Let’s have a chat about time of possession and first downs for half a second. Like all avid football fans, I know that no matter how explosive an offense is, there still needs to be first downs. As great as it is to get that 99-yard touchdown pass, not all plays can be that great. So, with the inevitable plodding that a team must do they know that they need to find a way to move the chains. Some teams turn to the pass. The Packers and the Patriots have been exceptional at throwing quick slants to take advantage of receiver match-ups. As a result the time of possession for these teams (since many of these catches can turn into big gains) is much lower than a team that turns to the run and are thereby reliant on more explosive plays. Then we have teams that base their offense on the run. The Jaguars are a great example of this. The team flows through its running back. The back sets the tone for the passing game and it is expected that the team hold the ball for a considerable amount of time. If the back does poorly on first down and second down then third down must be a passing down. There is some major room for error, but the goal is to gain a guaranteed 3-5 yards with your back whenever he touches the ball.
So, how is it that a team like the Jaguars can hold the ball for a meager 16:43 in a 60 minute game against the Texans? It was certainly bad line play, but aren’t we all kind of expecting the league rushing champion to do a little bit better even with poor blocking? The guy did face 8-9 man boxes last season after all. Well, unfortunately it looks like the Jags can’t.
There are some serious deficiencies on the offensive line. That is a major problem, because the Jaguars desperately need those 3-5 yards to be effective. In the 16:43 that the Jags did hold the ball, they only managed nine first downs and couldn’t convert a single third down. Third down was never manageable for the Jaguars against the Texans. Maurice Jones-Drew didn’t stand a chance.
I mean some of this to be taken with a grain of salt due to injuries, but the stat sheet and the win/loss column doesn’t care about injuries. Neither does a new owner who desperately wants to win in the NFL. It’ll take time, but the Jaguars need to get the new O-line to gel as soon as possible, because right now the unit isn’t supporting the game-plan and the first downs just aren’t coming. Now if this were an explosive offense….
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims