Buckle up, folks.
From Richard Ito (@rich_ito): Jaguars GM Trent Baalke has been notoriously difficult to work with. Doug Pederson gave the keys to the offense to Press Taylor and they regressed this year despite adding Calvin Ridley. Given Pederson’s steadfast belief in the OC, any signs of a power struggle in Jacksonville?
Richard, it’s funny you ask because there was at least some buzz the past few weeks of the season that the Jacksonville Jaguars’ front office, led by Baalke, was looking hard at where the offense is under Taylor. And if you remember, Pederson’s loyalty to his coaches is what, in the end, wound up leading to his firing with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Obviously, there will be staff changes on offense, and now they’re looking for a new defensive coordinator. But it’s certainly worth paying attention to where this goes next because the Jags have a lot invested in Trevor Lawrence. And if he doesn’t break through in his fourth year, it’s fair to think bigger-picture questions are asked.
First of all, great question, Rich.
Second of all, who do you work for? Does his name start with a T and end with -rent Baalke?
The leaked info is not nearly as interesting as the number of people who could have leaked it (1) and the number of reasons they would leak it (1). https://t.co/2hsPQS5Ybn— Ryan Day (@ryaneatscake) January 18, 2024
When you start to raise your finger in response to the question, “Who’s to blame for the Jaguars’ bad year on offense?”, there’s not one right person to blame (though there is a wrong answer). The front office and coaching staff alike were overconfident in the main culprit, which was poor offensive line play, entering 2023.
Missing pieces -- namely Cam Robinson via suspension and Walker Little via injury -- did play a part. But the team should’ve been better prepared to lose trench players at some point. Brandon Scherff (32 years old) and Anton Harrison (21) played as well as you could’ve asked from players their respective ages, but Luke Fortner didn’t make the sophomore jump that many in the building were hoping for and Ben Bartch couldn’t play up to par following his 2022 dislocated knee.
A midseason trade for Ezra Cleveland was too little too late, and last summer’s motivation technique failed. Jacksonville ranked 29th in ESPN’s pass block win rate metric this season after openly mocking their 31st-place finish last year.
The Jaguars’ OL ranking 31st in pass block win rate last season (ahead of only the Indianapolis Colts) by ESPN Analytics using NextGen GPS tracking data is apparently a point of contention for this year’s unit, evidenced by the shirt worn today by OC Press Taylor. pic.twitter.com/DrqvZ7vDJR— Michael DiRocco (@ESPNdirocco) July 27, 2023
The Jaguars were unprepared to face the offensive line/injury woes that they did in 2023, despite an offseason in which the front office failed to add viable competition at left guard and the coaching staff preached versatility and growth within the existing group. Now, fingers that matter are being pointed.
The real kicker of this news is that it isn’t the first of its kind. Twitter/X user @e_dilla, a.k.a. the people’s champ of Jags reporting, dropped this clue last week.
The organization is split on Press Taylor. Trent Baalke wants Press Taylor out. Doug Pederson wants to keep Press Taylor around. Power struggle? We’ll find out.— Dilla (@E_Dilla) January 10, 2024
Though he isn’t a credentialed media member, Dilla has a strong track record when it comes to breaking news and team rumors. After his tweet, and now Breer’s mailbag, keep your eyes out for more leaks on behind-the-scenes action at the offices in Miller Electric Center.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.