The Jacksonville Jaguars are in flux and the guy with the tough task of turning things around is newly promoted offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
This won’t be Nathaniel Hackett’s first run as an NFL offensive coordinator and, surprisingly, the mediocre numbers he posted with the Buffalo Bills in 2013 and 2014 could be an improvement. Greg Olson is gone and head coach Gus Bradley is trying to save his job and the rest of the coaching staffs’.
A disproportionate amount of that responsibility appears to be on the offensive coordinator. After owner Shad Khan opted not to make a change at head coach it wasn’t shocking to see Olson shown the door. Now, with the offense needing an overhaul, it falls to Hackett to make it work with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Bringing in a QB coach for struggling third-year quarterback Blake Bortles is big. Bortles expects immediate improvement with his throwing motion which would be huge for the offense. Getting the running game going is the next big piece.
As pointed out by Daniel Lago, the running backs have been below average. Neither Lago nor Pro Football Focus (on which his piece is based) jump all over the atrocious run blocking from the offensive line, but that is also a contributing factor. Getting the 30th ranked rushing attack going will do wonders for the offense and will require a full-overhaul of the offense.
Fortunately, according to the AP’s Mark Long, Hackett is taking control with gusto. Bortles is buying in and calling Hackett a spark plug, saying:
"I thought guys were fired up. I think Nathaniel’s done a really good job and kind of being a spark plug, getting the offense going. He’s obviously done a really good job with the plan, putting it together, and then getting everybody to buy into it and making sure everybody has an understanding of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it."
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The Jags desperately need someone to act as a catalyst for the offense. It may not be fair to see a major jump from the decrepit Olson offense, but it may be wise to expect the Jags to begin creeping up the rankings. Hackett had a top-two rushing attack in 2013 and his 2014 passing offense was at least middle of the road (18th in yards). He could get the Jags inching toward respectability at least.
With half a season to put in the work, Hackett is auditioning for an expanded role either with the Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff in the future or elsewhere. With offensive line/assistant head coach Doug Marrone waiting in the wings to pounce on Bradley’s job, Hackett could end up in a strong negotiating position with the Jags if he can demonstrate progress.
It’ll be exciting to see what he can do. The Jags offense can literally only go up from here.