With the quarterback position being the Jacksonville Jaguars most pressing and desperate need this offseason, you can expect plenty of reports, speculation, and scouting analysis revolving around college quarterback prospects here at Locked On Jaguars.
Profiles on Duke QB Daniel Jones and West Virginia QB Will Grier have already been published, and now we move on to a signal-caller who is widely speculated as a potential top-10 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
The redshirt sophomore doesn’t quite fit the Parcells threshold that Jaguars EVP of Football Operations tends to follow when scouting QBs, but Haskins has enough potential to offer that he’s worth breaking the Parcells’ mold. Despite being a r-So., Haskins is currently 21 years old and will turn 22 the week after the 2019 NFL Draft (May 3rd). The single-year starter has compiled 11 wins, including over the 4th ranked Michigan, 9th ranked Penn State, and 15th ranked TCU. In those three games, Haskins went 66-108 (61.1%) for 1010 yards, 11 touchdowns and only one interception.
In his first year as a starter, the 6-3, 220 lb Haskins has already broken Big 10 records. He stands at 4081 passing yards (and counting!) and 42 passing touchdowns (and counting, too!): Both are records he set against the Michigan Wolverines.
The Jaguars have certainly gotten to know Haskins in 2018. According to a mix of sources and reports, the Jaguars have attended four Ohio State games and a practice this season, watching Haskins put on a clinic live on numerous occasions.
But we know scouting is more than looking at the box score. Haskins has certainly shown some negative attributes – what QB prospects haven’t? However, a lot of the flaws Haskins has shown this year came at the start of his tenure as starter, and he’s shown rapid, excellent growth throughout the season in the original areas of concern. On top of the “rookie jitters”, Haskins has played this well amidst enormous controversies revolving around the Ohio State football program, which are certainly a dark cloud that could easily distract any football program.
Haskins the traits that NFL folks drool over are there, which can be seen throughout his 2018 film. Lets’s dive in to some, coming from his games against Oregon State, TCU, Penn State, Maryland, and Michigan.
West Coast fit
A quick slant, released with zip on the top of the receiver’s route and accurately placed in the WR’s stride to allow yards after the catch?
Yeah, that’s a West-Coast offense throw. That’s what the Jaguars do.
Even if the Jaguars hire their offensive coordinator this offseason from outside of the organization, don’t expect major changes immediately to the offensive philosophy. There are pieces in place that fit power-run and WCO that the Jaguars can’t get rid of, namely Leonard Fournette and Dede Westbrook. It would be tough to completely reshape the offense’s identity unless they gutted the roster completely on offense, so expect a hire that maintains similar ideology but has a plan to sprinkle in more concepts, such as vertical passing, over time.
Haskins has made timing throws like this consistently throughout the 2018 season, hitting receiver accurately and in stride with a quick release and velocity to get the ball in the WR’s hands quickly.
This ball covers some ground, but it comes out as the receiver releases across the middle towards the right sideline and is placed low and away from the defender being able to make a play on it, and most importantly the receiver never slows down.
Simply put: This is a clutch, ballsy throw that you don’t normally seeing a first-year college starter making, much less confidently releasing without hesitation. Haskins tosses this pass on top of his one-step drop in the gun, and puts it right on top of the pylon away from the press-man cornerback on his receiver. Considering Haskins can make this throw, it’s hard to doubt his ability to make any short distance throw accurately. Golden.
Haskins releases this pass on top of his three-step drop with no hesitation, just s the receiver breaks on the top of his route. The ball has perfect zip, which is a constant in Haskins’ game, and gives the nickel cornerback no time to react after eyeing the running back in the flats. The receiver possesses the ball with about three ards of separation from the nearest enclosing defender, and is able to move himself into an additional five yards after the catch. The bread n’ butter of the WCO.
Growth against pressure
At the beginning of his time as Ohio State’s starting QB, Haskins didn’t have a great feel for pressure. He’d either skim through reads a little too early and/or choose to escape the pocket before options opened up, or would make errant throws in result of pressure.
