From an outside perspective, a season may seem like the blink of an eye but 17 games are more than enough time for NFL teams that got off to a slow start to put it all together and finish strong. Conversely, clubs that were seemingly poised to contend can come crashing down in that span. Either way, the point is that it's hard to tell how things will play out based on a one or two-game sample and that's true for every club, including the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are currently 1-1 after falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2.
Heading into the season, the Jags were seen as a candidate to make a strong playoff push. It looked like they were the real deal following their win over the Indianapolis Colts in the opener. Then, the Chiefs loss came and some cracks in their plan for the 2023 season came to light. In particular, a handful of decisions the team's brass made earlier this year don't look particularly great two games into the season.
While there are reasons to believe said decisions were bad, it's too early to come up with a verdict. In fact, the case can be made that they'll eventually pay off. With that in mind, here are four decisions that currently look dreadful but have the potential to be pretty good.
4. Not making upgrades on the Jaguars interior offensive line
The Jaguars interior offensive line has been less than stellar the past two games. Left guard Ben Bartch, center Luke Fortner and right guard have all struggled in both pass protection and opening lanes in the running game. In Bartch's case, he missed most of the offseason while he recovered from a knee injury he suffered last year, so he may need a bit of time to hit his stride.
On the other hand, both right guard Brandon Scherff and center Luke Fortner were dealing with ankle injuries heading into Week 2, so there's a reason to believe they'll get bounce back once they're 100 percent healthy.
This begs the question, why did Scherff and Fortner suit up if they weren't a full-go? The reason is simple. They could've gone with veteran Tyler Shatley but the coaching staff knows that there's a dropoff, so they went with Scherff knowing he gave them a better chance to win. This raises another question, why didn't they bolster their depth in the offseason?
The Jaguars could've added an experienced guard in the offseason, someone like Dalton Risner who just joined the Minnesota Vikings. Similarly, they could've used a draft pick on an offensive guard. O'Cyrus Torrence went to the Buffalo Bills in Round 2 and Jacksonville could've gotten him if they wanted to. Instead, they rolled with the same group from last year.
In retrospect, this decision doesn't look great but it shouldn't be a cause for concern yet. As noted before, neither Scherff nor Fortner were 100 percent versus the Chiefs. Furthermore, Bartch did fine in the opener. On the off chance they continue to struggle, the Jaguars could then decide to make a few moves. Coincidentally, they'll get Cam Robinson back from a suspension after Week 4 and Cooper Hodges will be eligible to return after starting the season on Injured Reserve.
The Jaguars could move Walker Little — the sole bright spot in the offensive trenches — to left guard, plug Robinson in at left tackle, and insert Hodges at right guard. That said, those moves won't be necessary if the current group manages to bounce back in the upcoming weeks.