It’s no secret the Jacksonville Jaguars struggled on first and second down last season, here are some ways the Jags can improve moving forward.
The Jaguars converted 78 of 221 attempts on third down. The average distance on third down was between five to seven yards. This led to an overall inability to effectively convert on third down. As a result the Jags offense stalled and at times was unable to produce points. Improving on first and second down will help improve the conversion attempts.
One of the first ways to find help was when the Jaguars drafted running back Leonard Fournette with the fourth overall pick. The Jags are likely to heavily feature the rookie back this season giving him every opportunity to make plays. Fournette has the toughness and ability to change the average rush attempt from 3.7 yards a raise it. The Jags should use Fournette skill set to improve on early downs.
Another way to improve on early downs is to get the wide receivers involved. From Allen Robinson, Marquise lee, and rookie Dede Westbrook all round out one of the Jags stronger units. Short slant routes and screens are a few ways to game plan and make sure these players get the ball early. Creating opportunities for these dynamic athletes will help elevate the play of the offense.
A final way the Jags can improve on first and second down is play calling. Nathaniel Hackett took over control of the offense last season but at time still felt out of sync. Several series saw repeated play calls. As a result the Jags fell behind and became predictable in their play calls in attempts to catch up. Making the most of the offensive talent with balanced play calling will help keep defenses on their toes and also create opportunities for the offense.
The Jags have had a long offseason. Making the most out of first and second down should be a priority this season. A strong rookie running back, experienced wide receivers, and unpredictable play calling will all help ensure the Jags improve on early downs.