Love it or Hate it: What went wrong?
By Jason Love
The game against Carolina was extremely disappointing. More disappointing than the Jets game. This was a game that the Jaguars should have won, but didn’t. So we must ask the question: What went wrong?
First: The weather. I know, it’s cliched, but its true. Koetter went almost exclusively to the run when the rain started coming down and didn’t stop pressing the run button until it was too late. While the run worked, generally, it wasn’t enough to score any more points and the conservative play calling due to the weather hurt the Jaguars in the end. The weather also hurt the Jaguars tackling, as witnessed by the punt returns and also the handling of the football, as witnessed by Blaine Gabbert’s snap issues and Matt Turk dropping the ball all by himself.
Second: The Rookie Quarterback. This wasn’t his fault, however, because he was a rookie, Koetter didn’t want to place the game in his hands. The fumbles didn’t help either. He’ll have to be completely let loose in order to beat the Saints this Monday.
Third: Miscues. How many drives were killed because of miscues? Off the top of my head I can think of three drops, one of them being a potential game changer: Jason Hill’s route across the center of the field. Other miscues? Blaine Gabbert’s center/quarterback exchange fumbles. When you run every play in a drive, you can’t squander a play. Maurice Jones-Drew was running it down Carolina’s throat, yet, generally the runs were for around four yards, save a few good runs. When you give away a play and also lose yards, running plays lose their power to milk the clock, as generally a punt is inbound. The Jaguars need to clean this up in a big way.
Fourth: Coaching. Why did the Jaguars become so conservative? I understand that the Jaguars defense was doing a great job stopping Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, but sometimes you need to put the nails in the coffin and finish the other team off. That requires chances being taken. Sometimes a long throw that is intercepted isn’t a bad thing. If you throw it on the opposing team’s side of the field and its intercepted, so what? It’s like a punt. If you were averaging three yards and a cloud of dust, then take the chances downfield. Running draws on third and long at midfield is not a strategy to put opposing teams away. Fate smiles on the bold and the Jaguars were most assuredly not bold this past Sunday.
Fifth: The Jaguars didn’t want to win. They shot themselves in the foot time and again. The team needs to develop a killer instinct, a “finish him” mentality, otherwise teams will find ways to defeat the Jaguars every single time.