The 2023 season didn't go the way the Jacksonville Jaguars hoped. Following a 6-2 start, they lost six games in the last nine weeks and missed the postseason after being knocked out by the Tennessee Titans in the finale. Meanwhile, the Houston Texans will be playing the Cleveland Browns in Super Wild Card Weekend. But what exactly happened to the Jags?
The front office's failure to address needs in the offseason also held the team back. The players also need to share some of the blame for not executing. Last but not least, coaching certainly played a role in their inability to make the postseason. In fact, the team's brass believed it was one of the biggest reasons. Otherwise, they wouldn't have moved on from defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell and most of the defensive staff.
Having said that, there's only so much coaches can do, and players ultimately need to execute. These five, in particular, failed to come through for the Jaguars in 2023.
5. Ben Bartch, offensive guard
Part of the reason the Jaguars didn't address the guard position last offseason was that they expected Ben Bartch to make a full recovery from a knee injury he suffered in 2022. A fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft, Bartch spent the offseason rehabbing his knee. He returned in time for the opener but struggled to play at a high level. In three starts, he gave up two sacks and nine total pressures.
By Week 4, the Jags had benched Bartch in favor of Tyler Shatley. Following Week 9, the Jags waived Bartch to make room for Ezra Cleveland, whom they acquired from the Minnesota Vikings. Looking back, the Jags might've rushed Bartch back, and they did it because they had no other options. While Shatley is a reliable backup, he's not the kind of player you want in your lineup for an extended period of time.
When the Jags waived Bartch, they signed him to the practice squad. Eventually, the San Francisco 49ers signed him off and is currently taking snaps at center for them ahead of Wild Card Weekend. He should be healthier by now, so he might have a chance to raise his stock before he becomes a free agent in March.