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Knowing How To Get ‘Bye’

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Running back Maurice Jones-Drew has been taking the lead and the Jags have been a completely different team since the bye. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images.
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew has been taking the lead and the Jags have been a completely different team since the bye. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images.

What the Jaguars did over the course of their bye week in week 9, who knows? Whatever they did worked though, as over the course of their last four games, they have won three. The beauty of statistics is how you can flip them multiple ways to make any team sound good. In this case, it is not too much of a stretch because it’s a pretty visible change between what we once thought of the Jags’.

Just in week eight, the 49ers made what we thought of Jacksonville internationally known. A team with a lack of talent seemed to lack the effort to make up for what they didn't possess in athletic ability. Other than the game against the Denver Broncos, all the other games prior to the bye week showed hardly any fire or pride to stand up for how they represent themselves as professional athletes.

Flashing back to the Chargers game, there were at least three times when left tackle Cameron Bradfield did not even move at the snap and was stuck in his stance. It does not matter what you may lack in your skill set, but that is Pop Warner. You must make some type of move when the quarterback snaps the ball. Instead, Bradfield allowed Thomas Keiser to do his best Jared Allen impression around the edge time and time again.

Another game you can reflect upon before the bye week is when the Colts came into town. There were routine plays where veteran Cecil Shorts III just made your head hurt. One was in the first quarter on the fly route with the ball severely thrown behind him.

Rule of thumb for a wide receiver is if you can not catch it, no one does. Shorts easily could of forced an offensive pass interference call, but he did not and Vontae Davis was able to make a great play on the ball.

Later in the second quarter, Shorts dropped a quick pass. What added insult to injury was that his drop looked like he was handing the ball off to Darius Butler who got credit for the interception, an interception he ran back with ease. Yes, the get pass had little if any accuracy on it, but once again another rule of thumb of football, if your hands on the ball as a receiver on a pass, you should catch it, especially on the professional level.

After the bye week, it has been a completely different story. The offense has put more trust in Maurice Jones-Drew. In each game he has either scored a rushing touchdown, or most recently adding the Cleveland Browns game, has had a passing touchdown. Not sure if it is surprising or not, but it ties him with Blaine Gabbert with one passing touchdown who has started three games this year at quarterback.

Credit is due to Bradfield for Jones-Drew success as he has finally woken up and has been getting off the snap on time since the bye week has passed. But all jokes aside this has turned into a completely different team.

Big plays are being made and the team’s pride has been bleeding on their sleeves. Alan Ball stole a mysterious fumble from the Tennessee Titan’s Ryan Fitzpatrick as he grabbed the ball straight from Fitzpatrick’s hands in the fourth quarter which led to the Jags winning their Week 10 matchup.

Shorts has not been excluded from the late game heroics either, he made a touchdown play on the rising Joe Haden in their week 13 game against the Browns who most would of thought he would have had a quiet game against the up and coming defender.

Going into the Browns game Jones-Drew mentioned how important the Cleveland game was to the team.

“I think it would show all the hard work we have put in throughout the year, some of the trials and tribulations that we’ve been through, and once again validate some of the stuff that we’ve been doing.”

Validate, no word could better paraphrase the positive impact head coach Gus Bradley has had on this team since the bye week.