Can the Jaguars offensive and defensive coordinators make changes necessary to win on Sunday?
The Jaguars went to Indianapolis last week with high hopes but lost in less than dramatic fashion. Jacksonville, who played a poor game against the Colts, face another division rival in another must-win game at Tennessee.
The Titans are a team looking to improve their playoff position as well. Can the Jaguars overcome the last two weeks of poor play to get the important road victory?
It appeared to me that the coaching staff believed that the return of Nick Foles would be THE answer to strengthening the offense. But again, the play calling and scheme used was just as disastrous as the game two weeks before in London.
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Essentially, the Jaguars used the passing game on every play and used the run game sparingly. The few (nine) times they did run, it was without a lead blocker. Leonard Fournette and Ryquell Armstead are power backs that need a running lane.
The defense inexplicably returned to the deep zone with a limited pass rush. I don’t why these decisions are made, but they must change in order to succeed.
Enough on the Jaguar woes. Let’s focus on this week’s opponent.
The Titans are 5-5, just ahead of the Jaguars in the AFC South. They have benched quarterback Marcus Mariota in place of Ryan Tannehill, who was acquired from the Miami Dolphins in the off-season. Tannehill has played well and is 3-1 as a starter. He does not appear to be the team’s long-term answer at the position.
Running back Derrick Henry is having a solid year, as Colton Pickard of FanSided.com’s Tenn Truth writes.
"Henry currently has 832 rushing yards through 10 games this season. This puts him on pace to finish the season with 1,331 rushing yards. His highest rushing mark was last season when he rushed for 1,059 yards. The author went on to state that there were games in which he rarely had the ball."
Henry has faced some fan criticism as not being an NFL style running back but this is his break out season. This week with the poor Jaguars run defense, ranked 29th in the NFL, he could have a banner day.
Jaguars Coach Doug Marrone took responsibility for giving up on the running game too soon in Indianapolis. If this team is going to win on Sunday, they must establish a consistent running game early to keep the Colts defense on the field.
"That was my mistake. A big mistake by me…I thought we needed to score more points in a quicker fashion,” he said. “I know Leonard’s frustrated. He wants to make plays and help us win the game.”"
Defensively, Doug Marrone also mentioned involving Josh Allen more in the game. He added a back to basics approach to make sure the team doesn’t press and leave their gaps on defense to make up for missed tackles and players being blocked upfront.
With the team riding a two-game losing streak, John Oehser of Jaguars.com wrote what many fans and the local and national media are thinking. This is a team that needs to concentrate on playing better football and forget about the postseason.
"It’s time to stop talking about the postseason,” he explains. The run defense is a liability. Nick Foles wasn’t the cure-all.”"
It is possible but unlikely that the Jaguars will play in the postseason, so the Jaguars’ brain trust needs to start looking to the future. What do we need? Where do we go from here? And unfortunately, who stays and who goes?