Above, in Week 3, Haskins wasn’t quite “pressured” by pass rush standards, but if he waited to release the ball any longer he definitely would have been. At the same time, Haskins dismissed the need for better touch on this ball with an enclosing EDGE defender on a blitz and in result, the pass rusher was able to bat away what should have been a walk-in score on a throw to the flats. All this ball needed was another half a foot of air under it and the special teams unit would’ve made their way onto the field for the extra point.
In Week 5, Haskins and Co. were flustered by Penn State’s pass rush, and it led Haskins to panicking into decisions. It didn’t lead to turnovers, luckily, as his only interception came on a well-placed pass that bounced upwards out of his receivers hands and into a nearby defenders. But, in the above play, Haskins is forced to abandon the pocket from interior pressure (two angles). That’s fine and dandy, but Haskins escapes contact and has tons of room to work with to patiently throw to an unrushed read, and instead he panics into a tightly-covered middle of the field throw that sails incomplete.
However, here comes the previously mentioned growth. Just last week against Michigan, Haskins flashed comfort against pressure on a more consistent basis, trusting his reads and side-stepping his way into this throw to the middle of the field, with a quick rush coming from the right interior. Haskins moves in sync with the linebackers biting on the underneath game, specifically the crosser, which opened up the middle of the field that Haskins struck like an arrow in archery despite the enclosing pressure from his right and a block happening right in front of him.
Before putting his mobility on display, Haskins senses pressure immediately off of the right edge but still completes a half-field progression before sliding through the gap. Before crossing the line of scrimmage, Haskins keeps his eyes downfield to monitor anything opening on his roll-side before finally taking off. The maturity on this play is much improved from his earlier games, and without seeing these recent games, it’d be hard to expect a first-year starter to have grown this quickly – but here we are.
Later on, there will be a section with Haskins’ “wow-you” type of plays, and while this one deserves to be in that category, it’s one of his recent great plays against pressure. Once again, Haskins doesn’t shake from anticipated pressure coming off of his right side and continues to scan the field before taking advantage of a running lane to step up into the pocket. However, that lane begins to close as Haskins is on the move, which he simultaneously picks up on while noticing a WR opening up on the sideline. He delivers a front-foot laser to his receiver, which he catches and taps two feet down. However, the receiver previously stepped out of bounds on his route, negating the play, but that doesn’t negate the impressive play Haskins put together while, at the same time, displaying pocket maturity.
Room to grow: Consistent deep-ball footing and full-field progressions
When Haskins gets all of his pressure onto his front foot while heaving a deep pass, he normally puts the ball on the money, as seen above…
…However, there are inconsistencies with Haskins’ footing on deep balls.
On occasion, Haskins will leave too much pressure on his back foot through his windup while going deep, which takes juice off of the ball to push it deep and in stride. Now, this is a fixable issue and far from a concern that should drop Haskins down draft boards. At the same time, nailing down his front foot when shooting his cannon will only broaden his ability to be a complete quarterback. Because when Haskins is “on it” while delivering a deep ball, it looks something like this:
Perfect footing, perfect placement on the deep wheel : 28 air yards, 36 yard touchown. Piece of cake.
Haskins can make very impressive deep throws, he just needs to improve his consistency in this area. Some sound logic that can breed hope for Haskins’ ability to grow in this area: Ohio State doesn’t run a ton of vertical passing concepts, and focuses a lot more on short to intermediate throws with the occasional deep throw and play-action, so Haskins’ experience with going deep isn’t large. But considering the flashes he has shown when doing so, there’s a lot to be inspired by. With the right QB coach, this fine-tuning should be pretty easy to develop Haskins’ game.
Another aspect of Haskins’ game that he could grow in is full-field progressions. Ohio State runs a lot of half-field primary reads in their passing game, which Haskins has proven he can handle. However, although he does make full-field reads from time to time, he could use more experience in that field. That will just take time to pick up in whatever offense he goes to in the NFL, and he can’t be blamed for not getting many called at Ohio State. But, this is certainly something to consider early in his NFL career.
The placement Haskins puts on a lot of his passes is absolutely fantastic. Lofting this over the slightly underneath safety, this ball is kept out of reach of the draping #30… the drop from the WR sucks, no doubt, but this is a legitimate NFL throw that scouts drool over.
