If you told me before Sunday’s game that the Jags’ defense would hold Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs to 17 points and that the Jags would win the turnover battle three-to-one, I would have said, "Awesome, there’s no way we’re losing this game. No way in hell."
The offense was just horribly ineffective as a whole. That’s why we lost. And it’s not really a mystery as to why they were struggling. Our offensive line was getting manhandled by the Chiefs’ front seven.
Continuing a theme that’s appeared in both games so far this season, the O-line is not getting any push in the running game. And yesterday, they weren’t giving Trevor Lawrence enough time in the pocket to pass the ball downfield either. The Chiefs had 4 sacks and 7 QB hits against us, but it felt like a lot more, actually. This cannot continue if we want Trevor to stay in one piece.
I don’t mean to lay all the blame for this loss on our O-line either. Trevor was not sharp at all yesterday, but the O-line’s struggles have been affecting the entire offense to some degree, even the play calling.
The offensive coaching staff seemingly doesn’t feel comfortable enough to call running plays for Travis Etienne and Tank Bigsby. And, when they do, there’s no room to run. It looks like they’ve resorted to just trying to use bubble screens to the receivers and quick passes instead of traditional running plays. Why? Because the O-line can’t create any running lanes for the ball carriers.
Do you know how many carries our running backs had yesterday, combined? Thirteen. That’s twelve for Etienne and one for D’Ernest Johnson. Your offense has to be more balanced than that in the NFL, unless your passing game is just humming on all cylinders and your QB has plenty of time to throw. That has not been the case for the Jaguars so far this season, unfortunately.
We all just have to hope that when Cam Robinson returns in Week 5, there begins to be some semblance of quality play from the O-line. At that point, maybe they can move Walker Little to left guard and keep their best five on the field. Or maybe Little could replace Anton Harrison at right tackle. He hasn’t been very good so far. But it looks like most of the problems are coming from the middle of the line – the two guards and the center.
And, I know there have been a lot of people questioning Press Taylor’s play-calling over the first two weeks of the season. I say we need to trust in Doug Pederson on this. If he feels like he needs to take that responsibility back from Press, I’m sure he will do it.
I counted no fewer than five plays we ran in the red zone yesterday, where Trevor tried to complete a pass to the back of the end zone, and he either threw it too high, or the receiver couldn’t get both feet in bounds. If the end zone was larger by about twelve inches, we could’ve scored 40 points. And, if a frog had wings, he wouldn't bump his ass a-hoppin'.
There were also times yesterday where Trevor threw a pretty good pass, only to have the receiver drop it. Calvin Ridley had a pretty egregious drop when going over the middle, late in the fourth quarter.
And just one more thing, in closing. I mentioned this last week after the Colts game at Indy, and I’m going to mention it again. Can we PLEASE stop trying to shoehorn Jamal Agnew into the offense as a wide receiver? He hasn’t brought anything remotely positive to the offense lately. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. Let’s look at the very recent history of miscues on offense with Agnew operating as a wide receiver:
· Week 18 last season, at home against the Tennessee Titans: Early in the second quarter, with the ball in Titans’ territory, the Jags tried to run some kind of whacky double-reverse play with an overhand option-style pitchout back to Agnew in the backfield. The ball biffed off Agnew’s hands and became a live-ball fumble on the ground, which the Titans recovered.
· Divisional Round playoff game last season, at Kansas City: Late in the fourth quarter, trailing by 10 points, the Jaguars complete a short pass to Agnew around the Chiefs’ five yard-line. Agnew fumbled the ball without even being hit by a defender and the Chiefs recover, and go on to win by seven, knocking the Jaguars out of the playoffs.
· Week 2, yesterday at home against the Chiefs: With 10:50 to go in the second quarter with the ball on the Chiefs’ 37-yardline, Trevor Lawrence passes laterally in the backfield to Agnew, who fails to catch the ball, and the Chiefs recover the fumble.
Look, I think Agnew is a phenomenal kick returner and punt returner, but he’s becoming a real liability on offense. And I know he can be a very dangerous player with the ball in his hands, but that’s where the problem has been – keeping the damn ball in his hands. In the past five games, dating back to the end of the 2022 regular season, it’s been all bad and no good from him. Just end it already, please… before he turns the ball over yet again.