My Own Worst Enemy: Jaguars have nobody but themselves to blame for the 2023 collapse

The Jaguars did themselves into a hole after a promising start in 2023.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Tennessee Titans
Jacksonville Jaguars v Tennessee Titans / Justin Ford/GettyImages

The Jacksonville Jaguars got LIT up on Sunday by the Tennessee Titans. Although the scoreboard showed it was a one-touchdown game, the Jags never really had a chance. They could not get out of their own way, and this game proved to be a microcosm of the season as a whole. I believe Doug Pederson called it "their season in a nutshell."

Pederson wasn't wrong, but he couldn't get out of his own way either. Time after time, going for it on fourth down when clearly taking the points or punting was the better option. Similarly, his decision to stick with Press Taylor when he clearly wasn't getting the job done should be under scrutiny. Deflecting blame instead of taking accountability. Preventing mistakes all of which could have been easily avoided.

But Pederson isn't the only Jaguar who was his own worst enemy. The aforementioned Press Taylor made life hard on himself by being unimaginative and predictable. He continually put Lawrence in the shotgun with an empty backfield on both third-and-4 or fourth downs, letting the whole world know a pass was coming.

Taylor didn't dial up enough shots deep down the middle to keep the defense honest, and he abandoned the run game way too early in games. The Jaguars ranked 17th in third-down conversion percentage and 26th in fourth-down percentage. If Taylor could have recognized that what he was calling wasn't working perhaps I'd be writing about the matchup between the Jags and Browns instead.

Trevor Lawrence also deserves blames for how the Jaguars' 2023 season ended

Trevor Lawrence deserves the LIT treatment too. Poor clock management, missed throws, costly turnovers, and a lack of communication with his receivers all contributed to the team's untimely demise. While I am not in the "Trevor's a bust" camp, he needs to cut down on the mental mistakes if he wants to be in the same conversation with Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and the Bills' Josh Allen.

Collectively, the defense isn't off the "Own Worst Enemy" list. Ranking in the top five in missed tackles and No. 1 in the "what the heck is the offense doing?" category, they got progressively worse as the year dragged on. Untimely penalties, poor discipline, poor preparation, and an air of superiority led them to giving up at least 28 points in four of their last five games. Safety Andre Cisco even admitted that they let success go to their heads. If that's not being your own worst enemy, I don't know what is.

The Jaguars have more questions than answers heading into next season. They'll have a new defensive coordinator with likely a new scheme. The offensive and defensive lines are sure to be remade, and Trevor Lawrence will be in the make-or-break fourth year. The last thing the Jaguars need to worry about is self-inflicted wounds that kick the livin' sh*t outta me!

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