The Jaguars could be in for a big day on both sides of the football on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
If the Jacksonville Jaguars put up another 26 points on the scoreboard on Sunday in their game against the Carolina Panthers, more than likely the headlines will preach the success of the running game or the continued progress of a rookie at the helm under center.
In reality, none of this would be possible if not for the direction of offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. Last Sunday’s game in Denver was a testament to the adjustments the game plan and how “Flip” was able to use the running game so effectively even while the team was down 11 points at the half.
Now, he and his players face another challenge in Carolina, where the Panthers are looking to get over the .500 mark just like the black and teal and make some noise in their division.
This is as much of a statement game for the coaching staff as it is for the players. Three straight wins could change the direction of this franchise and prove the offensive side of the ball could become one of the better units in the NFL – something that wasn’t even thought of last season.
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Of course, there are plenty of factors that play into the game on Sunday. And with many analysts making predictions for the outcome of the game, I thought I’d come up with a few bold ones of my own.
This is also the week for the running game to once again shine, given the knee injury to Gardner Minshew. Look for DeFilippo to keep Gardner Minshew’s work simple by letting the run set up the pass.
This could mean the Jaguars run up and down the field in Charlotte, which will eat up the clock and keep the defense on the sideline and fresh. I loved the multiple sets the offense ran with different blocking schemes that worked in Denver. Look for that to continue again this week.
I don’t think Fournette approaches 200 yards on the ground, but he will exceed 100 yards and Armstead will get more chances to carry the football. Last week the rookie scored on a pass play. This week he gets at least one running the football.
Yannick’s breakout game – As he needs one. Yannick Ngakoue has battled a hamstring injury early this season and hasn’t done much to distinguish himself on this defense, yet. The Jaguars did not get a sack last week, which is concerning. But as Marrone explained, each game is different.
"“So each week it’s a different challenge. I think that when you are a team that people know that could get after the passer, there’s going to be a lot of focus, a lot of scheme put into that game of making sure that you don’t have it, Marrone said when he met with the media on Wednesday.“Because when we do create turnovers, when we do get sacks, it kind of just comes in bunches for us. So I think there’s a big thing that people do scheming-wise, and getting the ball out quick and we’ve got to keep doing better.”"
Taking it to the house, twice – So much has been discussed this week about Jalen Ramsey that no one is paying attention to his teammate and tag team partner A.J. Bouye. What if Bouye has a career day against the Panthers?
Both D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel are young wide receivers who line up on the outside for Carolina. I’ll be interested to see if Tre Herndon gets some help in coverage this week if he has to replace Ramsey once again in the lineup. But the afternoon could belong to Bouye, who not only gets two interceptions on the day, but he returns them twice for touchdowns.
When Marrone spoke to the media on Wednesday and discussed blocking Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, he said the team needs to do a solid job in the running game and passing game to prevent him from scoring. That might mean changing the defensive philosophy a bit.
"“So he’s a very, very talented player, really can do a lot of things. They’re going to find ways to get him the football. We understand that and we just have to make sure that we have a lot of people around him because he’s very difficult to bring down,” Marrone said."