Evan Engram refutes report of Jaguars going through the motions in 2023

• The Jaguars had a favorable chance to make the playoffs in 2023

• They came crashing down at the end of the season

• Evan Engram disagrees that effort might've been an issue

Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17) celebrates his touchdown against the Tennessee
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17) celebrates his touchdown against the Tennessee / Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA

The Jacksonville Jaguars went 8-3 to start the 2023 regular season but only managed to win one game the rest of the way. While there were many reasons for their collapse, a lack of communication between the coaching staff and players, at least on the defensive side of the ball, seemingly played a role. On top of that, Demetrius Harvey of the Florida Times-Union recently reported that practices were also less than ideal.

Harvey says that Jaguars practices in the second half of the 2023 season were not a full speed. Instead, they focused on "alignment, assignment, and communication."

The Jaguars had a 99 percent chance of making the playoffs after beating the Houston Texans in Week 12. However, they went on to lose four straight and five overall in the last six weeks. Even when they entered the finale, all they had to do was take care of business against the Tennessee Titans and they would've been in. They lost.

If the Jaguars didn't practice full speed around that time, it would explained why they were severely outplayed late in the season. Their only win came against the paltry Carolina Panthers, who were 2-14 at the time of the bout.

On the other hand, this approach would've kind of made sense when you take into account that several starters, such as cornerback Tyson Campbell, and Trevor Lawrence, were dealing with significant injuries. That said, tight end Evan Engram caught wind of Harvey's report and refuted it.

While Engram set personal bests for catches in a season in 2023, the rest of the team wasn't as successful. But that doesn't mean he's going to throw them under the bus. Of course, he's going to stand up for his teammates and would push against anything that implies they weren't giving a full effort.

Something was wrong with the Jaguars, they're taking the steps to improve

Mia O'Brien of 1010 XL recently revealed that defensive Ryan Nielsen found out that players on his side of the ball didn't discuss alignments and communication between position groups was non-existent with his predecessor, Mike Caldwell, at the helm. Add Demetrius Harvey's report, and there was no sense of direction or purpose.

In a separate tweet, Harvey suggests that players deserve some of the blame and his right. However, coaches are supposed to put them in a position to succeed. For the sake of argument, let's say that players were going through the motions, where was head coach Doug Pederson in all this? Why wasn't he asking offensive coordinator Press Taylor and defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell to rally the troops?

Not everything was doom and gloom, though. There were some individual efforts. Evan Engram kept showing out even when the Jaguars were losing. Josh Allen was also giving his best to end the year and even set a new franchise record for sacks in a season. However, it didn't carry over to the rest of the team.

On the bright side, Pederson realized that his approach didn't work and vowed to be more hands-on next season. And that's the thing, the Jaguars were talented enough to make the playoffs even when you take injuries into account. That they came crashing down is a reflection on Pederson and his staff.

The silver lining is that after their 2023 collapse, the Jaguars have been operating with a sense of urgency. They know the feeling of being eliminated from playoff contention isn't a pleasant one and they're doing their best to ensure it doesn't happen again.

More Jaguars analysis here: