JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Luke McCown #12 of the Jacksonville Jaguars attempts a pass during the season opener game against the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field on September 11, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
With a short week of preparation for new starting quarterback Luke McCown, the Jacksonville Jaguars came out with a simple offensive game plan: Run the football down the Tennessee Titans throat. On the team's opening drive, the Jaguars passed the football just twice on an 11-play touchdown drive. Runningback Maurice Jones-Drew, who missed the vast majority of training camp and the preseason, carried the ball six times and capped off the drive with a 21-yard touchdown run.
The rest of the game on the offensive side of the ball worked out just the same, except for the whole touchdown part. The Jaguars offense dominated the time of possession, having the ball for nearly 40 minutes of play, doubling that of the Tennessee Titans. The team ran the ball 47 times, with back up running back Deji Karim getting 14 carries for just 33 yards. While Karim's overall yardage and yards per carry don't look that great, he ran the ball hard and broke plenty of tackles.
The game plan was simple: Beat the Titans injury-riddled defensive line at the point of attack and grind out the game. It worked, and there was no real reason to go away from the run because the Titans got whipped at the line of scrimmage. There are some major flaws in that type of game plan, however. You can't mess up. At all.
Quarterback Luke McCown passed the ball just 24 times, which is significantly more than I thought he did watching the game. The vast majority of those passes were quick short passes to the wide receivers and wide receiver screens. McCown threw the ball down the field only a handful of times and completed most of them, which is why not taking more shots down the field didn't make much sense. Outside of a pass that could have been intercepted and probably would have been a touchdown with better ball placement, McCown did just fine for the limited role he was asked to take.
With the 16-14 score however, you can see that playing offense that conservatively can put you in uncomfortable spots where it's possible to lose the football game. Flat out, the Jaguars dominated the football game on both sides of the ball, but if you just looked at the score you couldn't tell. Realistically, the Jaguars should have won the game by 2-3 scores. It was a win however, so I don't want to complain too much, but they can't continue to play offense that way.
I'm assuming (hoping) the game plan was so close to the vest because Luke McCown was named starting quarterback on Tuesday when David Garrard was released. If the team comes out against the New York Jets next week doing the same thing though, to me that's cause for concern. You were confident enough in McCown's ability to cut the guy who's been starting the past five years, so let him play.