The NFL season is a long emotional journey for its players, coaches and fans. Last week, the Jaguars endured their first lost of the season, in only their second game. Part of the intellectual process for players from week to week is to embrace what happened, learn from it, and move on. Fans should do the same.
That said, there are a few telling things from the loss to the Chiefs. Also, a handful others to keep in mind for Week 3, when the Houston Texans pay a visit to EverBank Stadium.
The Kansas City Chiefs are still better than the Jacksonville Jaguars
Sure, they were close. The consensus among media is that a play here or there could have made an enormous difference in the outcome of the game. But, it's important to remember that a few different plays here or there also could have resulted in a lopsided loss. What if the Chiefs don't muff a punt? What if the Chiefs players' knee had been down a microsecond sooner, negating a fumble?
What happened, happened. The Jaguars are a good team with a lot of promise. But, they're just not quite ready to beat the world champions. They may get there. But, they'll have to fix a few obvious problems first.
The offensive line is a problem
There has been a lot of criticism of the gameplan and playcalling from Doug Pederson and Press Taylor. But the truth is if the offensive line can't block'em, there isn't a lot you can do. As previously pointed out on the site, the line is struggling outside of Walker Little.
Hall of Fame left tackle Tony Boselli has a history of wearing kid gloves when evaluating former players such as Eugene Monroe and Luke Joeckel. However, Boselli gave an honest assessment on Jaguars Happy Hour when he was critical of all of this year's offensive linemen outside of Walker Little:
"There's one guy who's played consistent, high-level, winning football, and that's Walker Little... The other four? We got beat up, and it's one thing to have a bad game as an offensive line... But, when you get beat up, physically, that's different. And I think we've been dominated physically the last two weeks if you just turn on the tape."- Tony Boselli
The OL may be able to get it together over time. They will have to in order for the team to even sniff their goals this year. There is even a common thought among multiple media members that the poor play by the line is "speeding up the clock" for Trevor Lawrence resulting in his accuracy being a hair off.
Main takeaway from the Jaguars' first loss of the season
The Jaguars lost to a better team. It's not the end of the world. There is a long season in front of them, and there are reasons to believe the offensive line will improve, and that could lead to drastically improved play from the offense as a whole.
If they can do that, the 2023 Jaguars could be dangerous, because the defense is exceeding expectations so far. They have had two excellent performances, and are currently tenth in points allowed and second in forced turnovers.
So, all is not lost. It's one loss, and it probably won't be the last. It's important to feel the sting, learn from it, and move on.
Turning toward week 3 and the Houston Texans
The Houston Texans are just what the doctor ordered for a Jaguars team that took a hit in Week 2. They have a bad offense, scoring only 14 points per game, and a weak defense, allowing 28 points per game. Both statistics have the Texans squarely in the bottom quarter of the league in both categories, and John McKay's famous quote above would seem to apply. They are trying to build something, but they have a long way to go.
Yes, they are still an NFL team with NFL talent. This isn't college football, where if a powerhouse doesn't blow out a mediocre program by 40, it's cause for concern.
But, if the Jags still have designs on being the team most fans thought they were, they should be able to handle the Texans convincingly. They are 9.5 point favorites to win, which is a lot in the NFL. Additionally, there should be no underestimating Houston, as the Jaguars have not beaten Houston at home in the last five tries. So, even though the Texans are massive underdogs to an angry, wounded team, it's unlikely the Jaguars will overlook them.
The other side of that coin is if the Jaguars somehow do lose to the Texans... Whoo Doggy. It's gonna be ugly 'round these parts next week.