In the first game of the season, the Jacksonville Jaguars faced an early deficit and couldn’t get their run game going against the Commanders. They flipped the script in Week 2, when they held a 17-0 halftime lead over Indianapolis and finished with 37 rush attempts (compared to 18 the week prior).
The bad news is that despite doing it early and often, Jacksonville wasn’t very successful on the ground in Week 2. James Robinson’s 37-yard touchdown was the team’s only rush of at least eight yards; over half went for two or fewer yards.
per https://t.co/bHJNDL73pR pic.twitter.com/WpN0it3Lq6— Burner #261 (@notgus_logue) September 23, 2022
The good news is, as you can see above, the passing game continued to click. Pederson and Trevor Lawrence bailed Jacksonville out of several third-and-long situations -- which allowed the Jaguars to throw stuff at the wall in the run game to see what stuck.
Jacksonville started the season running a wide zone scheme. Offensive line coach Phil Rauscher has a history with this system that’s recently taken league by storm thanks to Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay.
Against Indianapolis, the Jaguars showed a lot more gap concepts. Pederson called multiple trap, duo, and I-formation runs in Week 2 (none of which showed up at Washington).
Earlier this week, Vikings offensive coordinator Wes Phillips explained some of the ways defenses are now stopping wide zone, and The Athletic’s Ted Nguyen explained why gap run concepts are the next phase of the league-wide offensive evolution.
I’d expect the Jaguars to continue to be a zone blocking team primarily (partly because it sets up play-action bootlegs for Lawrence) and mix in other stuff depending on the week/matchup/situation. But it was very cool to see how much they had in their arsenal. In terms of strategy, the best identity is no identity.
Brandon Staley’s defense is built to stop explosive pass plays, which the Jaguars haven't show the ability to do consistently. Robinson and co. will need a big day on the ground to help open up passing lanes downfield; I'm excited to see how Jacksonville’s coaching staff schemes up the rushing attack to help its ball carriers and offensive line.
The Chargers are undoubtedly more talented than the Jaguars, but Pederson showed last week how important coaching is in the NFL. His play calling will be the key to a potential upset victory out west.