The Jacksonville Jaguars need to stretch the field and keep the Kansas City Chiefs defense nervous with the possibility of big passes.
Blake Bortles‘ struggles have led the Jacksonville Jaguars offense away from the big play identity it developed in 2015. Wide receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns were formidable big play threats last season but have dropped off in 2016.
Still, 2015’s big play successes can keep the Kansas City Chiefs nervous in Week 9. With new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett hopefully trying to keep the offense more balanced, the Jaguars could bump their 16th ranked deep passing attack back up.
This, of course, requires better play at quarterback and better play from receivers Robinson and Hurns as well as tight end Julius Thomas and receiver Marqise Lee. The Jags led the NFL in deep pass attempts, completions, and yards last season but simply haven’t been able to connect in 2016.
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With a new throwing motion to focus on, it may seem wise to play it safe with Bortles. Personally, I think they should try and go big again. The time to take shots is against a tougher team and prove the quarterback struggles don’t mean the Jags need to play it safe and cautious. The Jags have looked too tight at times this season as compared to the fast and loose play from the year before.
Bortles definitely needs to get back to form but he also needs to be given a bit of free reign to play his Brett Favre-style. He’s a gunslinger quarterback whose strengths (including his big arm) shouldn’t be ignored simply because the Jacksonville Jaguars are afraid of turnovers or possible regression.
Developing a quarterback is a long process that requires time. It also requires taking risks as well as bringing some things along slowly. It’s up to Hackett to find that balance. Hopefully he won’t abandon the deep pass like Olson seemed to do earlier in the season.