This year, the Jaguars have been one of the worst teams in football on the game’s opening possession. Each week, the team has won the flip of a coin and opted to defer its decision, ultimately leading to a post-halftime possession rather than being the first team to receive the ball to start the game.
Typically, that’s what a team wants. Having a chance to have back-to-back possessions going into, and coming out of, halftime can be one of the better advantages in the game of football. That is, if your team is equipped to stop the team in its opening possession, an area the Jaguars have struggled mightily.
Through three games, Jacksonville has surrendered an first-drive touchdown to the opposing team, instantly creating a comeback situation for the team’s offense right out of the gate. While the team has been able to battle back sometimes, last week was a different story, and deferring until the second half could become a thing of the past as a result.
“I think I’m trying to get a peak at what’s going on and how we can settle these guys down more. So, I think we’re going to have these discussions, but it’s not anything that I’m looking at going, ‘No, I would never do that’, so it’s definitely something that’s on the table,” said Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone on Friday following the team’s 31-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
“Before I ever make a decision like that, I want to learn more about it. Even when I do make the decision, I always still talk about game day winds and things like that come into play. Where before I’ve always been [one to] defer, I think now whatever can help our football team, we’ll do.”
The Jaguars have been better offensively than they have been defensively, without question, however, the question of whether or not the team would fare better on offense with the first possession, rather than on defense remains to be seen.
In three games this season, the Jaguars’ first-offensive possession has gone as follows: punt (vs. Indianapolis Colts), interception (@ Tennessee Titans) and punt (vs. Dolphins). While the team was playing from behind in each of these games, it’s not as if the deficit was astronomical to a point at which the team couldn’t recover, they were one-score games.
The Jaguars will have an opportunity to make a different decision this week against the Cincinnati Bengals, if they were to win the coin toss. If for no other reason, perhaps it will give the team an opportunity to not simply do the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result - the definition of insanity.