Once again: Placement, timing, accuracy, zip… the whole nine yards while driving the field into field goal range, down a point in the two-minute drill. ‘Nuff said.
Play-action, Haskins drops like a left-handed passer in which his body is open completely to the left. He flips his hips and body smoothly to return to his strong side, plants his foot to step up slightly to the right and away from double containing-pressure, and Haskins delivers a ball across his body without every setting his feet to the left-middle of the field. This ball has enough zip to prevent the down-coming safety from jumping it, and considering Haskins threw this off his back foot, across his body, with no set base, you can’t help but be impressed. His ability to put juice on the ball, even in unorthodox situations, is uncanny.
Eye maturity to manipulate defenders. Haskins keeps his eyes on the outside-slot receiver post, keeping the safety honest rather than jumping on the crosser from the outside WR. The safety breaks outside, and it’s game over – Haskins hits the crosser in stride and it goes for six points.
Eye maturity times two, this time being even more impressive than the last. Haskins keeps his eyes on the slot seam just inside of the numbers, at the time out of the mid-field safeties zone and in the boundary cornerback’s third. When the nickel and outside cornerbacks dedicate themselves to the seam from Haskins’ eye manipulation, the outside curl becomes wide open and Haskins gets the ball out on the very top of the route. Everything happens so quick that the dropping linebacker turns around to get a clue of what’s happening and doesn’t even realize the ball is in the outside WR’s hands. All in all, Haskins manipulates the entire top third zone and takes advantage, gaining 18 yards on what could have been a simple short curl.
Defensive holding on the top receiver takes away what would have been one of the more impressive throws Haskins has made all year. A deep fade route from the 14 yard line, Haskins puts insane touch on this pass with fantastic zip and places this ball just where it needed to be if the receiver was able to separate and not held up at the 11 yard line. This would have been a touchdown. Damn shame.
Pros and Cons
- Short/intermediate accuracy and velocity is top notch
- Sense of pressure improved tremendously over 12 game stretch
- Processes and scans half-field reads well
- Mobile and can take a hit
- Short/intermediate touch throws are very consistent
- Times drops/release with receiver route breaks well for a first-year starter
- Eye discipline and manipulation is very advanced
- Inconsistent footing when throwing deep
- Sometimes reluctant to scramble when it’s best to run
- Can try to hard to play “hero-ball” in less than ideal situations
- Lacks experience with full-field progressions
- One-year starter
Is Dwayne Haskins the typical Tom Coughlin type of QB prospect, based on the Parcells’ QB rules? No, he doesn’t meet most of the requirements as a one-year starter and redshirt sopohmore. But, Haskins possesses the tools and has grown as a quarterback so much during his first year as a starter that make him worth abandoning the Parcells’ method of scouting.
It all depends on who declares in this upcoming draft at the QB position, but there’s a real solid chance that Haskins will be available when the Jaguars are on the clock in the first round. Ideally, the team will have a bridge QB in place (perhaps Cody Kessler) who can start for the year or until Haskins is ready to debut as he takes more time to develop as a complete quarterback. And considering his ability to grow throuhgout just one season as he’s shown, he should be able to step in and perform very well when the time is right.
If Haskins were forced to start right out of the gate, the Jaguars could keep the identical offensive philosophy they have now with emphasis on power-running and West Coast passing concepts – a scheme Haskins would be incredibly comfortable throwing in. Over time, as Haskins matures at the NFL level, the Jaguars could begin to incorporate vertical passing concepts and more advanced aspects of their playbook at Haskins’ pace.
Pull the trigger, Jacksonville. With a solid floor and a very, very high ceiling, Dwayne Haskins can be the franchise QB the Jaguars have been looking for.
Jaguars vs. Texans: Five observations, red zone issues remain
The Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5) will be left with a lot to work on during their bye week. There was plenty to gather from the team’s 26-3 loss against the Houston Texans (6-3) in London.
1. Jaguars red-zone woes are still prevalent and have no fix in sight
In the red zone this season, the Jaguars have completed 34.5% (10/29) of their opportunities for touchdowns. This ranks only better than the Cincinnati Bengals (33.33%) in the entire NFL.
