Behind Enemy Lines: Jacksonville Jaguars

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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Before this Sunday’s showdown in Houston, I go behind enemy lines with Daniel Lago of Black and Teal. You can read my answers to his questions here, but here is Daniel’s insight on the Jaguars:

1. This has been another disappointing season for the Jaguars, who looked like they were starting to turn it around last season. What has gone wrong–coaches, bad free agent signings, holdover players?

A little of everything, but really it starts and ends with the head coach. Gus Bradley has cemented himself as statistically the worst head coach in the history of the NFL at 14-47 (with him likely finishing at 14-50 at this rate). Bringing him back after he went 5-11 in 2015 was the beginning of the end for hope in 2016 in retrospect. He’s outcoached on a weekly basis and his team routinely makes dumb mistakes while looking completely unprepared. He’s in way over his head as a head coach and it’s pathetic that it took 4 seasons to figure that out and get rid of him.

2. What has happened to Blake Bortles this season? How is he going to go after a Texans defense that has given him fits?

Blake is the other reason this season has fallen apart at the seams. He’s regressed mightily, both mechanically and mentally. His delivery is comically elongated at this point and he just doesn’t have the same willingness to throw deep compared to 2015.

In terms of attacking the Texans defense, I expect Bortles to try to use his legs to some effect. After taking over midseason, new offensive coordinator Nathanial Hackett has encouraged Bortles to tuck it and run when the first few reads aren’t there, especially if there is a running lane.  It’s worked to some extent in a few games, partially because it’s kept Bortles from making some bad decisions through the air. Expect some read-option plays as well.

3. Why is it that the run defense has fallen off so much from last year?

The Jaguars lost their run stuffer in Roy Miller several weeks ago and the run defense has suffered. The Jaguars also keep employing two below-average linebackers in Paul Posluszny and Dan Skuta. Poz has actually been serviceable at times this year but he’s way past his prime and a better player could probably be found easily in the draft or free agency. 

That said, the run defense has actually been solid but inconsistent. They bottle opposing runners up most of the time, but then they’ll allow a massive gain (the Bills game with LeSean McCoy is a perfect example).