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Jaguars trying to rediscover dynamic rushing attack as Steelers lay in wait

Jaguars trying to rediscover dynamic rushing attack as Steelers lay in wait

 including a wild-card victory against Buffalo. Jacksonville found few holes against the Bills until quarterback Blake Bortles started scrambling in the second half. Still,The Jaguars failed run the ball with much consistency during the second half of the season, the lack of a reliable ground attack is a major concern for the third-seeded Jaguars (11-6) heading into Sunday’s playoff game at No. 2 seed Pittsburgh (13-3).

“It starts with us up front,” rookie left tackle Cam Robinson said.

 saying “if they’re not doing their job up front,Coach Doug Marrone agreed, it’s going to be very difficult.”

“We have to figure it out and get it done in a quick fashion,” Marrone added.

 if anything,Little, changed down the stretch while Jacksonville continued to struggle.

 ranking 30th in the NFL. They ran for 155 yards in a 10-3 victory against the Bills,The Jaguars averaged 3.58 yards a carry over the final seven weeks of the regular season, but more than half of those came from Bortles. His 88 yards rushing were the most by a Jaguars player in nearly a month.

 respectively,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-ivan-provorov-jersey]adidas Ivan Provorov jersey[/url],Rookie Leonard Fournette hasn’t looked the same since spraining his right ankle against the Los Angeles Rams in mid-October. He ran for 181 and 130 yards in consecutive weeks against the Steelers and the Rams, and broke off long touchdown runs in both games.

He’s topped the century mark twice — both barely — since.

Bortles has picked up the slack at times, but he’s not a guy the Jaguars rely on week in and week out to carry the offense.

They are built to run the ball and play stout defense.

 whether it’s a during-the-week practice thing or execution thing on Sundays. … It’s a big part of our offense and who we are and who we want to be,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-ivan-provorov-jersey]adidas Ivan Provorov jersey[/url],“It’s who we are, so we have to figure it out,” Bortles said. “We want to be able to run the football and do it different ways,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-travis-konecny-jersey]Authentic Travis Konecny jersey[/url], so it’s important that we figure it out.”

There doesn’t seem to be an easy fix since the problem appears to stem from several factors:

 31 percent of them (82) came against eight- and nine-man boxes,–Fournette is facing more stacked lines of scrimmage than any running back in the league. Of his 268 carries in 2017, according to ESPN Stats & Info. That’s nine more than second-place

–Fournette is missing holes and assignments. He’s running with authority,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-wayne-simmonds-jersey]Authentic Wayne Simmonds jersey[/url], but not waiting for holes or looking for cutback lanes.

 and Allen Hurns (ankle) and Marqise Lee (ankle) have been slowed lately. Although newcomers Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook have been better than expected,–Opponents are loading up against the run because they have little respect for Bortles and a banged-up receiving corps that features two rookies. Allen Robinson (knee) was lost for the season on Jacksonville’s third offensive play, they looked like rookies in recent weeks.

–Jacksonville’s offensive line has been average at best, one of the league’s highest-paid centers,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-claude-giroux-jersey]adidas Claude Giroux jersey[/url], and every starter has missed games with injuries. Brandon Linder, has been solid. But guards A.J. Cann and Patrick Omameh have struggled at times in a rushing attack that averaged 1.9 yards before contract (also 30th in the league) over the final seven weeks of the regular season.

“Right now,” Marrone said. “Your performance on Sunday, we have to do a better job, that’s going to be who you are for that week until you change it or you sustain what you’re doing well.”

Moats is absolutely right when he says it was one of the weirdest games the Steelers have played. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for five interceptions, Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles threw for 95 yards and the Jaguars defense blew Pittsburgh out of their house.

This week against the Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville used their dominant defense to overcome a miserable offensive effort and squeak out a 10-3 win. The Steelers are a better team now than the team that lost to Jacksonville back in week five. And the Jaguars look like the same team. There is definitely some revenge in order.

Schuster-Smith is being honored for his work as kick returner against the Cleveland Browns in Week 17. He racked up 122 yards on two attempts, with most of those yards coming on a key third quarter return. Following an early third quarter Browns touchdown, Smith-Schuster fielded the subsequent kickoff at the Steelers’ 4 and quickly broke up the sideline for a 96-yard return to give Pittsburgh a 28-21 lead.

His first kickoff return on the opening series of the game got the Steelers going as they scored a touchdown following his 26-yard return. Prior to last week’s game, Smith-Schuster had accumulated 118 yards on seven returns (16.8 yards per return).

In his weekly Tuesday news conference on Jan. 2, head coach Mike Tomlin said that offensive line coach Mike Munchak has been granted permission to interview for the Arizona Cardinals’ vacant head coaching position. The Cards are in the market for a head coach following Bruce Arians’ retirement.

