Jaguars offense needs to carry an inexperienced defense
Is the Jaguars offense good enough to carry the team to some victories?
In 2020, the Jacksonville Jaguars offense must carry the team on its shoulders much as the defense did for many years. The defense has been the stronger unit for many years but losses have decimated the group.
Ideally, a team would want to have the offense and defense carrying an equal amount of weight in wins, but that’s a rarity. My question is, can the offense be good enough to carry the Jaguars in 2020?
The final straw for the dismantling of a once-proud defense came when the trade of Yannick Ngakoue to Minnesota was announced. Although Jacksonville added two defensive linemen in Al Woods and Rodney Gunter neither will be playing this year for health reasons.
Draft choice Davon Hamilton will need to step up and possible-draft-bust Taven Bryan must be better. Journeyman Abry Jones has stepped into a leadership role and the Jags’ edge rushers will be excellent. The linebackers and secondary have solid starters but like the line very limited depth.
The pressure is on Jay Gruden to produce a successful offense. It is very important that the Jaguars offense control the ball and sustain long drives to keep the undermanned defense off the field.
The Jay Gruden offense was described quite well in an article appearing in The Washington Post.
"“It’s a West Coast offense. I think the Grudens have their own patent on their own version of the West Coast offense because they built it so well. But it’s based on running the ball effectively. They’re very physical up front, and three-step, controlled passing. The ball comes out quickly and it’s really hard to get to the quarterback. It’s based on probably a quick read and the balls out quick.“"
That description sounds like the ideal offense for the Jaguars. The running game uses up valuable clock time and the passing game resembles a running game with quick short passes and runs after the catch. The question is. do the Jaguars have the right personnel to run this offense?
Most would have given this an unqualified yes until the waiving of Leonard Fournette. His skills are not those of an NFL back of this era but he had two successful seasons playing behind a less than stellar offensive line, poor play-calling, and constant turmoil. Oddly no effort was made to replace him during the draft or free agency. Maybe they have a secret plan.
Quarterback Gardner Minshew is very intelligent and learns new plays quickly. He has the respect of the team as well. The offensive line has the size and physicality to be effective. They have played together for a year. The Jaguars added a tight end, Tyler Eifert, a critical part of a West Coast offense, and the wide receiver corps is performing well in training camp.
There are more questions than answers about the Jaguars right now. Can the young defense come together quickly? Can the quarterback continue to evolve? Will the hire of Jay Gruden pay dividends? Will the depleted running back group surprise us? Stay tuned.