The Jacksonville Jaguars fell to 0-2 on the season, losing to the Denver Broncos at home 23-13. The game really wasn’t as close as the score, but weirdly at the same time could have been much closer if kicker Josh Lambo hadn’t missed two field goals.
I say the game didn’t feel that close, mostly because after the Jaguars opening scoring drive, the offense really sputtered and couldn’t get out of their own way. The Jaguars defense gave up some big chunk plays, but overall did enough of a job to keep the game in a winnable situation.
Here’s three big observations from the game:
1. Jaguars Offense Needs Identity
After the scripted first drive, where the Jaguars marched right down the field thanks to some nice throws by rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the offense felt like a discombobulated mess. The Jaguars ran the ball less than half as much as they threw it, and it’s not like the game was out of hand to the point of needing to get pass happy. The team needs to get what they want to be their identity down and go for it. It’s understandable with a whole new staff, quarterback and scheme it will take a bit, but through the preseason to now it’s seemed messy.
2. Jaguars defense needs help on the back end
While the Jaguars defense did a solid job of slowing down the Broncos and making them one-dimensional, they still gave up too many chunk plays down the field. The safety position in particular is worrisome, at least from what I saw today, especially with how the defense seems to consistently play a center fielder with Andrew Wingard. Wingard plays well in the run game, but in deep coverage he seems to struggle and it showed up today, with Courtland Sutton consistently getting over the top. It might be close to time to give rookie safety Andre Cisco a shot with the defense and let him make the mistakes to learn on the job.
3. Please use James Robinson
Last year’s breakout offensive player, running back James Robinson, has gotten off to a slow start for the 2021 season. Robinson had just 11 carries on Sunday against the Broncos and only five against the Houston Texans. Robinson is still averaging 4.5 yards per carry, but I think the loss of Travis Etienne pulled out a dynamic from the Jaguars planned offense. With Carlos Hyde as the only real other option, they lack the home run hitter in the backfield, but Robinson is still someone who can grind down a defense. The Jaguars should start to lean on him more and ease Lawrence into the offense, relying on runs and play-action passing.