Week One Review: Jaguars at Texans

Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

They came, they saw, they got conquered. So rarely do teams get the opportunity to start a new era with as much optimism as the Jacksonville Jaguars were given. So rarely do teams coming off of fifteen straight losses have a chance to open the season against a team with as much turmoil and uncertainty as the Texans. Simply put, most expected the Urban Meyer/Trevor Lawrence tandem to start their respective NFL careers with a win. But, that’s why they play the games, right?

What Went Wrong?

In short, pretty much everything at one point or another. Procedural penalties, dropped passes, miscommunication and a forced abandonment of the run game put the offense and Trevor Lawrence in an impossible situation. Defensively, this team misses Tre Herndon.

Tyson Campbell may yet end up a fantastic player, but right now he’s not. Andrew Wingard playing vital snaps over rookie Andre Cisco was a predictable gaffe for the coaching staff. The pass rush actually had an impressive day generating pressure and harassing All-Pro journeyman starter Tyrod Taylor, but the veteran was able to escape and extend play after play.

The list could go on and on discussing what went wrong. Let’s look at some critical plays early in the game.

Damien Wilson and Tyson Campbell look uncomfortable and out of place here with a zone responsibility. Campbell must improve in this area, and several others, if he is to be the contributor he was drafted to be.

Communication simply has to better on the back end. Giving up easy completions like this to the Texans isn’t something this team can afford to do. Urban Meyer has already spoke of how narrow the margin of error is the NFL, and the Jaguars have less than most any.

This is the risk you run in a man heavy scheme against a mobile quarterback. Pressure is great, but if the pass rush doesn’t get home and the play is extended it really stresses a secondary playing man coverage. Griffin and Henderson are a fine starting duo, but they won’t hold up forever.

Will The Real DJ Chark Please Stand Up?

Dj Chark gets his own section in this week one review as a result of his play in the Jaguars match up against the Texans, and it’s for all the wrong reasons. Chark is absolutely vital to the success of the offense. His speed, big play ability and (usually) reliable hands are unmatched by anyone else on the roster.

Holding penalties that stall drives, dropped passes on third downs and getting handled by the likes of Vernon Hargreaves III cannot happen to Chark. In a year where strong play could earn him a lucrative extension in an offense that will challenges defenses vertically with balls thrown by Trevor Lawrence, he just has to better than he was Sunday.

This isn’t to say he didn’t make plays against the Texans or that I expect his target share to dry up. He caught a beautiful touchdown. He ran a good dig on third and long to extend a drive. His route running is crisp, and he has all the ability to be The Guy for Trevor Lawrence moving forward.

Sunday’s game was a rough start for DJ Chark. He resembled the guy who struggled mightily last year more than the 2019 version who posted a 1000 yard season. Tyron Johnson is going to be given the chance to be the recipient of some dep shots. Moving forward, Chark must play like the talent the team believes he is.

Is There Reason For Hope?

Absolutely. Trevor Lawrence is going to be the best quarterback in franchise history. Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell flashed some creativity with play calling, especially on first down. James Robinson is still a stud at running back, and one would believe holding penalties won’t completely dismantle the running game every week.

The run defense gave up less than four yards per carry to the Texans running backs. CJ Henderson and Shaq Griffin played well, excellent at times. Tyrod Taylor was pressured on a consistent basis and plenty of quarterbacks on the Jaguars schedule won’t be able to escape as often. Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson looked like a viable pass rush tandem for maybe the first time together, though the latter still has a long way to go.

Laviska Shenault is going to get his touches in this offense. Tunnel screens were called frequently on first down, and the play above was a great play call.

Using Trevor Lawrence’s mobility and comfort on these concepts is something the team must do more frequently. Lawrence said as much post game. Here, Lawrence reads the Cover 3 concept and puts the ball exactly where it needed to be.

DaVon Hamilton is going to be really, really good in this defense y’all.

Overall

If you won’t believe me, believe someone smarter than me. Lawrence made a litany of rookie mistakes Sunday. Three turnovers is a bad day at the office for anyone. Despite the struggles, he showed exactly why he’s been considered the best quarterback prospect in perhaps a decade.

He’s only going to get better with experience. He has the ability to elevate this Jacksonville Jaguars team beyond it’s perceived ceiling. Sunday was tough. Guess what? There are going to be weeks that worse. But there’s also going to be weeks that are so much better. Yes, there’s still plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future of the Jaguars.

Let me know what you think, Duval. I’m here for y’all. I want to be where you come for all things Jacksonville Jaguars. So, if there’s a specific player or part of the game you want a film breakdown of, just let me know!

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