MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 09: Letroy Guion #98 and Harrison Smith #22 of the Minnesota Vikings force Rashad Jennings #23 of the Jacksonville Jaguars out of bounds during the first quarter of the season opener on September 9, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1, most can agree that the Jaguars looked like an entirely different football team offensively and fully capable of scoring enough points to win on a consistent basis. That seemingly went out the window entirely in Week 2 when the Houston Texans held the Jaguars to a franchise low-117 yards of total offense. Everything that had looked so promising had seemingly disappeared as the Jaguars were forced to punt on nine of their possessions.
Interestingly enough, the Jaguars still rank among the elite on FootballOutsiders.com, a statistical analysis site, in one offensive category: runs to the left. Of the five directions their statistics break runs down to, FO has the Jaguars as the best team in the NFL at running off the left end and the second best at running behind the left tackle.
That may seem shocking that the Jaguars could keep their average as the top team in the NFL in that category, considering the team had just five plays of 10 or more yards against the Texans with just two of those being runs. But it's not so surprising when you realize that the Jaguars didn't run a single play to the left all game.
Let that sink in. The Jaguars ranked as the best team in the league running to the left after they shredded the Vikings with 45 yards on just seven carries in that direction. They ran seven runs to the right side as well, but only managed to gain 15 yards, a third of the success they had behind Eugene Monroe.
And yet despite that magnificent amount of success to that side, they didn't run a single time to that side against the Texans and instead decided to go after the middle of the Texans line and on rare occasion the right side with J.J. Watt. On a day when the Jaguars were afforded 38 plays offensively and the majority of them were pass plays to try and make up for their growing deficit, the team still managed 12 run plays, all through Maurice Jones-Drew
Of those 12 plays, 10 ran up the middle for a combined 46 yards and two to the right side for 14 yards. While 12 carries for 60 yards is a surprisingly respectable amount in retrospect, it was not nearly enough to ever seriously factor into the game.
So why would the Jaguars entirely abandon the one of thing offensively that they seemed to excel at more than anything else? Herb Taylor would be the only logical explanation.
With Eben Britton out with an ankle injury, the Jaguars were instead forced to play Taylor at the left guard position, despite the player being added to the team less than a week prior to game day. With a limited knowledge of the playbook and no game experience since the 2008 season he started in the place of Britton.
On Wednesday, Jaguars head coach said that Eben Britton is ahead of Cameron Bradfield in recovery from their respective ankle injuries and wasn't ready yet to rule either player out against the Texans. However, both spent the practice on bikes and did not participate in activities.