The Jacksonville Jaguars got off to a solid start to the 2023 season, beating the Indianapolis Colts in the opener. However, they couldn't build on the win and fell to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2. While their defense kept them in the game, the Jags couldn't get anything going offensively and that's reflected in the grade John Breech of CBS Sports gave them.
Breech assigned scores to all NFL teams for their Week 2 performances and he gave Jacksonville a C-, noting that they had several chances to put Kansas City Chiefs but came crashing down. He then highlights the minimal impact wide receiver Calvin Ridley had in the game.
"The Jaguars had their chances in this game, but just couldn't capitalize when it mattered most. A failed fourth down right before halftime gave Mahomes and Co. a short field and set up the first touchdown of the game.Calvin Ridley wasn't a large part of the game plan, as he caught 2 of 8 targets for just 32 yards, while the Jags recorded just 74 total rushing yards. The offense has to be better moving forward if the Jags want to win the division."
The Jags' defense held the Chiefs to seven points in the game. By halftime, things were close but the offense squandered all opportunities they had to score touchdowns and get ahead on the scoreboard. Something that stood out was that Trevor Lawrence went 0-of-7 in the red zone, which is the most attempts in the red zone without a completion since Brett Favre in 2006 against the Detroit Lions.
The rest of the offense wasn't much better. In particular, all non-Walker Little offensive linemen struggled. While Little gave up no pressures, Brandon Scherff, Ben Bartch, Luke Fortner, and Anton Harrison all gave up three each. You can make the case that Lawrence's accuracy was off Sunday but it's hard to complete passes when you have defensive linemen in your face at all times.
Leaving aside the subpar protection Lawrence got, the Jaguars' offensive line also struggled to open holes for the running game. The coaching staff tried to feed Travis Etienne early on but after giving him five carries and producing just eight yards, they scrapped the plan and turned to the passing game.
The Jaguars have enough time to fix things on offense
The Jaguars have a solid plan in place on the offensive line in 2023. Walker Little would step in at left tackle while Cam Robinson serves a four-game suspension to start the season. Left guard Ben Bartch would return to the lineup after rehabbing a knee injury in the offseason. Center Luke Fortner would make strides in Year 2, right guard Brandon Scherff would bounce back and rookie Anton Harrison would line up at right tackle to fill the void left by Jawaan Taylor.
Little notwithstanding, the rest of the offensive line has mostly struggled the last two games. You won't be able to effectively throw the ball or give Trevor Lawrence enough time to throw without optimal protection. On the bright side, there's nowhere to go but up for the Jaguars' hog mollies. Bartch probably needs to shake off the rust after spending more than 10 months away from the football field. Similarly, Harrison should get better as the season progresses.
You could point out that the offensive line had their hands full against Chris Jones. But the truth is that there are other pass rushers on the Jaguars' schedule who will be equally if not more challenging to stop than him. That's why they must get back to the drawing board and put it all together, so they can succeed regardless of who the opponent is.
In the opener, the Jaguars showed they could win close games against teams they're supposed to beat. In Week 2, they should still have a long way to go before they can join the NFL royalty. The good news is that there's time to figure things out.