While quarterback play is an issue in this area, the Jaguars have not made the most of their play-call opportunities either. The Jaguars entered the Houston Texans’ red zone only twice in 11 drives on Sunday.
During the two drives in the red zone, the Jaguars completed 0 passes and ran the ball one other time with Leonard Fournette for three yards. Simply not good enough.
Jaguars’ offensive coordinator John DeFilippo has spoken about the team’s ineffectiveness on red zone opportunities. “We moved the football well, but we need to do a better job in the red zone,” DeFilippo said on Thursday following the team’s week seven victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. “I need to do a better job of helping our guys get open. We need to do a better job executing and being more detailed and throwing the ball on time and all of those things. Again, all of that starts with me, and I will do a better job with that.”
Two weeks later and the team’s struggles have continued.
All seven of the #Jaguars attempts in the red zone yesterday.
Six incomplete passes, one rush for three yards. Just wont cut it: pic.twitter.com/hqCZH6nUnW
— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) November 4, 2019
2. Gardner Minshew might take a backseat
Already discussed, the Jaguars might be in for a quarterback change coming out of their week 10 bye week. Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew struggled mightily in Sunday’s game, and head coach Doug Marrone will have a tough decision to make.
Although Minshew was playing with a sore right shoulder, he was able to practice in full all week leading up to their matchup at Wimbley. Regardless, the Jaguars will have to make a decision, and everything points to Nick Foles being the team’s starting quarterback against the Indianapolis Colts in week 11.
Now completely Minshew’s fault, his struggles in the red zone have been evident for the past several weeks. Foles — during the 2017 and 2018 seasons when he started for the Philidelphia Eagles — was efficient in the red zone, which could point to his maturity as a passer more than anything.
#Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew in the red zone this year:
19/41, 138 yards, 9 touchdowns
Nick Foles in 2017 + 2018 (8 games):
30/48, 167 yards, 9 touchdowns, 1 interception
— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) November 4, 2019
The Jaguars will want to see what they can get out of their veteran quarterback, and there is a reason to believe the Jaguars’ head coach is leaning in this direction. If Foles is not named the starting quarterback next Sunday, it is very likely the veteran will never start for this Jaguars team, at least not under the current staff.
3. Jaguars’ run-defense regressed
Without starting nickel corner D.J. Hayden and SAM linebacker Leon Jacobs, the Jaguars were forced to remain in their nickel package for much of the day. Rookie cornerback Breon Borders replaced Hayden in the starting lineup and while he was not the reason why the run defense suffered, not having a competent linebacker on the strong side of the ball impacted the team greatly.
Texans’ running back Carlos Hyde gashed the Jaguars’ defense 19 times for 160 yards during Sunday’s matchup. Part of the reason why the Jaguars were unable to stop the Texans’ running game late was the sheer amount of plays the Texans ran to begin the game.
In the first quarter, the Texans ran 20 total plays while the Jaguars offense was only able to produce nine total plays.
#Jaguars snap counts:
Breon Borders played 100% of the defensive snaps yesterday (70). With Jacobs out and Giles-Harris off the team, the jags were in nickel all day.
Taven Bryan – 38 snaps
Keelan Cole – 55 snaps (season high)
Devine Ozigbo played 2 snaps yesterday.
— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) November 4, 2019
4. Jaguars cannot rely on penalties, but two changed the course of the game
While the Jaguars should not, and cannot rely on penalties, the team had two costly controversial calls in the third quarter of Sunday’s matchup.
With an opportunity to score, Minshew threw a beautiful back-shoulder pass to Jaguars’ receiver DJ Chark Jr. who was able to haul in the pass but was called for offensive pass interference. A few plays later the Jaguars would botch a field goal attempt and give the Texans the football at the 50-yard line.
Terrible PI call here, and the #Jaguars could have been in striking distance to take the lead early in the third quarter.
Game changing calls are the worst: pic.twitter.com/4JRnQFD7LF
— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) November 4, 2019
Following the change of possession, Jaguars’ defensive end Calais Campbell was called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Specifically, Campbell was called for lowering his head to initiate contact with a defenseless rusher. The Texans would net only a field goal on this drive, but it was a potential 10-point swing as Chark’s interference call was questionable, and Campbell did not even touch Watson on the play.
