there with a more-than-not suspect offensive line. He also looks like he is afraid to take a hit since breaking his clavicle and coming back three weeks ago.
Minshew also gives the team a bit more fire and enthusiasm when he steps in the huddle. The Jaguars aren’t going to the playoffs but still must be able to move the football”.
Bolt Beat: If you were the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator, what would be your plan of attack against the Chargers in this game?
Black and Teal: “Pick your poison with this one. While Philip Rivers has shown signs of age, he still has thrown for 3,434 yards and can strike with the football at any time. The Jaguars have not had success defending him in the past. Maybe this time will be different. And if that works, then you still have to stop the run, which Jacksonville looked like it did a better job last week.
The Chargers running game is better than the one Jacksonville faced against Tampa Bay. Jacksonville cannot let Melvin Gordon take the game over early or they have no chance of keeping the Los Angeles offense off the field”.
Bolt Beat: Tell us about one player on the Jacksonville roster who may fly a bit under the radar but is a guy fans should be aware of in this game.
Black and Teal: I’m going to go with Keelan Cole. The wide receiver is fourth on the depth chart, but when he is in the game, he has produced. The Jaguars need to be able to move the ball effectively this week and score in the red zone. Minshew will look to DJ Chark, Chris Conley and Dede Westbrook downfield. I think Cole could be one of those players who is forgotten and has a big game this week. If you look for a player on defense, watch Calais Campbell inside to help the run. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves for moving to tackle help this team’s pass rush”.
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Bolt Beat: Which player on the Chargers’ roster worries you the most in this game?
Black and Teal: “Rivers. The veteran abuses Jacksonville on a yearly basis for some reason. I know there has been plenty of speculation about his age and his play this year. But if a veteran quarterback has one team he fares well against continuously, then it’s like fishing in a barrel. I am curious if the Jaguars change some of their defensive scheme from single-high safety to more man coverage to help limit completions to the Chargers wide receivers this week. Also, if Myles Jack is still hobbled and cannot play, watch Donald Payne at middle linebacker, who played well last week in the first start of his career”.
Bolt Beat: Give us a prediction. Can the Jaguars knock off the Chargers in this one?
Black and Teal: “I can hope, right? The Jaguars are 4-8 and will be home for the holidays. The fan base got what it wanted last week with the return of Minshew, who energized the offense. It’s a double-edged sword of sorts here in Jacksonville. Everyone is fighting for a job on the coaching staff. The front office is also on alert and yes, players know they are on notice as well. This is the craziest situation I have seen in a number of years. With that said, we here in Jacksonville hope the return of Minshew means something this week. Jaguars 27, Chargers 23”.