The Jacksonville Jaguars passing offense is one of the worst in the NFL through the first four games of the 2012 season, especially when it comes to throwing the football down the field. While many wring their hands that the team doesn't call shots down the field, the simple matter is not a lot of the deeper shots are available to take.
"You got to be smart with it, there are calculated risks when you take those shots, it’s got to be the right coverage, but you can’t take shots that have unnecessary risks," Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert told the media on Wednesday about taking shots down the field. "Obviously you see that when you take those shots turnovers happen those are game changers."
Gabbert threw his first interception of the season on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, oddly enough on a deep pass to Justin Blackmon. Gabbert tried to fit the ball in a tight window and catch Blackmon right out of his break, but just sailed the pass and it was picked off.
The cry for shots down the field has gotten louder and louder, understandably so, but the Jaguars have had a plethora of things going wrong that have limited what they can do offensively, including doing what's necessary to enable passes down the field. The pass protection has been suspect, the receivers have struggled to get open, and Gabbert has been a bit too impatient in recent weeks with letting plays develop.
Until the Jaguars are able to correct those mistakes however and at least threaten down the field, teams will continue to creep up and squat on the shorter routes, making it exceedingly more difficult to even complete those passes. Against a team like the Chicago Bears however, their combination of pass rush and ball hawking secondary will make doing it this week difficult.