5. Keelan Cole shines in Dede Westbrook’s absence
Although the Jaguars clearly missed their 1B receiver in Dede Westbrook, rarely-utilized receiver Keelan Cole was able to step up to the plate and put on his best performance of the season, and possibly since 2017.
While it was not sensational, Cole hauled in five out of six of his targets for 80 yards on the day. The Jaguars could not get anything going down the field, however, Cole was able to get open on routine crossing routes.
In the coming weeks, look for Cole to have a bigger role in the Jaguars offense, especially with veteran receiver Chris Conley playing so up-and-down (2 receptions on 7 targets for 32 yards).
DeFilippo recently spoke about Cole and understands the third-year receiver may be frustrated with his snap count.
“I am proud of the way he stayed in it and even though he has not gotten the playing time,” DeFilippo said after the Jaguars victory over Bengals. “Everyone wants to play every snap. I’m sure he wants [more playing time]. He has done a great job staying in it.”
Jaguars to make tough decision next week, Minshew Mania over for now
The Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5) were embarrassed early Sunday morning via a 26-3 loss to the rival Houston Texans (6-3). Minshew-Mania may be over for now, but it won’t be the last time the rookie sensation starts for the team.
To put it simply, rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew did not play well at all yesterday. Completing 27/47 (57%) of his passes for 309 yards, two interceptions, and two fumbles lost, Minshew looked lost during the second half of the game on Sunday.
Minshew has been everything the team could have hoped for — and much more — out of a sixth-round quarterback, but between what transpired yesterday, and a few of his past performances — against winning teams –, the Jaguars will likely see what they can get out of veteran quarterback Nick Foles.
For three quarters, Minshew looked okay. While there was plenty that went wrong, the rookie was able to make key throws, during key situations. One play, in particular, stands out. With a little over five minutes left in the second quarter, the Jaguars could not seem to get anything going before Minshew scrambles around and eventually finds a wide-open Ryquell Armstead in the middle of the field. Armstead would take the ball 31 yards and set the team up for their only points of the game.
Minshew’s ability to improvise has been his bread and butter this season, and although he was not able to work his magic often against the Texans, these were the types of plays that gave pause in the Minshew/Foles debate.
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) November 3, 2019
During the fourth quarter, the Jaguars and Minshew were forced to take more shots downfield in a sort of desperation move while trailing 19-3. Although playcalling can certainly be questioned, the decision making of the Jaguars’ rookie quarterback was equally perplexing. Throwing two interceptions and losing two fumbles, Minshew had no chance at making a little magic to lead the team to another come-from-behind victory.
Jaguars’ head coach Doug Marrone will be forced to make a decision on his quarterback, but not right now. After the game, Marrone indicated he will wait until the Sunday before the team returns from their week 10 bye week to talk to both quarterbacks.
“I think after those 48 hours are over, I’m going to step away a little bit, take a break because I don’t have to make a decision and have time,” Marrone said shortly after the game when asked about making the quarterback decision. “That’s what I’m going to talk to the quarterbacks about, and then I’ll tell them probably right before we come back on Sunday, we’ll be able to discuss where we’re going to go. That’s pretty much my plan.”
While Minshew did not have a great game yesterday, the decision will be made on more than just one game, Marrone said.
The Jaguars’ head coach is stuck with an incredibly tough decision. At 4-5, the team needs a spark. The Jaguars need to win down the stretch and having to rely on a rookie — still going through ups and downs — is exhausting. While Foles may not be “the answer”, he is the only other option at this moment, and the Jaguars absolutely believe in the veteran.
Although this may be the end of Minshew starting in Jacksonville this season, his achievements — 188/307 (61%) completions for 2,285 yards, 13 touchdowns, and four interceptions — should not go unnoticed. The team absolutely still believes in the rookie quarterback, and he has a golden opportunity — if not this season — next year to prove everyone wrong.
