The Jacksonville Jaguars failed to live up to expectations one year after winning the AFC South and beating the Los Angeles Chargers in Super Wild Card Weekend. While offensive coordinator Press Taylor has gotten lots of flak for the offense's performance in 2023, many reasons contributed to the team's downfall.
The Jags recognize defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell didn't have his players ready to compete every Sunday, so he rightfully got the boot. They also dismissed a couple of offensive coaches, hoping chances to staff will lead to better results. Having said that, general manager Trent Baalke also played a role in the Jaguars' lackluster end to the season. While he hit it out of the ballpark by signing Brandon McManus and drafting Anton Harrison, Baalke also had a handful of blunders.
Some of the moves Baalke made last offseason could still pan out, but it's fair to say that these three mistakes held the Jaguars back in 2023.
3. Not properly addressing the left guard position
Ben Bartch found his way, a fourth-round pick in 2020, progressively got better and eventually found his way into the starting lineup. He entered the 2022 season as the starter at left guard but dislocated a knee injury that cut his year short. The expectation was that he was going to make a full recovery and be back in time for the 2023 opener. Although the former St. John Johnny did manage to return, he wasn't at full strength and was eventually benched.
Tyler Shatley and Walker Little took turns at left guard before the Jaguars traded for Ezra Cleveland at the deadline. However, injuries to both Little and Cleveland kept a revolving door at the position. Had the Jaguars added depth in the offseason, it wouldn't have probably been an issue. Waiting for Bartch to get back wasn't inherently a bad decision. The issue was that the Jaguars didn't have a backup plan in place.
Dalton Risner spent most of the offseason unsigned, or Baalke could've traded for Cleveland earlier in the season. Either way, left guard was and is still a question mark.