By Jay Skurski
Ryan O'Halloran is in his first season covering the Jacksonville Jaguars for the Florida Times-Union after eight years covering the Washington Redskins.
He joined me this week to discuss Sunday's game between the Bills and Jaguars. The complete audio of the conversation is at the bottom of this post, along with some hightlights.
Question: How much has the change at quarterback helped the offense?
Ryan O’Halloran: "Well it's helped a lot because they've actually looked like an NFL offense. They're still last in yards, but they dug themselves such a big hole. They may get out of that cellar spot eventually. What Henne's done is he's sparked the passing game because he's not afraid to make some throws. One thing the Jags' coaches told Blaine Gabbert publicly before he was hurt is don't be afraid to take some chances down field. Chad Henne doesn't need to be told that. He's got a lot more experience and has made a concerted effort to get everybody involved."
Q: How has Mike Mularkey done in his first year?
RO: "He definitely has the locker room on his side. These guys respect the fact he's pretty even keel, pretty consistent in his message, which is a departure from Jack Del Rio. Mike came in with his staff and there wasn't a lot of roster turnover because General Manager Gene Smith is still on the job in his fourth year. It terms of game management with Mularkey, he's made some passive decisions, a lot of them earlier in the year when he could have given this team a little spark. … I think he has ownership's support and even at 2-9, I'd be surprised if he's not back next year."
Q: Where have been the biggest problems for the Jaguars?
RO: "On defense, they can't stop the run and they can’t get to the quarterback. Those are two big problems. Those have been consistent throughout the year. Just last week in their 11th game they finally got a sack from a player who wasn't a defensive linemen, so that shows you they don't blitz a lot because they've been banged up a lot in the [defensive backfield].
On offense, up until last week they were last in third-down conversions, and they're still last in time of possession. So they don't have the ball a lot. When you throw in [Maurice] Jones-Drew being hurt, that's basically left their running game impotent."
Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran