Receiving the Blame: Why the Jaguars Couldn’t Pass the Ball in 2011.

 

Black and Teal editor Luke Sims painstakingly pored through the Jaguars’ receivers over the last few years and I’m sure there were a couple readers who could barely hold back tears as they read it.

It looks like Tebow read the article too. Source: imgross.org

Nobody who watched the team in 2011 would disagree that a lack of talent at wide receiver was a significant reason the Jaguars could not move the ball down the field consistently last season. But who else was to blame for the historically anemic pass offense? Find out after the jump.

 

There are really two perspectives necessary to break down how the Jaguars ended up with the 32nd ranked passing attack last year: macroscopic and microscopic.

Macroscopic:

Struggling Rookie Quarterback+Bad Receivers +Underachieving tight end = 136.2 yards/game.

Wait, so the two positions that are most involved in the passing game are to blame? No way…

In this case, figuring out why the Jaguars couldn’t connect on a lot of passes doesn’t take a lot of research. And since not doing research is what the national media does best, every broadcaster/analyst with a keyboard or microphone harped on one thing: Blaine’s lack of pocket presence.

We have an entire offseason to discuss Blaine so we’ll leave that topic for later. But the reality is that the combination of the quarterback and receivers could not produce for one reason or another.

Marcedes needs to forget whatever he learned during MMA training last offseason. Even his sweet new crotch-catching technique, seen here. Source: rantsports.com

 

But was it really just a lack of talent that created the worst passing offense in the NFL? The Rams had a similar array of talent at wide receiver and averaged almost 45 more yards/game through the air. The Redskins’ offense was spearheaded by the likes of Rex Grossman and Jabar Gaffney, and they averaged almost 100 yards/game more. The Jaguars had an almost identical group of skill players in 2010, and they averaged over 50 yards/game more passing. Was David Garrard really that much better than Blaine Gabbert?

Microscopic:

 New Quarterback + Short offseason + Old Scheme = Sad Jaguar Fans.

The answer to the previous question is yes – David was much better than Blaine in 2010. With that said, Blaine was thrown into a tough spot as a rookie after the Jaguars released Garrard before the start of the season. Even though Luke McCown became the starter, Blaine taking over was inevitable.  Unfortunately for the Jaguars, the week before the season opener doesn’t provide enough time to install a new offense.

It was the hat all along. If only Blaine had a stylin' fedora! Source: ology.com

Now the old adage is “players not plays,” but in this case I believe the scheme was geared too much towards Garrard’s weaknesses for Blaine to come in and immediately be effective. If you read any scouting report on Garrard, one thing that always comes up is his lack of anticipation. He wasn’t an anticipation thrower – he needed to see a receiver open before he threw the ball. Seeing this as a limitation, Dirk Koetter constructed an offense that featured David’s strength and ability to extend the pocket, while masking his inability to lead receivers through their routes.

When Gene drafted Blaine, he saw a completely different player. He was watching a quarterback who could stand in the pocket, anticipate receivers coming open, and make every NFL throw. But with no offseason and poor coaching, Blaine was forced to try and take the skills and instincts he had honed in a spread offense in college to a completely different scheme in the NFL. In addition to having better talent around them, this is why Andy Dalton and Cam Newton were so successful their rookie years compared to Blaine – better coaching coupled with a more friendly scheme.

The good news for Jaguar fans is that there are a lot of new things approaching on the horizon: a new coach, a new scheme, and a revamped receiving core. If Blaine can make some strides in 2012, we might be able to forget just how ineffective the offense was in 2011.

 

-Daniel Lago

 

Topics: Blaine Gabbert, David Garrard, Dirk Koetter, Gene Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars, Luke McCown, Marcedes Lewis, Off Season

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  • Cadams2691

    I really liked the artical the off gamplan being garrards weakness makes since but doesn’t explain luke not doing as good he’s been here long enough to know the offense Blaine was still a rookie ne way he didn’t even get an offseason with the team I just believe we where so predictable in almost every situation it was give it to mjd or throw a ball that can’t get the first with receivers who can’t catch and u have mjd playing against 8 men in the box and still takeing the rushing title and not getting the num one spot in pro bowl to ray rice lol bs

  • Cadams2691

    This is not an attack on blaine I believe he can be our QB 5 things he needs to get down that people don’t talk about one being he has to take leadership he needs to get that flair from his team u see under tom brady drew brees aaron rodgers to do this he needs to gain mjds respect because u gain his the team will Come around. Second he has to work crazy hard on the 2 min offense we saw it fall apart way to many times 3 he needs to cover up the ball when the pocket cocollapses way to many fumbles 4 he has to become a houdini with the ball in the play action because the play action is the basis of a good run offense 5 he has to learn to read nfl level defenses they call manning a field general for nothing look at what ne good Qb does on the field.

  • Cadams2691

    I really liked the artical the off gamplan being garrards weakness makes since but doesn’t explain luke not doing as good he’s been here long enough to know the offense Blaine was still a rookie ne way he didn’t even get an offseason with the team I just believe we where so predictable in almost every situation it was give it to mjd or throw a ball that can’t get the first with receivers who can’t catch and u have mjd playing against 8 men in the box and still takeing the rushing title and not getting the num one spot in pro bowl to ray rice lol bs

  • Cadams2691

    This is not an attack on blaine I believe he can be our QB 5 things he needs to get down that people don’t talk about one being he has to take leadership he needs to get that flair from his team u see under tom brady drew brees aaron rodgers to do this he needs to gain mjds respect because u gain his the team will Come around. Second he has to work crazy hard on the 2 min offense we saw it fall apart way to many times 3 he needs to cover up the ball when the pocket cocollapses way to many fumbles 4 he has to become a houdini with the ball in the play action because the play action is the basis of a good run offense 5 he has to learn to read nfl level defenses they call manning a field general for nothing look at what ne good Qb does on the field.

  • dlago89

    @Cadams2691 Yeah you make a good point about Luke McCown. I think Gene and the coaches knew that it was going to be a rough go-of-it on offense and they didn’t want to throw Blaine in the fire right away. But then McCown had a historically bad game against the Jets and they decided to just go for it. And it’s good you believe in Blaine – if you’re a Jags fan you should believe in him. He’s our QB and he’s going to determine how far this team goes in the next few years.

  • Cadams2691

    @dlago89 oh deff if ne jags fans have seen him play and see the ablity to put the ball places at his age and experience its electric its crazy give him time and weapons and we have a potential star and its showing alot for gene smith

  • dlago89

    @Cadams2691 Yeah you make a good point about Luke McCown. I think Gene and the coaches knew that it was going to be a rough go-of-it on offense and they didn’t want to throw Blaine in the fire right away. But then McCown had a historically bad game against the Jets and they decided to just go for it. And it’s good you believe in Blaine – if you’re a Jags fan you should believe in him. He’s our QB and he’s going to determine how far this team goes in the next few years.

  • Cadams2691

    @dlago89 oh deff if ne jags fans have seen him play and see the ablity to put the ball places at his age and experience its electric its crazy give him time and weapons and we have a potential star and its showing alot for gene smith

  • Rhett_Chrystal

    this is great

  • Rhett_Chrystal

    this is great

  • LukeNSims

    @Cadams2691@dlago89 The kid has got to put in the work though. I think he has the work ethic and is inspired after a terrible first season. He’ll want to get better. He’s calm and understands what is expected and there will be a plan in place to help him get there. He’s young, but he’ll mature (hopefully quickly).

  • http://www.blackandteal.com/ LukeNSims

    @Cadams2691@dlago89 The kid has got to put in the work though. I think he has the work ethic and is inspired after a terrible first season. He’ll want to get better. He’s calm and understands what is expected and there will be a plan in place to help him get there. He’s young, but he’ll mature (hopefully quickly).

  • KeenanJ

    I think last years offensive struggles was, as you are indicating in this article, a collective fail by all those involved. The person I think deserves the least amount of blame, at least in my opinion, is Dirk. I understand what you’re saying about the scheme being geared to David Garrard’s weakness but that shouldn’t have been enough to limit the amount of success Blaine should’ve been able to have within it. With Garrard’s limitations and the offensive scheme being simplified to match them, Blaine’s strength’s should’ve made it easier for him to find success. It’s pretty much a ground and pound, dink and dunk, quick pass type offense. It’s not going to get much simpler than that and if Blaine can’t do well within that type of system, what is to make us believe he can do better in a more complicated scheme? I think the biggest downfall of the offense was Blaine’s inexperience and as he gets more experience, the offense will begin to operate smoother, regardless of the scheme.

  • KeenanJ

    I think last years offensive struggles was, as you are indicating in this article, a collective fail by all those involved. The person I think deserves the least amount of blame, at least in my opinion, is Dirk. I understand what you’re saying about the scheme being geared to David Garrard’s weakness but that shouldn’t have been enough to limit the amount of success Blaine should’ve been able to have within it. With Garrard’s limitations and the offensive scheme being simplified to match them, Blaine’s strength’s should’ve made it easier for him to find success. It’s pretty much a ground and pound, dink and dunk, quick pass type offense. It’s not going to get much simpler than that and if Blaine can’t do well within that type of system, what is to make us believe he can do better in a more complicated scheme? I think the biggest downfall of the offense was Blaine’s inexperience and as he gets more experience, the offense will begin to operate smoother, regardless of the scheme.

  • LukeNSims

    @KeenanJ I agree with a lot about what you’ve said of Dirk Koetter (even though I’ve never been a big fan of his). I think the problem with his scheming, and he was brought in to do this, was his constant attempts to elongate the passing the game and make it go vertical. A worthy goal in itself to try and make more explosive plays possible, but one that never truly matched the Jags personnel (as you commented on another post). It just wasn’t a good match.

  • dlago89

    @KeenanJ I definitely wouldn’t say Dirk was the most culpable, but there’s a reason he wasn’t brought back or promoted to interim coach. I disagree about the premise that Blaine should have been able to grasp the scheme because of it’s simplicity. The Garrard offense was based on play-action and “run-and-stop” routes, while Blaine was coming out of the spread where it was a quick throw, first read offense. They’re just so fundamentally different, it’s hard to expect a 22 year old kid to come in and perform if you don’t cater to what he already does well. And you couldn’t be more correct about the experience factor – this offseason should do wonders for him.

  • dlago89

    @LukeNSims@KeenanJ Agreed. If any coach could have come in and had a successful vertical passing game with this group of receivers… I want to meet that man.

  • http://www.blackandteal.com/ LukeNSims

    @KeenanJ I agree with a lot about what you’ve said of Dirk Koetter (even though I’ve never been a big fan of his). I think the problem with his scheming, and he was brought in to do this, was his constant attempts to elongate the passing the game and make it go vertical. A worthy goal in itself to try and make more explosive plays possible, but one that never truly matched the Jags personnel (as you commented on another post). It just wasn’t a good match.

  • dlago89

    @KeenanJ I definitely wouldn’t say Dirk was the most culpable, but there’s a reason he wasn’t brought back or promoted to interim coach. I disagree about the premise that Blaine should have been able to grasp the scheme because of it’s simplicity. The Garrard offense was based on play-action and “run-and-stop” routes, while Blaine was coming out of the spread where it was a quick throw, first read offense. They’re just so fundamentally different, it’s hard to expect a 22 year old kid to come in and perform if you don’t cater to what he already does well. And you couldn’t be more correct about the experience factor – this offseason should do wonders for him.

  • dlago89

    @LukeNSims@KeenanJ Agreed. If any coach could have come in and had a successful vertical passing game with this group of receivers… I want to meet that man.

  • Cadams2691

    @LukeNSims @dlago89 he has to get some serious leadership tho he was kinda leaning on mjd this season but he’s the qb I love mjd but all players should rally around there qb at his age he needs to have his team backing him in order to fire them up

  • Cadams2691

    @LukeNSims @dlago89 he has to get some serious leadership tho he was kinda leaning on mjd this season but he’s the qb I love mjd but all players should rally around there qb at his age he needs to have his team backing him in order to fire them up

  • KeenanJ

    I too agree, it just wasn’t a good match. I think we’ll see the real Dirk now that he’s with Atlanta.

  • KeenanJ

    @dlago89 I didn’t factor in the scheme Blaine played in college when giving my assessment of the situation, thus, you are correct. With no offseason, it is unrealistic to think he could’ve come in do any better than what he did.

  • KeenanJ

    I too agree, it just wasn’t a good match. I think we’ll see the real Dirk now that he’s with Atlanta.

  • KeenanJ

    @dlago89 I didn’t factor in the scheme Blaine played in college when giving my assessment of the situation, thus, you are correct. With no offseason, it is unrealistic to think he could’ve come in do any better than what he did.

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