Every week during the NFL season, one of the staff writers at Steelers Gab sits down to talk about what the opponents are saying, whether it be coaches, players or insiders. This week, I interviewed David Kreag who runs a small indy Jacksonville print mag called Jags Spot-lite.
Christina Rivers: David, thank you for taking the time out to talk about the matchup between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Are you related to Dave Krieg (of the Seattle Seahawks)? (laughing)
David Kreag: (laughing) No, in fact I have no idea who that is, but maybe I should Google him since you mentioned him. My last name is actually pronounced “Cray”, so likely not even close.
Rivers: The Jaguars have been like a turnstile or rotating door during the 2014 NFL season? Why so much change in personnel?
Kreag: To be honest, I have to say it has been due to a lack of responsibility by certain players to play their positions. The coaches didn’t have confidence in them, so they found players they felt fit into the system. The decision to move Blake Bortles into the starting quarterback position is a smart move, I believe. Michael DiRocco of ESPN pointed out the obvious when he said,
The Jaguars are limited by the lack of talented depth on the roster. But the bottom line is this: They have to do their job and be disciplined. If they are responsible for a certain player coverage area, that’s where they should be. It sounds simple, but it has been an issue all season in the secondary.
I agree. Jacksonville has given up 25 passing plays of 20 or more yards in each of their first four games this season. That’s a league lead they can’t afford – and ugly stat I would say. The secondary has been blown out. Bortles is a good switch on offense, but he needs players to step up and that just hasn’t helped there either.
Rivers: In your opinion, what Steelers player should Jacksonville be the most concerned about in the week five game?
Kreag: I am going to have to say there are three: Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. Probably the most concern will be on Brown due to the lack of defensive backfield protection and Brown being fourth in the league right now in receiving yards with 427. That’s an average over 100-yards per game. Jacksonville just can’t win this game if they can’t stop him. I expect Roethlisberger will go to the run if Brown gets covered well, but watch for another 100-yard game, unfortunately, from Brown – especially if he can get a one-on-one mismatch with a linebacker for example.
Rivers: Many NFL insiders are writing the Jaguars off completely for this match while others are saying that if Pittsburgh doesn’t win, fans may as well give up on the season. What is your take, and what do you see that is similar between these two teams in 2014?
Kreag: The Jaguars have allowed more points than any other team in the league. That means they are dead at the bottom – 32 out of 32 teams; 0-4. It’s a terrible place to be. Pittsburgh has been having trouble finishing games, especially when the defense has had to be counted on to make big stops. I don’t think fans need to completely give up on either team, but I can understand the sentiment. It’s hard to watch your team flop, period. These two teams now feel a sense of urgency. Win or accept defeat. Neither team is ready to do that just yet. If Jacksonville moves to 0-5, I think there is going to be calls for front office changes just as loud as the ones we’re hearing about Steelers coaching and front office staff. Both teams have quarterbacks that can extend plays and need cooperation on offense. Both are feeling the pressure of carrying that weight on their shoulders. Both teams’ defenses need to pull together and rally. They may not have the same record, but they are both in a deep rut right now.
Rivers: Who do you think will come out on top this week?
Kreag: I hate to say it, but I think regardless of how much Jacksonville wants, well really needs is more appropriate, to win, that the Steelers will have a more productive offense and bigger plays that will carry them to the win. I don’t think it will be a blowout. I think both teams will try to just get through it the best they can. The NFL has been a strange beast this season with a lot of unexpected results. I have to say Steelers win by at least six points. Your prediction.
Rivers: I have to agree that Pittsburgh comes out on top unless they lose key players and can’t get a running game put together at all. If the Jaguars can push the O-line around, Pittsburgh is in trouble. I think it will be a relatively close match as well. Steelers up by a touchdown.
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