The Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans is probably more in line with what people expected to see in the regular season. Not necessarily getting blown out, but a team that struggles on offense with the defense keeping them in the game. Ultimately penalties and turnovers did the Jaguars in, but I think we learned a few specific things in the game on Sunday.
Here are three things we learned in the Jaguars loss:
1. Defenses break
The Jaguars defense is really good and I think it’s going to be a really good for most of the season. On Sunday the team stifled the Titans offense and through the middle of the third quarter, held Tennessee to just nine points. They eventually broke however, which is going to happen when you give teams chance after chance after chance with short fields.
The Jaguars offensive drives after the opening scoring drive went like this:
Punt (3 plays)
Punt (3 plays)
Fumble (5 plays)
Interception (10 plays)
Interception (3 plays)
Punt (3 plays)
That’s not sustainable to expect the defense to hold, but pretending it is... they still only gave up 16 points at that point and the offense immediately answered with a four-and-out. The Titans started something like an average of right at midfield for their drives while the Jaguars started in the 20’s. If you’re going to play like the Jaguars clearly want, you’re supposed to be the one flipping the field position, not the other way around.
2. Leonard Fournette can’t do it alone
Fournette looks like a special player, but there’s only so much he can do on his own. This was part of the push back I had with drafting Fournette and the idea that he would help “fix” Blake Bortles. While Fournette makes things work after contact, he can only do so much without open running lanes. He had probably the greatest three-yard run I’ve ever seen, where it looked like a bunch of children trying to tackle a school bus, but it was still just three yards. It feels like he has to work that hard every run to not even get chunks of yards. As long as the Jaguars pass game struggles, Fournette is going to face fronts like he faced against the Titans.
3. Allen Robinson is a huge loss
I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that the Jaguars offense is pretty one-dimension and teams are going to load up and make Blake Bortles beat them in the air. The loss of Allen Robinson was kind of under sold because of the big win against the Texans, but he’s a huge loss for the offense. Robinson was the only receiver who could consistently win one-on-one matchups and even if he didn’t win it, he had the ability of the jump ball in his arsenal. Without Robinson, the Jaguars lose a lot of that “give” in their offense. We saw it against Houston on a deep shot to Lee that was what we’re used to seeing with Robinson. It was slightly under thrown, making it perfect for someone like Robinson to track it and win the jump ball, but guys like Lee and Hurns just aren’t near as good at it. We saw it again on Sunday with Hurns on a pass that was nearly picked off.
It’s not just replacing the raw production with Robinson where the loss hurts, it’s the loss of his unique skill-set in regards to the Jaguars offense.