Were the Jaguars too ‘cautious’ on offense?


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The Jacksonville Jaguars lost to the Carolina Panthers 20-9 in their week 1 game to open the 2015 regular season, but the loss is significantly more disheartening than the final score would imply. The Jaguars put together a performance that indicated almost no improvement from the squad that lost 13 games in 2014 and the young players who were supposed to step up and become big-time contributors appeared to be tentative and ill-equipped to deal with what should’ve been a winnable game against an average team.

The real disappointment came with the performance on offense. A unit that showed the ability to move the ball consistently in the preseason was unable to get into a rhythm and convert third downs, and the amount of mistakes on that side of the ball likely cost the Jaguars a shot at winning this game.

Head coach Gus Bradley put the blame squarely on the players, saying they were afraid to make mistakes:

"“As an offense we played very cautiously… We didn’t want to make mistakes. I thought that some of the things that we saw in practice carried over to the preseason. In practice, we saw them do a bunch of really good things. Those things carried over to the preseason games. Our hope and our thought was that it would carry over to the regular season and it didn’t.”– Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley"

Bradley generally doesn’t put his players on blast, but it’s nice to see him put aside his coach speak and put pressure on his young players to step up. Still, I don’t know if the Jaguars were “cautious” on offense, at least early on. Bortles appeared to be willing to throw the ball downfield, attempting 10 passes that traveled more than 15 yards in the air. If not for some costly drops, Bortles would have had a much better looking stat line with those deep passes:

The play calling let Bortles take shots down the field and the offense should have had a few more drives extended if not for some completely indefensible drops. Later on in the game, the Jaguars opted to keep an extra running back or tight end in to block (understandable given the struggles of Sam Young at left tackle) and that limited some of the things the Jaguars could do in the passing game.

There were plenty of reasons the Jaguars failed to produce on offense yet again – hopefully most of the reasons are fixable.

Next: Marks return much needed for Jags

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