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Could the Marcedes Lewis injury help the Jaguars offense?

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The Jaguars lost Marcedes Lewis to injury, but could it actually help their offense by forcing change?

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Hear me out.

The Jacksonville Jaguars lost tight end Marcedes Lewis for six to eight weeks with a high ankle sprain in Sunday's 41-10 loss to Washington. The injury, combined with the currently injured Clay Harbor, leaves the Jaguars with just one healthy tight end on the roster. It's likely the team makes a move and brings up one or two tight ends from the practice squad, but missing Lewis might force some change in the Jaguars offensive play calling.

Lewis' biggest strength on the Jaguars offense is that he can be an extension of the offensive line. He's a through-and-through in-line tight end who at times can operate like an extra offensive tackle. The Jaguars have been utilizing this, as they should, but through the first two games it's resulted in the the offensive formations looking like they're mostly 12 (1RB, 2TE, 2WR) or 21 (2RB,1TE, 2WR)  personnel. I haven't actually gone back and counted, so I could be wrong, but I'm just going off memory.

This bunches the offense up and when you combine it with the fact that opposing defenses are stacking eight defenders in the box and run blitzing on seemingly every down, you're trying to match strength against strength and hoping your guys win the battle in the trenches.

Obviously, that's not working. With Marcedes Lewis out, the Jaguars can't really do that anymore because they simply don't have that type of tight end to use right now.

The Lewis injury could force offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch to shift to more 11 (1RB, 1TE, 3WR) and 20 (2RB, 3WR) personnel groupings because that in-line tight end who can also catch the ball isn't there right now. It's possible Clay Harbor comes back, but even if he does it should force this shift even more because he's more of a joker/flex tight end than an in-line player.

The Jaguars have been bunching up their offense to try to match defenses stacking the box and sending 5 or more defenders each down, when instead they need to start spreading the offense out and creating space for themselves to hit quick throws that are like long handoffs to try to back defenders off.

Teams are literally daring the Jaguars to throw the football, because they've shown zero respect for fearing they'll get beat in the air. So, do what teams are daring you to do. Instead of bunching things up with max protection and giving yourself only two passing outlets on a play, give yourself four. Line up with three wide receivers, even if Clay Harbor is one of them, with both Toby Gerhart and Denard Robinson in the backfield. Both have shown the ability to catch out of the backfield and Gerhart is an able blocker if you need someone to pick up a blitzer, while still having an outlet in the backfield.

This is all hindsight arm chair offensive coordinator-ing, but I'm not sure what other option the team has. It's possible that with so many rookie wide receivers, the team is trying to keep it simple and avoid possible mental errors, but at some point you've got to make a change to how you're running the offense.