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Jacksonville Jaguars

ROUNDTABLE: Jacksonville Jaguars First Quarter Team Report Card

Zach Goodall



Jun 12, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; A view of the outside of the stadium at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Locked On Jaguars writing team is here to dish out grades for the Jacksonville Jaguars performance through the first quarter of the season after starting 3-1. We will break the grades down into four categories: Offense, defense, special teams, and coaching.

Let’s get to the report card.

Zach Goodall

Offense: B

Even without RB Leonard Fournette on the field for about 75% of the offenses snaps, the Jaguars offense remains in the middle of the pack in total yards per game at 380 (15th in NFL), pass yards per game at 266.5 (15th), and rush yards per game at 113.5 (13th). Considering Fournette is the focal point of the offense when he is on the field, and these rankings are pretty solid.

Defense: A

Box score scouts will say the Jaguars defense has regressed, as they only have 10 sacks and two turnovers through the first four games this year compared to 18 sacks and 10 turnovers last year. However, Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye have only been targeted on 31 of 118 passing attempts (26%) – QBs aren’t testing them. The pass rush has also generated 69 QB pressures on 123 pass rushing snaps. Pretty nice, in my opinion.

Special Teams: B+

Josh Lambo is a perfect 8/8 on field goals and 8/8 on extra points. Logan Cooke has pinned teams inside the 20 yard line on 11 of 20 punts (11 ranks third in the NFL). And when punts are returned by opposing teams, the coverage unit is allowing a mere 4.6 yards per return (T-4th in NFL). While Jaydon Mickens hasn’t created much (5.3 yards per punt return on 10 returns), I’d say the special teams unit has been pretty good where it really matters.

Coaching: B+

I truly believe the Jaguars went into the Tennessee game with the offensive gameplan centering around Fournette being available, and the failure to adjust without having him on the field led to a bad outing. Other than that, the coaching has done a great job scheming around opponents weaknesses and developing this team as a whole.

Chris Thornton

Offense: B+

Inconsistent in scoring, the Jaguars offense needs to show more longevity and the ability to be more two-dimensional.

Defense: A

The Jaguars defense leads the league in most categories except turnovers. Still not letting offenses do anything though, so I can’t fault them for not getting the ball.

Special Teams: A

Josh Lambo has been phenomenal per usual and coverage looks much better than last year on kickoffs and punts.

Coaching: B+

I’d give an A but I consider the Titans loss to be the fault of poor coaching. If the team had a 4-0 record and were leading the division, I’d give the A. Division leaders get A’s.

Demetrius Harvey

Offense: C+

The Jaguars offense for the most part has played well this season. Blake Bortles has posted two of the best games of his career (Patriots and Jets) and has contributed to key moments in the season which has allowed the Jaguars to get off to a quick start. If Bortles plays well, the Jaguars will. The only negatives so far have absolutely been the injuries. Last season, the Jaguars were very fortunate to not suffer many key injuries, however this year along the offensive line as well as at the running back position, the injuries are starting to pile up. The Jaguars offense also has played poor enough to lose the game for the entire team (Titans), the inconsistencies are what bring the grade down so much.

Defense: A+

The Jaguars defense has been everything and more that you could want from this unit. They single-handily can win games for this team and showed as much during week one with their defensive touchdown by Myles Jack. The Jaguars are currented ranked number one in total defense (YPG), passing YPG, and are 10th in rushing yards per game. The run defense should not come as a surprise as the Jaguars were ranked 15th last season. There are not many flaws in this defense at all, and that should be about what we expected.

Special Teams: B

The Jaguars special teams is a very good unit thus far in the season as kicker Josh Lambo has a perfect 8/8 field goals this season. He is also 8/8 in PAT. Logan Cooke, although he hasn’t been the best at flipping the field this season, has had 11 total punts inside the 20-yard line only 20 punts total. The negatives for the Jaguars have been in the return game. Jaguars punt returner Jaydon Mickens is only averaging 5.3 yards per punt return. There have been very few kick returns.

Coaching: A

Considering what the Jaguars have been able to muster out of their offense that includes an inconsistent Blake Bortles and a depleted running backs group, not to mention a young receiver group, I would have to give their coaching an A. Obviously, the defensive group is already well coached, and the head coaches’ decisions have been sound. The only reason this is not an A+ for me is simply because there have been so many penalties, and while that does not completely reflect on the coaching, it does show some lack of discipline.

