Jacksonville Jaguars Show Improvement in Week 2 Loss

By Liam Wirsansky on September 20, 2021

The Jacksonville Jaguars set the bar low in their season opener against the Houston Texans with an abysmal 21-37 loss on the road. Looking to bounce back in front of the home crowd for the first game in Jacksonville this season, there were a lot of areas that the Jaguars hoped to improve upon, such as Trevor Lawrence’s 3 interceptions, the overabundance of self-inflicted penalties, or the putrid defensive play against the pass in the secondary. While some of these issues the team demonstrated looked to be resolved or at least vastly improved in the game against the Broncos Sunday afternoon, other concerns arose out of what appears to be erratic and inconsistent play by almost the entire roster.

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Josh Lambo’s Kicking Woes Continue. The Rest of Special Teams Excels.

Since returning from his season ending hip injury from last season, Jaguars’ Kicker Josh Lambo has not looked like the same football player. Considered one of the best in the league prior to this season, Josh Lambo has disappointed failing to convert his first three field goal attempts, as well as missing two in the preseason. While none of his field goal attempts this season have come from a close distance, Lambo’s play has been a call for concern, with the possibility of the Jaguars being in a closer game against the Broncos had he converted the attempts. Since Lambo joined the Jaguars he has been nearly automatic, but on Sunday he finally made not only his first, but his second miss at home in Jacksonville. While Urban Meyer still reaffirmed his belief in Lambo following the game, it would not be surprising to see the front office bring in some competition to fill their last practice squad roster position, especially if his poor play continues.

On the flip end of the special teams spectrum, P Logan Cooke and PR Jamal Agnew dazzled and perhaps turned in the two best performances by Jaguars players on Sunday. As hilarious as it might sound, Cooke has been a weapon for this team, consistently bailing out the team’s poor offensive play and supporting the team’s defense by flipping the field and giving them more ideal field position more often than not. With a long of 64 yards and an average of 56.8 for the game, Cooke showed off his leg strength consistently. Speaking of leg strength, Agnew flashed a set of wheels of his own on a shifty 102-yard Punt return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, breaking the record for the longest return in Franchise History. With the Jaguars seemingly almost out of the game, Agnew’s return injected a final spark and gave the fans something to hang their head up about, as well as some evidence to Agnew’s value to the team moving forward.

Trevor Lawrence and the Offense Simmers After a Hot Start

On Sunday, the Jaguars started hot on the first offensive series of the game, converting on four separate third down attempts in route to a beautiful 25 yard TD reception by WR Marvin Jones Jr. to cap off an amazing fist drive. Lawrence looked the part of the number one overall draft pick, completing five of his first seven passes for 73 yards including third- down passes of 24, 13 and 25 yards. Following the first series, the Jaguars offense cooled off in a major way, failing to generate much traction. Following the first series, Lawrence looked more like the part of a rookie quarterback completing just 8/25 passes after the first drive for 45 yards with two interceptions. Lawrence is now tied for the most interceptions in the league at five after just two games, and has now thrown more interceptions than touchdowns. Lawrence has demonstrated a willingness to air out the ball and be aggressive, but must be more cautious with his placement and security. While all of the picks cannot be fully attributed to just Lawrence, the young rookie is displaying growing pains along as one would expect. The young quarterback has seemed to flash moments of brilliance, but his consistency will need to improve along with his receivers and offensive line, as they failed to generate the space and separation that Lawrence needs as young quarterback learning on the job.

Penalties and dropped passes have been a huge roadblock to this offense as well, repeatedly halting any built momentum on drives that display potential, but perhaps the biggest worry moving forward for this offense is the play calling and lack of a true offensive identity. Even while playing with a lead yesterday, the Jaguars ran the ball less than half as much as they threw it after all was said and done. The star of the offense last year, James Robinson has yet to break out more than 50 yards in a game and unfortunately had just 11 carries on Sunday against the Broncos. Still averaging a healthy 4.5 yards/carry this season, more focus should be put on the Jaguars rushing attack to at least create more of a balance and open up some of the field for Lawrence and his receivers in the play action passing game.

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The Defense Looks Better, But Still Gives Up Too Many Big Plays

The alarm bells were ringing after the Jaguars’ week 1 loss to the Houston Texans, and much of that can be attributed to the defensive lapses that seemingly happened play after play in the passing game. It was important for the defense to at least show improvement, and if anything, build on the impressive outing they had in the trenches against the run. In terms of league rankings, the Jaguars rank near the top against the run, and while the Jaguars defense did a solid job of slowing down the Broncos and making them one-dimensional, they still gave up too many chunk plays down the field to QB Teddy Bridgewater. The safety position is particularly worrisome, especially in coverage with S Andrew Wingard Starting. He plays well in the run game, but in seems to struggle in deep coverage. It might be nice to check out rookie safety Andre Cisco with the defense and see how he learns on the job.

CB Shaquill Griffin also needed a bounce back game, after an abysmal Week1, where he was beat consistently for huge gains down the field. Luckily Griffin came to play and looked much improved, nearly snagging a one-handed interception, and making a huge tackle for loss in the backfield notably. The cornerback position is still one to watch with CB CJ Henderson dealing with a groin injury. His return is uncertain and behind lacks unproven and inconsistent depth thus far. Rookie Tyson Campbell may get an opportunity to learn in his absence.

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