JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 16: Justin Forsett #28 of the Houston Texans breaks up a pass attempt to Justin Blackmon #14 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during the game at EverBank Field on September 16, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon was held without a catch against the Houston Texans in Sunday's 27-7 loss, despite being targeted four times. Blackmon has just three receptions for 24 yards on the season through the first two games, and is second on the team with 10 targets, behind Laurent Robinson.
Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey doesn't want Blackmon to get discouraged with his early lack of production, however.
"Don’t get discouraged. Don’t get frustrated," Mularkey told reporters on Monday. "Take each game as a learning experience like you hope everybody does, including coaches. The balls will come, they will."
The Jaguars receivers as a whole have struggled to do much outside of things in the short and intermediate areas, but teams have also rolled their coverages to take away some of what Justin Blackmon does best as a wide receiver. Teams don't seem to be giving up a big cushion to eat up and get some yards after the catch like he did in the preseason.
"He’s a young player still. He’s still seeing the speed of the game. There is a difference in speed from preseason to regular season," Mularkey said. "Whether its starters on starters in the preseason, it’s still different when you get to the regular season because now everything is counting. It’s really important. I think just the speed of the game will help him as he goes, and gets more repetitions. I think he’ll improve and get the ball more."
A big part of it too is the issues on the Jaguars offensive line, which are really limiting what the team can do in the passing game, and other defenses know it. Until the line issues can get shored up allowing the Jaguars to attack more down the field, teams will squat on the shorter routes which will put the pressure on guys like Blackmon to make sure their routes are precise and they catch the passes to tight windows when they come.