Munchak has been in his current position with the Steelers since 2014. Pittsburgh’s offensive line ranked seventh in run blocking and first in pass blocking this past year and tied for permitting the third fewest sacks in the league. The O-line had 19 penalties assessed against them this year, with 2017 Pro Bowl selection David DeCastro leading the way with six penalties.

Munchak has previous head coaching experience. He was the top man with the Tennesee Ttians for three years (2011-13), posting a 22-26 record. The Titans’ best season under Munchak was when they went 9-7 in his inaugural campaign.

Munchak is not the only member of the Steelers coaching staff that may get interviewed for another position.

“We have and we will,” said Tomlin said when asked if the team would allow other assistants to be interviewed as well. “There are a lot of things that get done this time of year, particularly for teams in our position, and that’s one of them. That’s the fruit of the labor if you will. We’re not going to be resistant to that. We’re going to be supportive of that and do what’s appropriate.”

Former guard Alan Faneca was named one of the 15 Finalists for the Pro Football Hall Of Fame 2018 Class. This is the third straight year Faneca has been a finalist.

“You have to take it in stride and enjoy the process,” Faneca told Steelers.com about the selection process being better after going through it before. “There is nothing you can do except keep moving along with what you are doing every day.”

Faneca, selected by the Steelers in the first round of 1998, spent 10 of his 13-year NFL career with the Black and Gold. He was a six-time All-Pro selection and was named to the Steelers’ All-Time Team in 2007 and the NFL 2000’s All-Decade Team.

Joining Faneca as finalists are Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, Ty Law and Everson Walls., Randy Moss, Steve Hutchinson, Kevin Mawae, tackles Joe Jacoby, Isaac Bruce, Edgerrin James,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-ivan-provorov-jersey]Authentic Ivan Provorov jersey[/url], Rony Boselli,Terrell Owens, John Lynch and Brian Dawkins

Steelers great Hines Ward (1998-2011) once again failed to reach the finals stage of the process. Ward was a Hall of Fame semifinalist in 2017. There are 24 Steelers currently in the Hall of Fame,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-ivan-provorov-jersey]Authentic Ivan Provorov jersey[/url], with Jerome Bettis (2015) and Kevin Greene (2016) being the latest.

When the Pittsburgh Steelers selected long snapper Colin Holba in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, fans and pundits alike were not overly impressed. Expected to win the job vacated by veteran Greg Warren, it was something of a surprise to see him released in the final round of cuts in favor of Kameron Canaday.

Steelers fans wondering how Holba might have worked out in Pittsburgh will get a chance to see for themselves on Sunday when he returns to Heinz Field as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Signed by the Jaguars in November after an injury to starting long snapper Matt Overton,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-travis-konecny-jersey]adidas Travis Konecny jersey[/url], Holba has started the last eight games for Jacksonville.

When justifying the surprise selection of Holba on draft weekend,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-claude-giroux-jersey]Authentic Claude Giroux jersey[/url], Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert seemed confident in the talents of the young specialist

While not the most inspiring description of a player your team has just selected, Pittsburgh was clearly impressed enough by the size and potential of Holba to use a draft pick on the long snapper. In hindsight, [url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-wayne-simmonds-jersey]adidas Wayne Simmonds jersey[/url],it was a wasted pick because Holba became the only 2017 draft pick to fail to stick with the Steelers this year.

Although the contributions of Canaday have not really been noticed during his debut season,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-shayne-gostisbehere-jersey]adidas Shayne Gostisbehere jersey[/url], that is the way it should be for a long snapper. Players at his position generally only get noticed when they make a mistake, and Canaday’s snaps have been on target all year. It remains to be seen if the coaching staff noticed any weaknesses in Holba’s game to be able to exploit them on Sunday.

The Jaguars are as obviously themselves as any NFL team still playing football this week, Tomlin said. And while Pittsburgh's 30-9 Week 5 loss to Jacksonville at Heinz Field does inform his team's scouting job ahead of their divisional round rematch on Sunday,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-shayne-gostisbehere-jersey]Authentic Shayne Gostisbehere jersey[/url], it's hardly a focus.

"I'm sure that they're as different as we are since the last time we've seen them," Tomlin said.

Jacksonville remains a possession-dependent team -- one that runs the ball a lot, controls the clock through turnovers, and throws the ball over defenses that get sucked up toward the line of scrimmage, too, Tomlin said.

But roles change. Tomlin spoke at length on Tuesday about the Jaguars' running backs beyond Leonard Fournette, including Corey Grant, who's only carried the ball 30 times, but averages 8.3 yards per carry and has two touchdowns.

Tomlin won't look at Week 5 film much, he said, despite the small-scale changes.

He will watch individual matchups, but the entire offensive line needs to be ready to block all of the Jaguars' defensive tackles. Regardless of Sunday's games connection to October, Tomlin said, they moved around then and will do the same again.

"There's a lot of trending involved," Tomlin said. "We've evolved a lot since then. They've evolved a lot since then."