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Jaguars Playbook: Turnovers prove costly against Eagles in Week 4

Jacksonville can’t overcome five turnovers in sloppy weather against an aggressive Philadelphia defense

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

This series will analyze the 2022 Jacksonville Jaguars offense. We’ll create weekly play call sheets to see how one of the best offensive coordinators in the NFL, Doug Pederson, calls a game. Next up: Week 4 vs Philadelphia Eagles.

The Jaguars turned the ball over five times against the Eagles, shooting themselves in the foot, seemingly, at every turn. A combination of an aggressive defense and the weather played a major factor.

The costly turnovers also allowed the Eagles to possess the football nearly twice as much as the Jaguars. Offensively, Jacksonville had a season-low 46 snaps. Our play call sheet is set up the same as the first three weeks, even though Doug Pederson most likely threw out the opening script early in this contest.

Despite all the self-inflicted wounds, the Jaguars still had plenty of chances in this one. After taking a 14-0 lead early on in the contest, the Eagles rattled off 29 straight points.

Even still, the Jaguars got the ball with under 2 minutes left in the contest with a chance to tie it. Instead, Trevor Lawrence got sacked and fumbled on the first play of the drive. Ending a miserable day at the office.

As you look through the call sheet, you’ll notice almost no play action. With the Eagles' penchant for man coverage and bringing pension, play action can do more harm than good for an offense.

Eagles stingy defense

For the majority of the game, the Eagles' defense closed off the middle of the field. No matter the pre-snap deception, and there was a lot, a safety was usually playing center field after the play began.

Another thing the Eagles did extremely well, on top of their disguises, was play fast and aggressive. While the weather may have played a factor in two turnovers — Lawrence just dropped the football twice on his own — the Eagles' pressure gave the Jaguars fits all day. Pressure doesn’t necessarily need to get to the quarterback to be effective. It can cause a QB to speed up his process which usually results in trouble for an offense.

For example, let’s break down the last play of the 3rd quarter. The Jaguars find themselves with 2nd & 7 in the red zone. Pederson sends Jamal Agnew across the formation only to return in an Orbit motion. He’ll eventually run a swing route out of the backfield. A communication breakdown in the defensive backfield, possibly due to the orbit motion, will have the Eagles sending two players on a blitz through the same hole. The second blitzer realizes it too late and tries to get back into coverage; to no avail.

This defensive mistake allowed two Jaguars to run free; Kirk on a slot fade and Agnew’s swing. In the red zone this must end in a touchdown. Instead, after a half-hearted attempt at a play action fake, Trevor Lawrence feels the pressure and rushes his drop. Due to the sloppy footwork Lawrence can’t get anything on the throw.

Floating the ball out there allowed James Bradberry to make a great play, coming off the post to intercept and end a promising Jaguars drive.

Jaguars complementary play calls

A great offensive play caller has a framework they work within; rather than a collection of plays they choose from. This is what separates coordinators in the NFL.

Stacking as many complementary plays together during a game can spell trouble for a defense if used correctly.

Working from a framework, or system, allows coordinators to take advantage of how a defense may react to pre-snap movement, personnel, formations, play action, etc. If a defense shows certain tendencies, a play caller will go right to his bag of tricks and try to come up with a chunk play.

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle recently mentioned to The Ringer how Kyle Shannahan will call a play that most likely won’t work. It’s all a reconnaissance mission; to see how a defense reacts.

Some coordinators wait until later in the game at a key moment to pull the trigger on a complementary play. Doug Pederson doesn’t wait around. Pederson’s system has plenty of weapons in the arsenal so no need to delay.

The Jaguars started their second drive with excellent field position, at their own 40-yard line. After calling the first play, Pederson knew what his second call was going to be once he saw how the Eagles defense reacted.

In an effort not to squander such good field position, Pederson had his complementary play ready.

Play 1: a single back trap with the F (Kirk) going in motion, settling as the number one receiver to the left side of the formation. He fakes a jailbreak screen. The run play nets Jaguars 5 yards. But Pederson liked what he saw.

Play 2: Pederson adds some different window dressing, with Y motioning to the right. But the Jaguars end up in the exact same formation. Pederson knew the Jaguars would have the numbers advantage, as the Eagles showed the play before — with two defenders playing off coverage over two offensive players. Faking the trap, the Jaguars run a jailbreak screen to Agnew. His patience pays off and allows Cam Robinson to steamroll the defensive back; en route to a 14-yard gain.

A fumble four plays later put an end to a promising drive; which was a microcosm of the Jaguars' afternoon. But this shows how Pederson knows when to take advantage of what a defense will give him. He doesn’t wait around for the Eagles to make any adjustments.

A good thing for the Jaguars, and something to look out for in his second season with the team.

Next up: Week 5 vs Houston Texans