The Jacksonville Jaguars are approaching must-win territory, coming off a 23-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Jaguars’ offensive coordinator Press Taylor met with the press for his weekly media availability on Thursday to recap last week's matchup, to provide additional insight on what went wrong (and right), and to generally discuss the upcoming matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers which could drastically impact playoff seedings for both teams.
Coach Taylor first discussed what the potential of playing without starting QB Trevor Lawrence does to the team's game plan for the week.
We’re not sure of Trevor’s [QB Trevor Lawrence] status going into a game, we always kind of put together a plan that I think fits both guys in a lot of things, the way they play quarterback. Now, they have different skillsets, so you may feature different things based on the timing of the way they get the ball out, their movement skills, different things like that maybe you feature one way or the other. I think this is not as chaotic as people would think, he’s a quarterback, they both operate really well from the pocket, the things we want to do, the things they see well, then utilizing the guys around them is a big part of it.
To Taylor's point, this is something the offensive staff has probably gotten used to, as Lawrence had multiple injuries throughout this season leading to questions on his playing status the following week. The same can be said for the absences of WR Zay Jones and Brendon Strange, who both have missed multiple games due to injury. Taylor discussed the loss of Zay Jones, who is reportedly week to week with a hamstring injury.
You’ll lean on a little bit more of Ag [WR Jamal Agnew], Tim [WR Tim Jones], Elijah [WR Elijah Cooks], Parker [WR Parker Washington], kind of that young rotation of guys stepping into their role. Ideally, getting Brenton [TE Brenton Strange] back would help us out. Luke [TE Luke Farrell] has continued to come on in all aspects of the game, so it’s by committee of everybody stepping in of filling those roles. That’s what you expect week to week in the NFL anyways.
The Brenton Strange effect:— John Shipley (@_John_Shipley) December 18, 2023
The #Jaguars were No. 3 in 13 personnel usage % from Weeks 1-12, according to SIS.
Since his injury, they have run just 4 snaps with it.
Coach Taylor also touched on the lack of continuity in the running game, with multiple offensive line shifts due to suspension, injury, and the above loss of Strange.
I think that’s a big part. I think having comfort of who you’re playing next to, how they communicate, and how you guys play together is a factor. At the same time, we expect whoever is in there and whatever combination of guys to produce, play well, communicate effectively, do their job at a high level. We’ve got to continue to put them in the best possible position to do that.
The Jaguars offense struggled mightily with miscues versus the Ravens, a trend that has seemed to become a season-long issue. The team struggled on third downs - going three of 13, with two fumbles, and zero for two on field goals.
We feel like we’re doing everything possible to emphasize the importance of ball security, things are going to happen, we understand that. We also understand how important it is when you’re in scoring position to leave with points. We want to end every drive with a kick. We’ve tried to say it every way possible, I think our guys understand the importance of it, but that’s got to show up. We’ve got to continue to work to protect the football and do a better job of that.
The 2023 Jaguars have been stuffed (come away with zero points) 11 times on 41 trips this year. That's a 26.8% red zone stuff rate.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) December 20, 2023
The only team with a worse red zone stuff rate over the last decade are the 2017 Browns.
Yes, that's the 0-16 Browns. https://t.co/qqeeVXLuS7
Things will improve dramatically for the Jaguars offense if they can just handle the basics and get out of their own way this week - catch the ball, limit pre-snap penalties, make field goals, and zero fumbles. However, the Buccaneers' defense will be a challenge for the Jaguars to play a clean game, due to the pressure they consistently bring.
The same thing you see with our defense. There’s five on the line, there’s five guys pressuring a lot of times. Depending on where that fifth guy is coming from or the other two are coming from, guys dropping out. There’s a lot of loaded boxes. They’re really good against the run, this defense particularly has been really good for a pretty long time since Coach Bowles has been there. They’re doing a good job crowding the line, stopping the run, making things hard, identifying pressure, picking up pressure. They do a really good job, it’s not an easy task.
No Trevor Lawrence (concussion protocol) or Zay Jones (hamstring) at Thursday’s #Jaguars practice. Second consecutive day both players have missed.— Juston W. Lewis (@JustonLewis_) December 21, 2023
All other players were present. Another day of starting reps for QB CJ Beathard. pic.twitter.com/KJrxttT2zH