This Sunday, Doug Pederson and the Jacksonville Jaguars will take on the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles.
These are the players I’ll be paying most attention to on either side of the ball.
IOL Ben Bartch and Luke Fortner
The biggest mismatch of the game resides in the trenches. Philadelphia boasts perhaps the best defensive tackle rotation in the league in Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and Jordan Davis; Jacksonville is starting a Division III/Round 4 player at left guard (Ben Bartch) and a 24-year-old rookie at center (Luke Fortner).
A few long touchdown runs by James Robinson has hid what’s really the Jaguars’ biggest weakness. The team ranks 17th in Expected Points Added (EPA) per rush and 29th in success rate (per rbsdm.com). Jacksonville also ranks bottom-five in ESPN’s run block win rate, Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards, and Pro Football Focus’ run block grade.
Bartch and Fortner’s lack of NFL experience is a big reason for Jacksonville’s lack of consistent success on the ground. Fortunately, a lot of their mistakes on film look like errors that will be cleaned up over time as they get used to their current offensive system. Unfortunately, they’ll have a big test this week against a talented Eagles front.
CB Tyson Campbell
Seemingly every player on Jacksonville’s front seven is breaking out this season. The secondary has also played well, but not as well, and one particular guy hasn't delivered a peak performance yet: Tyson Campbell.
The former 33rd overall pick is undeniably a good football player, and I’d even vouch that Campbell is Pro Bowl-caliber. But one aspect of his game is holding him back from that distinction, and it’s the most important part: finishing.
Campbell mostly shut down bully-ball receiver Mike Williams in man coverage last week. On 11 such plays, Williams drew four targets and caught one.
Tyson Campbell vs Mike Williams— Gus Logue (@gus_logue) October 1, 2022
Reps in man coverage: 11
Targets allowed: 4
Catches allowed: 1 pic.twitter.com/XnEQelFEU5
The problem is, that sole reception was a touchdown. Here’s another look.
September 25, 2022
I’m willing to say this play is simply an incredible pitch and catch, but Campbell must improve in contested catch situations, and ideally this week.
Jacksonville’s biggest defensive priority will be quarterback Jalen Hurts, but if receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith get going, it almost doesn’t matter what the Jaguars throw at Hurts. Communicating at the beginning of plays and finishing at the end of them will be key for Campbell and the rest of the Jaguars’ secondary against the Eagles.