Jack Del Rio has made it clear that the his expectations of the Jaguars in 2010 is to make the playoffs. How are they going to take the major step of being the team that defined "Yeah, but" in 2009 to a contender in 2010? We'll look at several things over the coming weeks.
First up was the Jaguars perpetual nemesis in 2009, redzone turnovers. Last year the Jaguars led the NFL in red zone turnovers as a team, while David Garrard lead all players in the NFL. The Jaguars inability to capitalize in the redzone most likely cost this team a trip to the playoffs in 2010. Let's take a look at several key moments in 2009 and see how red zone problems hurt the Jaguars.
Week 2 vs Arizona: Blocked FG returned for TD
Although not technically a red zone turnover, it still resulted in no points for the Jaguars. Worse yet, it actually gave 7 points to Arizona. If it goes through, it's 10-6 Arizona and it's still a ball game. Instead, it was 17-3 Arizona and the fat lady could've come out right then and there.
Week 5 vs Seattle: Failed 4th down attempt
Again, not technically a red zone turnover, but still no points were involved. I actually agree with JDR's decision to go for it there. If the Jaguars had converted, it would've given them a quick 7-0 lead on the road in one of the most hostile stadiums in the NFL. Instead, Seattle held, managed to go 99 yards for the score, and the Jaguars were never competitive in that game again.
Week 6 vs St.Louis: MJD Fumble and Garrard Interception
The Jaguars gave two nearly fatal gifts to the Rams in Week 6. First MJD fumbled on the one, then later on Garrard threw it to a wide open James Laurinitis for an interception. Although the Jaguars prevailed in overtime, these were two more crippling turnovers.
Week 10 vs NY Jets: MJD fumbled at the one
The Jaguars were seemingly on there way to routing the Jets when Quentin Groves picked up a fumble and was seemingly destined for a touchdown. Instead, he tripped over his own shoes and the Jaguars got the ball at the one. Jones-Drew then dove in on the next play, only for the ball to come out of his hands. The play changed the outcome of the game, and had it not been for him taking a knee instead of going in for a TD later in the game, the Jaguars playoff chances could've been dead right there.
Week 12 vs San Francisco: Garrard's fumbles
In a tight defensive battle with the 49ers, the Jaguars made several second half drives into the 49ers red zone. However, after seemingly each possession, it always ended the same way. The 49ers would be all over David, the ball would come loose, and Jags fans all over just wanted it to end.
There were far more examples than those, but I just wanted to try and hit the high points. If this team wants to become a playoff team, it will need to put points on the board when it didn't before. How will it remedy the situation?
1. Better offensive line play
The upgrades in the offensive line should be the most apparent here. Between the growth 2nd year tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton should have, along with the various acquistions for the interior of the offensive line, it should be a much improved unit in 2010. This should hopefully cut down on MJD getting stuffed so often towards the line, along with hopefully decreasing the amount of hits Garrard took.
Honestly, that's the only key thing that I think will be noticeably improved as far as the Jaguars red zone possession goes. Everything else is dependent on things players should have been learning since Pop Warner, like ball security and scanning the field. If the line improves, everything else should improve with it.