The Jacksonville Jaguars have completed the first quarter of the season with a 2-2 record. Surprisingly, this record is a bit of a disappointment. The up and down play of the team is baffling. Consistency would be a plus but fans want them to be like the Jags of games one and three and not like games two and four.
The Jaguars are tied at 2-2 at the end of the first quarter of play. This record would have been a reason for celebration prior to the start of the season. Expectations were lower then. However, the first game against the Houston Texans gave the fans hope for more. The highs and lows are disheartening one week and hopeful the next. Where do the Jags go from here?
The next four games
The next five weeks consist of two home games, two away games, and a bye. That will complete the second quarter. The good Jaguars will have a 2-2 or 3-1 record at the end of quarter number two. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, and Cincinnati Bengals struggled to start the season in some areas. The Los Angeles Rams are off to a good start. However, they are still the Los Angeles Rams. Each of these games are winnable. Expect the Steelers, Colts, and Bengals to improve during quarter two. The Rams may come back to earth.
AREAS TO IMPROVE
There are three areas the Jaguars must improve to continue to compete each week. First, the defense must slow the opponents running game. Next, Bortles must play better. Finally the offensive play calling and correct use of personnel must improve.
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The Jaguars defense is first in sacks and pass defense to lead the NFL. Unfortunately they are ranked dead last in stopping the run. Their aggressive play makes the defense great against the pass but leaves gaps that allow opposing runners huge holes up the middle. No doubt adjustments will be made.
Next, Blake Bortles must play better. This problem is old news. The coordinator must call plays that help him succeed. It remains possible that he needs to be replaced.
Finally, there must be more successful passes on first and second down. The running game is very good but the eight man fronts will begin to take a toll. A successful passing game will open up the run. Leonard Fournette is an excellent short yardage back and should be in the game in short yardage situations.
The Jaguars scored against the Jets during the first set of plays. It was a top notch drive. Also, the defense stopped the Jets at first. Then the Jets had a long run for a score. The Jaguars looked and acted shell shocked. This deer in the headlights attitude sent Bortles into a downward spiral and the team never recovered. Someone on the team must step it up when bad things happen.
I think the defense against the run will continue to improve without sacrificing the great pass defense. In addition, I think the offensive staff will improve play calling and put the best personnel on the field for each play. Bortles is Bortles. There are many players from top teams on the Jaguars. One or more of them will step into a leadership role.