The Jacksonville Jaguars started OTAs this week and that means glimpses — but not much more — of what this new offense is going to look like. The two positions that saw the most turnover were quarterback and tight end and, coincidentally, those are the two toughest positions to play in this new offense according to offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.
When asked about the tight end situation here in Jacksonville, I thought DeFilippo dropped a few interesting nuggets about how that position fits into his offensive philosophy.
“Geoff [Swaim] is, boy, he’s dialed in. Unfortunately for him, in Dallas he had a few tough injuries, bone injuries which aren’t really muscle pulls, he had some bone breaks, so you equate those to just kind of bad break injuries. We’re looking for Geoff to be a big part of this offense. He’s running around great. He’s in great shape. When he showed up on his free agent visit here, I asked him how much he weighs and he said 255 pounds. He was wearing baggy clothes and I kind of looked at him like ‘255?’ Then you get out here and he is 255 pounds. For a big guy, he can run and, again, we’ll get the pads on in training camp and it will be a lot easier to see in terms of how he blocks. It’s early on for Josh [Oliver]. We ask that position to do a lot of things, to do a lot of jobs. That position, besides playing quarterback in our offense, is probably the toughest position to play because we ask you to do so many things. We like staying in base personnel to keep the base defense on the field and have that position do a lot of jobs. He’s learning. He’s doing a great job, and he’s seen and not heard, which is what you want out of a rookie in terms of keeping his head in the playbook and doing what he needs to do on the field.”
Two things stood out that could be easy to miss because they came at the end of DeFilippo’s coachspeak as he gushed about his players.
The first is that tight end is the toughest non-quarterback position in the offense. It implies that tight end is a big part of what DeFilippo is trying to do here. I don’t think that’s been the case as is evidenced by the leading tight end getting somewhere in the ballpark of 300 or so yards a season in recent years. Tight ends will produce here, but they will also be a big reason others produce. They could be used as extra blockers, decoys, and more. We’ll find out.
The second is that DeFilippo likes to stay in base personnel. The way he switches things up on opposing defenses isn’t necessarily loading up on receivers or running backs before the snap — it’s asking players, specifically the tight end, to do something a little out of the ordinary.
It’ll be interesting to see how this offense develops because even an average offense with limited turnovers a slightly better third down conversion rate will help a defense that is still near the top of the league.