Zak Dewitt

Offense: B+

The playcalling has been surprisingly good so far this year, save for the Titans game. The Jaguars offense has adapted well without Fournette but I want to see how they do knowing he’ll be out for a while.

Defense: A-

The defense has continued it’s dominant play from last year and the secondary is still suffocating. They’ve clamped down more on tight ends compared to last year but I wanna see our defensive line get home more. They’re generating pressure but not capitalizing.

Special Teams: B

There haven’t been too many ups or downs for the special teams unit this year. Logan Cooke has performed and Josh Lambo has been perfect. One thing I want to see is more success from the punt and kick returners.

Coaching: A

Coaching this year has been really good overall. They’ve been putting the team in good situations. My only gripe is that DC Todd Wash needs to start generating more pressure with blitzes and trust his corners in man coverage more often.

Ruairi Songer

Offense: B+

Excluding an anemic performance against the Titans, the Jaguars offense has played admirably. The Jags have been able to unleash a surprisingly effective passing game in the absence of Leonard Fournette.

Defense: A-

The fact that the Jags defense can receive this grade even while not playing to their fullest potential is astounding. The Jaguars defense has been suffocating it’s opponents, allowing the fewest PPG, YPG, and passing YPG. If they can force more turnovers and reduce mistakes, their grade will be even higher in Q2.

Special Teams: B-

Josh Lambo has yet to miss a field goal, going 8/8 so far. Logan Cooke lacks incredible leg strength but has shown the ability to pin opponents deep with accurate punts. Kick and punt return defense has been solid.

Coaching: B

Nate Hackett is still questionably conservative, but has shown increased confidence in Bortles, giving him more opportunities in the passing game. Todd Wash has taken some flak for his increased use of zone coverages, but they seem to be effective as the Jaguars defense has only allowed 14 PPG.

Dylan Goldman

Offense: B+

Overall, I’m pleased with the offense’s performance, given that Leonard Fournette has barely played, and tackle Cam Robinson had a season-ending injury early in Week 2. QB Blake Bortles has had two great performances, but the offenses’ stinker against Tennessee keeps them from getting an A.

Defense: A-

The defense hasn’t been getting turnovers at the rate they did last year, but they’ve been dominant, and have picked up the offense when they lagged behind.

Special Teams: B-

Josh Lambo has been perfect so far, and rookie Logan Cooke has been very solid at punter. The return game has left a lot to be desired, but so far so good for the special teams unit.

Coaching: B

I absolutely loved Nate Hackett’s game plan in Week 2, but he laid an egg in Week 3. The coaching staff hasn’t been anything special, but they earn a solid B in my grade book.

Christian Bedgood

Offense: B-

Weighed down by the inconsistencies of one Blake Bortles, the Jaguars’ offense would be graded higher if not for their QB’s performances against the Giants and Titans. In both games, Bortles had a sub 4.6 adjusted yards/attempt. In the other two? Both above nine. Consistency is key, folks.

Defense: A-

All while the Jaguars haven’t had many sacks and turnovers, who are last in the league in percentage of drives ending in an offensive turnover, they still do not give up many points. The unit currently is 9th in the league in percentage of drives ending in a score and give up the least points per game.

Special Teams: A
I don’t know much, but I know Logan Cooke and Josh Lambo are good. Cooke is 3rd in punts inside the 20-yard line and is 5th in average return yards. Lambo, on the other hand, had not missed a single kick, making two field goals beyond 40 yards. He also has not had a kick returned outside the 25-yard line, per Football Outsiders.

Coaching: B+

This grade should be higher, but being tied to Bortles’ poor performances as a play caller, you have to change things when it’s obvious that your quarterback isn’t playing well. Nathaniel Hackett has called some masterful drives in four weeks, but him not being able to counter Bortles playing poor or not knowing what to do besides run into a wall when Fournette is rarely healthy have been black clouds hovering over the season thus far.

Zach Goodall covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for the Locked On Jaguars podcast and website. Follow him on Twitter @zach_goodall.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars vs. Texans: Five observations, red zone issues remain

Demetrius Harvey



Nov 3, 2019; London, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) throws under pressure from the Houston Texans defensive line men during an NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn--USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars to make tough decision next week, Minshew Mania over for now

Demetrius Harvey



Nov 3, 2019; London, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) throws a pass in the first half against the Houston Texans during an NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.

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.

Bonus clip:

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars fail to seize opportunity in London, falling 26-3 to Houston Texans

Demetrius Harvey



Nov 3, 2019; London, United Kingdom; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) rushes for a first down during the first half of the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans during an NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn--USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.

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