Sorry Jacksonville Jaguars fans, this edition may be a tad brief.
In their first return to Sunday Night Football in over fifteen years, the Jaguars suffered a 23-7 routing by the Baltimore Ravens, continuing their 3-game losing streak and dropping them to an 8-6 overall record. This leaves them tied atop the AFC South with the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts, though the Jaguars currently possess the tiebreaker.
There is much to be said about the Jaguars’ performances these past few games, and little of it is positive. There is not much to be said, however, about the rookie performances this week, as their appearances on the field were either limited or disappointing. Let’s take a closer look at their struggles.
Anton Harrison: Harrison delivered another mediocre performance against the Ravens' defensive front, allowing 3 pressures on 49 pass-blocking snaps. He also missed a couple of blocks on outside runs by Etienne, though he fared better than most of the Jaguars’ other offensive linemen despite logging a subpar 51.1 PFF grade. He was certainly helped by Trevor Lawrence’s quick release time, who averaged only 2.62 seconds to throw compared to Lamar Jackson’s 3.83 seconds. Overall, although he was far from perfect, it is hard to place substantial blame on Harrison when the entire line has been porous.
Parker Washington: This was a rough game for Parker Washington, who hauled in 4 receptions for only 12 yards and dropped a well-placed throw from Trevor Lawrence on what would’ve been a reasonable gain. Though fans may also be quick to point a finger at Washington for catching the final pass of the first half that resulted in time expiring and cost the Jaguars key points on the board, the fault here lies with the play-calling, not the receiver. On special teams, Jamal Agnew resumed his punt-returning duties this week, further minimizing Washington’s role.
Antonio Johnson: Johnson once again delivered perhaps the strongest rookie performance of Sunday night, though he by no means stood out, as he did in Week 14. He finished the evening with 1 tackle and a 60.2 overall defensive PFF grade, at least earning himself continued playing time in the secondary during the final three weeks of the regular season.
Tyler Lacy had a tackle on the day. Elijah Cooks dropped his first and only target of the season. Yasir Abdullah was a healthy scratch. Christian Braswell and Brenton Strange remained out with injuries. Tank Bigsby logged one touch for -2 yards.
Over the past three weeks, The Jaguars' roster has struggled mightily against greater talent, demonstrating their inability to consistently compete with legitimate playoff-caliber teams. This is a direct indictment of the Jaguars’ roster depth, and the rookie class is much of the same: a few good performances scattered amongst a continued pattern of mediocrity.
The Jaguars have three weeks left of the regular season to turn things around, and on the bright side, it would appear that most of the tougher competition is in the rearview (at least until the playoffs). With this in mind, I expect better performances in the weeks to come. Still, unless something drastically changes, the Jaguars will be hard-pressed to make it very far in the postseason.
Jags fans, any rookie predictions for the final three weeks of the regular season?