The Jacksonville Jaguars offense has shockingly been the most dreadful part of the team through the first five games of the season. It was supposed to be what carried the team, after being so explosive last year, but it hasn’t had those same chunk plays to carry them this season. The offense has been plodding at best and often is rife with complaints from fans of it being too “predictable”. While I agree there are issues on the offense, I think the claims of predictability are misguided and just people venting frustration with the unit they expected to be what carried the team early on.
There’s plenty of blame to go around, as the run game is essentially non-existent and quarterback Blake Bortles has been marginal at best, in his good games. The wide receivers aren’t making those same plays they did last season and are dropping far too many passes. The Jaguars “high rolled” a lot of plays last year, where guys l like Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns made spectacular plays and this season, they’re not winning those 50/50 battles.
One thing we’ve seen the Jaguars do that kind of brings it to life is going hurry-up and no huddle, changing the tempo on the defense. There’s a happy medium you need to find when doing things like that however, because you don’t want to just gas out your defense in the first half. Bortles however, seems to play much better in that style of tempo.
“I think it’s kind of you’re out there just playing. I think it’s easier to find a rhythm, I believe,” Bortles told reporters on Wednesday when he was asked why he’s more comfortable in the hurry up. “I don’t really have an answer for you. I feel comfortable in it, I feel good in it. Our offense feels good and comfortable in it and we do a good job moving the ball so it’s definitely good to see that, have confidence in that package and know we have that in our back pocket if we need it.”
I do think its valid criticism to ask the Jaguars coaching staff why they’re not trying some up-tempo stuff early in ball games, rather than waiting until they’re forced to do so. There is the danger in going three and out so fast, so many times, you almost lose a possession so to speak, but the offense is already struggling to pick up first downs and have too many three and outs as-is.
“I know we’ve said that all year long and we want to continue to say that and kind of emphasize starting fast, and I thought we did that,” Bortles said when asked what the harm was in u p-tempo early on. “Our first drive last week was the best we’ve had all season, we just didn’t finish it. I think if we’re able to do that with huddling up let’s stay in the huddle. I think there comes a time and a point where we’re struggling, getting stagnant, kind of lose the run game a little bit, hard to find a rhythm then maybe that’s when we jump into it or whatever.”
The team got lucky against the Chicago Bears, in that they were able to hang around and then pick up points late with more up-tempo stuff. Heading into Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders, perhaps they should start with some more up-tempo and get an early score, instead of continuing to fall behind early on