As the Jacksonville Jaguars get ready to face an Oakland Raiders team on Sunday, many feel it can be a “get right” game for the Jaguars offense, which has struggled to find themselves so far this season. The team thought it would be much improved in the run game, which a massive improvement would simply just being functional, and it’s kind of bogged everything down. There are other problems with the offense as a whole, such as quarterback Blake Bortles not playing well, but the lack of a run game is exacerbating the other issues on the offense. The Jaguars coaching staff however felt like the run game would continue to grow as they headed into the regular season.
“I think when we came out of preseason it felt like it was going in the right direction,” Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley told reporters on Thursday afternoon. “We are trying to find it because there are games when we look back at it and say there were some good runs in there.”
Some fans think the Jaguars try to run the ball too much, but the reality is part of the reason the team can’t get going in the run game is that there just aren’t enough plays. The Jaguars are dead last in the NFL in rush attempts, by a good margin, so the notion that they run the ball too much just isn’t steeped in reality. It likely feels that way because when they do try to run the ball, it’s so ineffective.
“At times we don’t get as many opportunities to run the ball. Third down isn’t as high as we would like it. If you have a better third down you get more [opportunities], you stay on the field, you get the chance to run the ball a little bit more and a lot of times the big runs come in the third and fourth quarter when you wear a team down,” Bradley continued on the run game. “Just like last game where we were in the two-minute mode and we were throwing. In the first half, we had three series, so you are constantly trying to find it. I mentioned that we looked at the whole run game as a picture. There are some runs that we particularly like and we feel good about and there are some other ones we feel with a couple tweaks we can get them going. We have a direction, an area we really want to improve on and now we just have to have faith in it and just keeping to have trust that it will show up.”
The team has started to go away from so many stretch plays and that seemed to help a little bit against the Colts, but the reality is they’re just bad at it right now and don’t know what the solution is. With the team sitting at 2-3 on the season and the AFC South the way it is, if the Jaguars can figure out the mystery of their run game they might be able to pull something out, but until they’re at least able to run the ball at even a mediocre level, they’re going to struggle to not only win games, but close out games they get a lead in.