There’s been lots of angst among the fans about who to blame, who to fire, etc. but, sometimes it isn’t one thing, it’s a whole lot of things. However, it’s easy to look at this team with the same coaches from last season and almost the same defensive roster and think, what happened?
Some missteps could be seen, but oftentimes there’s not much you can do to fix them. I’ve listed the misstep or mistake or unforeseen circumstance that has lead us here.
16 reasons why the Jags struggled.
- Blake Bortles. For his team friendly deal, they really had no choice but to keep him because of the free agents and their price tags that were available. Do you see Case Keenum being an upgrade at the same price? They could’ve drafted a rookie, but that would’ve for sure sent them back. Look around, how are they doing? Granted, the Jags are 3-5, doing as poorly as the drafted teams; however, who saw that coming?
- If the defense gave up after the offense stumbled week 3, then that’s on coaching and the fact we keep seeing such a disconnect in the linebacking and secondary goes to coaching. But it also goes to losing Paul Posluszny. No, he didn’t play a lot, but he was a leader and when he was out there, the defense knew what they were doing.
- Myles Jack was moved inside to Poz’s spot and there hasn’t been the same production. We’re missing an edge guy. Leon Jacobs hasn’t filled that role, Telvin Smith, either. There’s a void at the LB position that’s affecting the entire defense. An unseen outcome?
- Losing Aaron Colvin hurt, too because that changed the DB dynamic, but that was a cap issue and one they thought DJ Hayden and Tyler Patmon could fill. Unseen? Maybe.
- Last season, Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue and Malik Jackson had sacks because of two reasons: the DB’s playing man, shutting down the WR’s/TE’s and a legit edge guy that made Olines change their assignments. The lines losing their gap integrity allowed those three to barrel through.
- An offense that kept them on the field too long, lead to injuries and apathy. This should have been seen once they realized they had no receiving stars. That’s a front office fail.
- Too much zone because of injuries. The defense has seen DJ Hayden miss weeks, Tre Herndon, AJ Bouye and Tyler Patmon and a time or two Jalen Ramsey was also on the injury report.
- Man takes far more energy than zone. Zone takes more communication and trust. Trust that comes from spending lots of time together as a unit, not having a hodgepodge. That’s the issue Jacksonville has in the back half – there has been no continuity which leads to good communication and trust. The most crucial elements needed to play zone.
- Tashaun Gibson and Barry Church have been silent, Gibson was injured weeks ago and while he’s not on the injury report, he could be dealing with a power zapping ailment. Church showed he’s no longer invested in the team after his London outing.
- Jacksonville’s claim to fame was how fast they played. Have you seen that this season? No, but that could go to the injuries. It’s easier to play man when you’ve got a 5th DB out there, not a linebacker in coverage.
- Right now, you’ve got each player kind of doing his own thing on each play, a combo of man/zone and it’s not working. That goes to coaching.
- As far as offense, beyond Bortles, they lost their star WR in Marquis Lee and then their number one running back and number one tight end. Not until Carlos Hyde was brought in were any of those holes filled. That’s on Doug Marrone or Dave caldwell or Tom Coughin. One them thought these three holes were ok. It wasn’t.
- When you’ve been through four left tackles and the remaining O-Lineman are the walking wounded, bad things happen to mediocre quarterbacks. Add no weapons and I think even good QB’s would fail. To me though, broken record here, the lack of tight ends was the worst fail of all. Against the Colts was the first time we saw just what has been missing.
- The Jags lost their power back, and three tight ends, but didn’t use Tommy Bohanon more. That’s on Nate Hackett. A run-first team without the run needs a FB. In addition, a team built for the run, put a passing game on Bortles and then gave him no weapons.
- With all that said, the D-Line has been the most disappointing. Sure, sacks are splashy, but stopping the run is crucial and they’ve been failing at it. If teams can run the ball, they don’t turn the ball over, they can win. Is Campbell dealing with an injury most of the season why? If so, what isn’t Taven Bryan playing more?
- One or more of those four should be doing something and they’re not. Name one player who week after week is a guy OC’s fear. Granted, with the backend not doing a great job, it’s tougher to get sacks, but maybe if they made bigger pushes, they’d force QB’s to dump the ball quicker, setting up mistakes.
How can this be fixed? The easy answer is, stay healthy. That’s what the team had going their way last season. Since that’s not feasible, it goes to coaching and players taking responsibility for playing their guts out.
Maybe that’s the real culprit. It’s been said the easiest way to not get hurt, is to not play, to not get hurt. Yes, that needs to be re-read. The pursuer is the one hitting instead of being hit, having more control. More control equals less punishment and injuries.
Right now, the players and coaches are getting punched in the mouth from being passive. It’s time this team got proactive, accepted what’s going on, get on the same page and go HIT SOMEBODY. It’s simple, but football is about HIT or BE HIT. Fix that and we could salvage this season.