The Jaguars threw the ball 42 times against the Saints and ran just 17 times. Add in three sacks and two scrambles and that's 47 pass plays called compared to 15 runs. After an ultra-conservative game plan in Carolina that drew criticism, the Jaguars opened their offense up in a way that was entirely different than the Jaguars of late.
But most would say that the Jaguars chose to pass the ball as a reaction to a Saints defense that didn't respect their ability to do so. Instead New Orleans elected to run a lot of cover one and cover zero defenses with man coverages. The Jaguars were able to take advantage at times, but eventually their drives began to stall and they were again left with just 10 points.
To score points in the future, the Jaguars and more specifically, Blaine Gabbert, will have to be able to beat these types of coverages. As long as they are unable to do so, teams will certainly continue to show them. So how does an offense attack these types of defensive schemes?
Teams love to blitz rookie quarterbacks. Rookies are generally jumpy and struggle to digest the game quick enough to know where to go with the ball right away. Blitzes accelerate the thinking process and force the rookie to make a decision very quickly with the knowledge that they will probably be hit hard.
According to Pro Football Focus, the Saints blitzed on 21 of the 47 pass plays called by the Jaguars. One of these blitzes came late in the 4th quarter on a 4th & 11 for the Jaguars:
The Saints show blitz right away with three defensive lineman and four linebackers standing up, all showing blitz. However in the secondary, they appear as though they have three cornerbacks, each lined up across from a receiver. They also have one safety in the center of the field.
They appear to be showing a cover one look which means they have man coverage against each of the receivers with one safety prepared to help any of the deep routes. However, at the snap the safety runs inside leaving no help in the back end of the secondary and each cornerback on an island with their receiver.
The Jaguars offensive line does a good job picking up the blitz and Gabbert steps up well into the pocket and delivers a pass that is beyond the first down marker. The issue for the Jaguars is that none of the three receivers are able to separate from the cornerbacks isolated against them.
This play is a perfect example of the Jaguars receivers struggling to beat basic man coverage. Until they are able to do so, Gabbert will continue to see cover zero and cover one defenses with plenty of blitzers heading at him.