The Jacksonville Jaguars aren't a good football team. For proof, look at their current four-game losing streak. While teams are bound to lose a game here are there, dropping four in a row is a sign that things aren't going well. While the Jags' roster isn't perfect, they have enough talent on both sides of the ball to win games. So why are they in free fall? From an outside perspective, it looks like they're already tuning out with two games to go.
Teams with a losing record tend to go through the motions late in the season. This happens because players feel like they won't make a difference, so why give full effort? Also, many of these players know they won't be around the following year or change is coming regardless of how hard they play. The Jaguars are 8-7 though, so why it doesn't feel like it?
They went to the playoffs and won the AFC South last year. They had a chance to get to first place in the AFC as recently as Week 12. But then, things started unraveling in the Monday Night Football loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. What seemed to be a small speedbump has turned out to be a full-scale meltdown. At this point of the year, clubs vying for a playoff spot tend to hit their stride. Jacksonville is instead regressing, and neither players nor coaches appear to know what's wrong.
Not having a healthy Trevor Lawrence has most definitely not helped. He previously sustained knee and ankle injuries. He then suffered a concussion against the Baltimore Ravens. More recently, he hurt his shoulder in the loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Simply, he's not healthy, but even if he were, the team around him wasn't helping him, which has put added pressure on his shoulders. This in turn has led him to make mistakes while looking for "that big play."
Nobody is saving the Jaguars, they're uninspiring play could keep them out of the playoffs
Trevor Lawrence himself didn't mince words when talking to the media following the game, pointing out that they're playing like a team that's lacking preparation.
"It's frustrating. Every aspect of the game today was frustrating," Lawrence said. "Yeah, that's frustrating. It's frustrating that we had so many mistakes all the way around. It's frustrating that I had a couple of turnovers again. We got to take control of it and go play the way that I know we're capable of playing, and we're not doing that. It's like we're all waiting around, waiting on something to happen for us to get out of this funk. It's not happening, no one's coming to save us."
"We got to we got to go take control and take these games and win them, put ourselves in position. So, I got a lot of thoughts. It's frustrating, it's embarrassing and frustrating and you put a lot of work in to do that. And to look like you don't even practice. Got to call it like you see it sometimes. It's bad all around. So we have to find ways to get better," Lawrence said.
Lawrence continued, "We got to get out of our own way. It just feels like everything's so difficult right now. Do simple things, you know, make this simple place just get back to doing what we've done the season at points and when we were playing well. We know we have, we have what it takes but we haven't the last month, so the most important times we got to play better, and we're not."
Lawrence's comments are telling. Maybe he doesn't think his teammates are practicing hard enough. If that's the case, then both the players and the coaching staff deserve criticism. Also, that sentiment about the team wanting to be saved, it feels like they think that they just can turn a switch on and things will suddenly be alright. They won't.
Everything starts in practice, and the team's lack of effort is reflected on both the scoreboard and the stat sheet. By halftime, the Buccaneers already had a 20-point lead. The offense had -3 rushing yards in the first half, and the defense missed a season-high 15 tackles.
The bottom line is that the Jacksonville Jaguars aren't a good team and unless they wake up, they're close to missing the playoffs in 2023, something that didn't seem improbable two months about but it's now a real possibility.