Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has already had an impact on how the offense is taking shape for the 2020 NFL season.
After looking at the roster and the coaching staff, the biggest addition to this franchise was offensive coordinator Jay Gruden who walks into a situation where he can make an immediate impact with a team struggling to score points.
Before his time as head coach in Washington, Gruden was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. His relationship with tight end Tyler Eifert was one of the reasons the free agent agreed to terms here in Jacksonville.
Chris Thompson, who played for Gruden in Washington, also has a familiarity with the offense the Jaguars will run this season. If both players can come in and contribute right away, given the team already has quarterback Gardner Minshew, running back Leonard Fournette and wide receiver DJ Chark, things may look a lot brighter this coming season.
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Let’s hope the transition from the offense last season to this one will be as smooth. There wasn’t a lot to be excited about in 2019, especially in the red zone. But a change in direction and a commitment to a more passing-oriented offense could make things interesting once again.
Remember, the Jaguars are two seasons removed from being a top 10 scoring team in the NFL. Some could argue the parts that are in place are better and have a greater chance of being successful. For Gruden, it’s still a growing process with his new players and coaches.
“I think you have to cater to the guys you have, and right now we’re still working through what type of team we’re going to be,” Gruden said.
Bringing in Eifert for this offense does a few things. First, it gives the team a solid receiving threat at the position. It also gives Marrone another weapon on the roster to help Minshew. Third, he helps the red zone offense which was dreadful last season.
“Me and Coach Gruden go back like seven or eight years. We get along great. I have a good understanding for the offense that he runs and a good feel for it,” Eifert said last week when he met with the local media via Zoom.
“I was in the same city for seven years, but we probably had four or five different offensive coordinators. Learning a new offense can be challenging at times. You feel like you are never going to get it. Eventually, over time and all the reps, it clicks. Having that familiarity with the offense is really nice.”
The last time the Jacksonville Jaguars had a Pro Bowl tight end was 2010 when Marcedes Lewis was honored. There is a chance for Eifert to impress enough to get a nod to Orlando.
Thompson told the media on Tuesday he was excited to be coming back to Florida (he played college ball at FSU) and to work with Gruden again.
“He is one of the biggest reasons I was able to have the success that I had in Washington and to be able to stick around there,” Thompson said.
“Throughout this whole process and all my time there in Washington, he believed in me. He gave me every single opportunity that he possibly could. Me coming here to Jacksonville with him being one of, I guess, two guys — with [Tyler] Eifert also — being familiar with his offense. It is good for me and him to be able to help the younger guys be able to grasp this offense and know what Jay is expecting from his playmakers.”
Just by making those kinds of adjustments to the roster, the Jacksonville Jaguars appear to be better on paper. Hopefully with Gruden’s guidance that will translate to an improvement on the playing field as well in 2020.