Jaguars, it’s time to wake up: Bye week report
The Jaguars head into bye week on a six-game losing streak.
They feel like a team of players who were thrown together for a bowl game during the pre-draft process. There’s no chemistry, there’s no consistency, and they are flooded with inexperience all around.
In week one, the Jaguars got lucky with their win over divisional rival, the Indianapolis Colts. At that point, considering there was no preseason, teams only had tape on each other from the previous season. In the weeks following, the Jaguars’ weaknesses have been drastically exposed and they now sit at the bottom of the AFC South at 1-6, while the Colts are second at 4-2.
When Jacksonville comes out of bye week, everyone is going to be playing for their job. And by everyone, I mean the players, coaches, and even the front office.
What does bye week mean for the Jaguars?
… for the coaches:
Head coach Doug Marrone, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, defensive coordinator Todd Wash— they all need to find a way to step up in the second half of the season, or else they will be gone before the seasons even over.
The coaching staff has easily been the root of the Jaguars’ struggles on both offense and defense. They should be to blame for not getting rookie wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. more involved. He only has 29 receptions for 324 yards and one touchdown on the season. It should be a priority to throw him the ball more.
… for front office/ownership:
The front office has done a decent job in the past few years drafting quality players all around and even signing hidden gems as undrafted free agents (Hint: James Robinson). It’s the free agent-blunders and the trading of star players that are starting to catch up to them.
Just a few years ago, the Jaguars were real AFC contenders with players like Jalen Ramsey, Yannick Ngakoue, Telvin Smith, Dante Fowler Jr., and A.J. Bouye leading the way for them. Now, none of them remain with the team, with Ramsey, and Ngakoue both exiting on their terms, citing a toxic environment in Jacksonville.
When a team trades away players of this kind of caliber, they are most likely tanking, and that’s what many believe owner Shahid Khan is doing—or has been doing for the past two seasons in order to stack up on draft selections. At this point, plenty of fans are hoping the team will tank for quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields.
It must be frustrating as a fan to see little turnaround at this point, but the Cleveland Browns went through this phase as well and I would say it’s been working out for them so far in 2020…
… for the quarterback situation:
Gardner Minshew has been a pleasant surprise for Jacksonville (for the most part) after being selected in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He was forced into action in week one of his rookie year and has essentially been the main man since.
The problem with Minshew is that he’s inconsistent. He continues to struggle with his mechanics, intangibles, awareness, and arm strength. Arm strength isn’t that huge deal. Plenty of quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning have all found a way to be successful while not having a strong arm—it all relies on improving your base.
The biggest thing I noticed from watching game film is that Minshew performs really well in play-action bootleg. The coaches need to become more aware of where their quarterback excels in order to take advantage of him properly leading the offense. Hopefully, following bye week we will see a change in offensive philosophy for the Jaguars.
Moving forward in Jacksonville…
A change needs to happen and soon. Doug Marrone said he plans to become aggressive and that’s just what the Jaguars may need. Gardner Minshew has to perform better and the coaching staff can help by highlighting his strengths. Get Shenault more involved on offense and find a plan to dig the defense out of the bottom five, and sorting out a strategy to better utilize rookie DE K’Lavon Chaisson.