I’m not aware of anyone who picked the Jaguars to win Sunday. A rookie quarterback facing a Vic Fangio defense isn’t exactly ideal. There’s an endless list of things I’d love to point out in this article, but I’m going to condense it quite a bit.
Offensively, Sunday was disappointing. There were major mistakes that just shouldn’t have happened. Defensively, there’s plenty to be optimistic about. This unit isn’t exactly Sacksonville circa 2017, but compared to last year’s edition there is major improvement. Logan Cooke is still good, Josh Lambo is still broken, and Jamal Agnew showed why he is considered among the league’s best as a returner.
The film tells the story. Buckle up, Jaguars fans.
Sunday wasn’t a great day for many offensive players. Trevor Lawrence looked like a rookie trying too hard and struggling to see the field. Laviska Shenault had a day to forget, perhaps the worst outing of his professional career. For all the talk about the team cutting talent at wide receiver, they gained virtually no separation against the Broncos secondary.
That’s not to say there aren’t positives worth pointing out. Even on a bad day, Lawrence made a handful of plays that demonstrate precisely why he’s been lauded by so many for so long as a potentially generational talent. Marvin Jones is proving to be one of the best free agent signings this team has had in recent memory.
The offensive line is a point of major disagreement between the team and the fanbase. On Sunday, at least, the powers that be looked right. Jawaan Taylor had arguably the best game of his career considering he was assigned future Hall of Famer Von Miller most of the afternoon. Not that they are getting the chance to show it often, but the unit is still solid when run blocking too.
Here come’s the film, for all you football nerds.
Sunday was just a brutal day for a player the team relies on so heavily in Shenault. He’s going to bounce back. The team just isn’t good enough to overcome a bad day by a prominent player.
Remember when people tried to act like not giving a rookie quarterback a true threat at the tight end position, or even a reliable safety blanket, was no big deal? Fun times.
Shenault was far from the only skill position player to struggle. Here, Johnson just get bullied by a rookie defensive back who makes a great play resulting in a turnover.
This was Trevor Lawrence’s second worst play of the day in my eyes. He’s as aggressive as they come and unafraid of any throw. This is a good thing. Passing up easy chunk plays for a low probability deep shot is not. Taking what the defense gives him is the biggest area he needs to improve, and quickly.
Whatever caused this hesitation needs to be figured out. It’s very on brand for the Jaguars to turn an easy completion for a big gain into a turnover. There will be plenty of days to show the highlights for the offense. This isn’t one. Too many fundamental issues across the board to justify the silver linings. It was a bad day.
Shout out to the offensive line though. They played very well, all things considered.
Joe Cullen was a home run hire as defensive coordinator. The improvement against the run is real, and impressive. The unit is near the top of the league in pressure percentage. The secondary is, and will remain, a work in progress.
DaVon Hamilton is a rising star at nose. Josh Allen is playing like the 2019 version of himself. K’Lavon Chaisson is showing legitimate signs of growth. Chaisson still has every chance to become a very good starter in this league.
Myles Jack isn’t playing as consistent as one would expect, but should be fine as his comfort level grows in the new scheme. The overall success of the defense hinges on the development of guys like Cj Henderson, Tyson Campbell and Andre Cisco. Until they are consistently good, the secondary won’t be.
Hamilton is good, y’all. Very good.
Right now, communication is a much bigger area of concern for the Jacksonville defense than talent. The development of the trio I mentioned above, and the return of Tre Herndon, should help tremendously.
Mobile quarterbacks are poison to a blitz heavy, man coverage centric defense like the one employed by Cullen. The Jaguars have opened the season against two quarterbacks very capable of escaping pressure and extending plays. *Checks Week Three schedule* More about that in another article….
What Have We Learned?
Some fans drank the Kool Aid and wore the teal shaded glasses and believed the addition of Trevor Lawrence alone could elevate this team from 1-15 to the playoffs. Others think the sky is falling, Urban Meyer is a few more losses away from a medical episode and a change in location from Florida to California. Neither is true.
The reality is this team isn’t very good. They are young, in their first year in new schemes offensively and defensively, and need more talent on both sides of the ball to join the ranks of contenders. Focusing so heavily on role players and special teams in free agency was a half measure for a team loaded with salary cap and a stark lack of game changing talent.
Try to enjoy the rest of the season. Adjust your expectations. Trevor Lawrence is going to be incredible. The team will improve as the season progresses. The Denver Broncos are a better football team than the Jacksonville Jaguars, yet the game could have easily gone Jacksonville’s way.
If you are interested, check out my Twitter feed for a more thorough review of the game. It might be surprising how many game changing plays that could have drastically altered the game were left out on the field. Check back in later today or early tomorrow for the preview of Sunday’s contest with the Arizona Cardinals!
It’s a long season folks. The Jaguars are 0-2. Breathe. 15 more weeks of Jaguars football awaits.