The Jacksonville Jaguars head into the bye weekend at 3-5 and their offense in shambles. The only hope for it to improve rests on the legs of running back Leonard Fournette, who has missed most of the season with a hamstring injury. The offensive line has struggled so much the Jaguars coaching staff said they didn’t have confidence to even try running the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles and quarterback Blake Bortles has come crashing back to earth, already benched once and looking like he could be replaced in the offseason.
Man, that’s a rough eight games coming off a season that was on the doorstep of the Super Bowl.
So what happened to the Jaguars offense?
The popular talking point right now is that the Jaguars invested everything on the defensive side of the ball and ignored their offense. While I do think that the Jaguars took some huge gambles this offseason on the offensive side of the ball that has blown up in their face, I think the position that they ignored the offensive side of the ball while building the defense is inexplicably incorrect.
They just invested in it a different way.
Here is what Jaguars general manager has added to the offensive side of the ball since he became the general manager:
- second overall pick offensive tackle (Luke Joeckel)
- high priced free agent guard (Zane Beadles)
- high priced free agent tight end (Julius Thomas)
- third overall pick on quarterback (Blake Bortles)
- second round wide receiver (Marqise Lee)
- second round wide receiver (Allen Robinson)
- second round wide receiver (D.J. Chark)
- second round running back (T.J. Yeldon)
- third round center (Brandon Linder)
- third round guard (A.J. Cann)
- high priced free agent tackle (Jermey Parnell)
- high priced free agent guard (Andrew Norwell)
- high priced free agent running back (Chris Ivory)
- mid-tier priced free agent running back (Toby Gerhart)
- fourth overall running back (Leonard Fournette)
- second round offensive tackle (Cam Robinson)
- mid-tier priced free agent tight end (Austin Seferian-Jenkins)
- expensive one-year free agent wide receiver (Donte Moncrief)
- traded for a running back (Carlos Hyde)
This only counting draft picks used through Day 2 of the NFL Draft and not including things like paying Allen Hurns, which is an investment, or other ancillary moves for the offense.
To say that the Jaguars didn’t invest in the offense is a misnomer. They did, and they invested quite a bit. The biggest difference is they missed. They missed on a lot of those moves on the offense and that’s a big reason why they’re where they’re at. They chose to invest a little bit more on draft picks and their development on the offensive side of the ball, while investing in veterans on the defensive side and expecting to be in a lot of close games carried by the defense while the offensive players grow and develop.
The problem is those players by and large didn’t and the veterans you signed to supplement them went bust. You have a bad combination of draft picks not working out, high priced free agents flopping and a quarterback who needs a lot of things around him to go right, rather than being a quarterback who can elevate others when things go awry.
The conversation shouldn’t be why the Jaguars haven’t put anything around Blake Bortles on offense or if they invested enough into it, but it should be about the people who were doing the investing.