Jacksonville Jaguars fans, we made it. Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season is in the books. After a long offseason of empty takes, we have 60 minutes of on-field product to spew about.
The Jaguars lost its first game under Doug Pederson, 22-28, to the Washington Commanders. It felt like a typical Jags loss filled with self-inflicted mistakes like penalties, turnovers, and plays left on the field. Those things definitely happened on Sunday, but there’s actually even more positive takeaways than negative if you pay close attention.
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to understand what the heck is going on during each play. There’s simply too much happening in various areas of the field to process it all. Plus, the view isn’t great -- you’re either too zoomed out (at the stadium) or too zoomed in (watching broadcasts). Then throw in some miscellaneous game day distractions. And don’t forget that there’s a significant amount of things that happen on the sideline/in the headset/behind the scenes, information that’s as inaccessible as it would be beneficial to viewers of the game.
Watching football is extremely fun; but the game is so complex that fans can focus too much on end results. I’m here to help you learn about the process behind each play so you can have an even greater understanding and appreciation for your favorite team and players, even when another L is added to the win/loss column.
Every week this season, I plan to provide context/analysis/takes as I live stream every play from Jacksonville’s most recent game. I’ll be using all-22 coaches film, which allows you to see the entire field.
Here is the Week 1 review of the offense!
If you don’t have time to watch Jags film for nearly two hours, or just don’t want to, I don’t blame you. Here’s my Too long; didn’t watch:
Lawrence looked pretty underwhelming live, but after watching the film back, I think he played a good game. He found a mid game rhythm where he was consistently making the correct pre-snap read, displaying good footwork with quick and efficient three-step drops, and firing the ball with velocity on short-to-intermediate concepts.
The Etienne endzone overthrow was an objective miss, but every other throw he made was catchable in my eyes. The other ugly incompletions, of which there were several, were due to tipped balls at the line of scrimmage.
Beyond those tips, Lawrence didn’t have enough time to complete really any downfield passes. Washington’s defensive line is arguably the strongest/best in the league, and even without Chase Young, the Commanders dominated Jacksonville up front. From my memory, the only deep pass Lawrence attempted without being hit was the deep completion over the middle to Christian Kirk in the third quarter.
Kirk looked really good. I’m confident the Jaguars have a starting no. 2/slot receiver and somebody that can beat man coverage over the middle; but they still need a guy who can win on the outside and come down with the contested passes currently throw to Zay Jones. Zay is also obsessed with Eurostepping during routes (which sounds cool but hasn’t worked yet), but he and Marvin Jones were mostly fine on Sunday. Engram had two good catches between the 20s but couldn’t separate in the red zone despite Lawrence clearly looking for him in that area.
Jacksonville’s backup tight ends blew multiple blocks and are not good.
James Robinson is BACK! Etienne made some mistakes, but I’m chalking that up to first game jitters since he did impress as a rusher.
While the offensive line is the biggest concern after reviewing the film, I’m not overly worried. It was their first game under Pederson and position coach Phil Rauscher, plus, Ben Bartch and Luke Fortner combined for 12 career NFL starts going into the game. And again, Washington’s D-line is strong as heck.
Jacksonville’s offensive line will have trouble against top-tier fronts, and the team may not be able to go deep as often as it might want, but overall this unit is more of a general weakness than a huge liability.
That’s just in pass protection, too -- the group did a good job run blocking in the season opener.
Week 1's top offensive lines by adjusted line yards pic.twitter.com/ICTP0gX1AJ— Football Outsiders (@fboutsiders) September 14, 2022
To wrap up, I was impressed by the overall structure of the offense. Maybe that’s because last season was so sucky, but in last year’s season opener the Jaguars were just a complete disaster. This feels different -- there’s a much higher floor thanks to good play designs and beneficial coaching. Once the pre-snap penalties and blown blocks and dropped passes and missed throw (singular) are corrected, that’s it!
Big mistakes killed the Jaguars in the past and it killed them again in Week 1. But once the team cleans up those early-season blunders, they have a legitimate offense waiting to be run. I am buying on Trevor Lawrence and company.