Bills vs. Jaguars 2013: five questions with the enemy

Sam Greenwood

To prepare for the Buffalo Bills' Week 15 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars, we spoke with Alfie Crow at SB Nation's Jaguars site, Big Cat Country. Read on for his take on key Jaguars players and themes.

Blaine Gabbert is healthy, right? And if so, it's now apparent that he's completely done in Jacksonville (if not also everywhere else), correct? And, if all that's true, then some Jags fans are probably not to keen on this winning streak given the team's need for a quarterback, no?

Crow: Yes, Blaine Gabbert is fully healthy, but the team has moved on and are sticking it out with Chad Henne. They entered this season wanting to be sure Gabbert wasn't the guy, and they found that out. Henne hasn't been markedly better, but he allows them to be functional on the offensive side of the ball. I do think Gabbert is picked up somewhere along the line if/when the Jaguars release him. There is talent there, it's just a matter of if the lightbulb can come on or not.

As far as winning and draft stock, it was a touchy subject for a little bit after the team picked up their first two wins. I'm selfish, so personally if I'm not making the playoffs I want the highest pick possible, but the Jaguars have been so bad the past few seasons it's good for fans to get some wins under their belt. I think most fans have gotten over not having the No. 1 pick and are just going to let it play out, because who doesn't like winning streaks?

The Bills have a tendency to let little-known running backs put up gaudy stats on them. Maurice Jones-Drew may not play on Sunday. What can you tell Bills fans about Jordan Todman?

Crow: Jordan Todman has been a nice find for the Jaguars, starting out mainly as a kick returner but getting a ton of work in the preseason because of Jones-Drew's injury and an injury to Justin Forsett. He's been a nice compliment to Jones-Drew, because he's more of a speed guy than MJD is now. He also does a really nice job catching the ball out of the backfield. In the Jaguars zone-blocking scheme, his ability to cut and accelerate can be a big threat if teams aren't disciplined and wrap up.

Buffalo leads the NFL with 44 sacks, and the Jags have given up 40 themselves this season. With Luke Joeckel out of the lineup, the Jags start Cameron Bradfield and Austin Pasztor at tackle - and quite honestly, I'd never heard of either. Is it safe to assume that the tackle positions are the weak point of the Jags' offensive line?

Crow: Shockingly enough, I think the Jaguars offensive tackle position is the strongest part of their offensive line. That sounds insane knowing they traded away Eugene Monroe and lost Luke Joeckel, but Bradfield and Pasztor have played surprisingly well and the weak point for the Jaguars has been on the interior of the offensive line, namely from third-year guard Will Rackley, who per Pro Football Focus is the third worst starting guard in the NFL. He's lined up next to Brad Meester who nearly retired this past offseason and Uche Nwaneri who's played dinged up all season. Teams have had the most success rushing the passer exploiting the inside, which I expect the Bills will do as well with Marcell Dareus and Kiko Alonso.

It's been three years now since Paul Posluszny left Buffalo for Jacksonville as a free agent. How has he taken to the defense installed by Gus Bradley and Bob Babich?

Crow: Paul Posluszny is a bit of an enigma for Jaguars fans. I like him and think he's a rock on the defense, but I also think the Jaguars ridiculously overpaid for him. A lot of fans think he's the best player on the team because he gets a ton of tackles. He's a nice try-hard tackle inside linebacker who struggles covering tight ends and backs down the field, but in Bradley's defensive system he's had a bit of a resurgence. It frees him up to attack running lanes and simply play a zone in the middle of the field. The defense creates false "pockets" that attract running backs and allow him to fill and make the stop. He's still really overpaid, but he's not a bad player. That's really the huge knock on him. He's a near $10 million cap hit next season, but as I mentioned he's a reliable guy in the middle of the field so I expect him to stick around.

The book on EJ Manuel at the moment is this: blitz him and force him to move out of the pocket, then clean up. Jacksonville ranks dead last in the NFL with just 23 sacks, but how effective can they be when they send extra men, particularly against a quarterback that's not playing well at the moment?

Crow: The Jaguars pass rush is a weird thing to watch. There are some games where they seem to really effect the quarterback, but they don't pick up many sacks, they just move them off their spot. When the Jaguars bring just their standard four rushers, they don't get a lot done. They've resorted to doing a lot of stunts on the defensive line and a "lightning" package, which is lining up 3 LEO-ends (a LEO is kind of a hybrid between a 3-4 rush linebacker and a 4-3 RDE) and a pass rushing defensive tackle. Overall they don't seem to blitz a ton, but when they do it's usually Posluszny on a delayed blitz up the middle off a stunt or bringing rookie safety Jonathan Cyprien off the edge.

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