Gardner Minshew makes me want to take a bath in jack daniels while setting up subscribe and save recurring monthly deliverys for the Foreigners greatest hits CD pic.twitter.com/cVSW1tIx2r
— PFTCommenter (@PFTCommenter) October 27, 2019
One of the best, most fun performances out of a Jaguars’ quarterback over the first half of the season ever, is nothing to get upset about. Minshew provided spectators with Minshew-Mania, Minshew-Magic, and any other Minshew-ism one can think of.
For now, it is very likely Foles will make his Jaguars’ debut once again after breaking his left clavicle during the opening game of the season. In 11 plays this season Foles completed five out of eight of his passes for 75 yards and a touchdown.
It may be over for now, but this is just the beginning, and having the problem of deciding between a former Superbowl MVP and a rookie sensation at quarterback is a good thing. Depending on how Foles plays — if he is to be named the starter next Sunday –, Minshew could get yet another opportunity as the Jaguars progress from their 4-5 record.
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) November 3, 2019
Jaguars fail to seize opportunity in London, falling 26-3 to Houston Texans
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5) fell to Houston Texans (6-3) in a disappointing pre-bye week game in London, England. The Jaguars absolutely did not have home-field advantage on the day.
The Jaguars took to their annual London voyage with a lot of optimism, however, all of that optimism was quickly quieted by the Houston Texans (6-3) as they were able to bottle up Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars, holding the team to just three points on the day. The Texans would win 26-3 and kill any chances the Jaguars may have had at earning the division title in a few weeks.
To begin the game, the Jaguars opted to start out on defense with the Texans struggling early on in games this season. Holding the Texans to just three points to start the game, the Jaguars defense showed up big, especially as Jaguars’ cornerback A.J. Bouye shadowed Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins who finished with just eight receptions for 48 yards. The Jaguars seemed to find a groove early on during the first half of the game, but their inability to score in the red zone reared it’s head yet again.
In what is likely his last game starting for the Jaguars this season — at least for now — Jaguars’ rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew completed just 27 out of 47 of his passes for 309 yards and two interceptions. Minshew also fumbled the football two times near the end of the game, which would ultimately end it at Wembley stadium.
While the Jaguars defense played well early on, they stood no chance against Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson who completed 22 out of 28 of his passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Extremely elusive, Watson was able to escape from the Jaguars pass rushers all day long. The Texans effectively ended any chance of the Jaguars coming back after Watson completed a long throw to Hopkins for 21 yards to the Jaguars’ one-yard line. The Texans would score on a one-yard run by Duke Johnson putting the team up 19-3 late in the third quarter.
All four of Minshew’s turnovers would come in the fourth quarter as the Jaguars attempted to climb back in the game. Missing their second-most targetted wide receiver in Dede Westbrook, the Jaguars and Minshew couldn’t seem to get anything going in the passing game.
The Jaguars’ run game was equally disappointing today as running back Leonard Fournette could only edge out 40 yards on 11 rushes.
Perhaps the best play of the game by the Jaguars’ defense, near the end of the game Texans’ running back Carlos Hyde sprinted free and was looking to go into the endzone when Jaguars’ safety Jarrod Wilson showed incredible hustle to force a fumble at the last second, turning the ball over to the Jaguars’ offense.
Ghost of Leon Lett!!! TOUCHDOWN .. errr TOUCHBACK! as Hyde forgets ball security on the goal line after 58 yard burst! 3-19 #JAXvsHOU #TexansUK #NFL100 #Jaguars #Texans #NFL #SportsTalkLine pic.twitter.com/4iGFYMDTEf
— Steven Van Over (@StevenVanOver) November 3, 2019
The good fortune wouldn’t last long, however, as Minshew would go on to throw his final interception of the game to completely seal the game for the Texans offense.
The Jaguars’ offense simply did not get anything going today, similar to their game against the New Orleans Saints in week six earlier this year. Minshew was sacked only four times on the day as the Texans did not want him to escape the pocket.
The team will have a very tough decision to make during their week 10 bye week. Ultimately, the team will need to decide between veteran quarterback Nick Foles or the rookie quarterback in Minshew.
Jaguars’ head coach Doug Marrone will be making the decision, and after falling 26-3 today largely due to the play of the team’s quarterback, it may be a no-brainer.