Jacksonville Jaguars Need to Change Something on Offense, but What?
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I recently wrote an article explaining how this may very well be Gene Smith's last season as the Jacksonville Jaguars GM.
The Jaguars are obviously doing something wrong—actually, more like a lot wrong—on offense.
Starting with the public's man to blame, Blaine Gabbert, what could be done to change what has been shown through five games?
Gabbert's statistics are not incredibly horrible, with just under 800 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions.
Unfortunately for Gabbert, statistics do not tell the story of his season so far.
Starting on a high note in preseason and then a pretty solid Week 1 performance has led to a massive downfall that hit a low note after he gave the Chicago Bears defense 12 points last weekend.
The obvious option is to call for Chad Henne, right?
Henne is still relatively young, has a little bit of NFL experience as a starter and might be able to ignite a passing attack that is completely dead.
What stage do you think the Jaguars are currently experiencing?
When Blaine has a little time in the pocket, he is pretty capable of throwing very accurate throws.
The biggest weakness on the offensive line has been the right tackle and left guard positions.
Eben Britton's year has gone from excitement for his return to wondering how quickly he will depart. He was unable to retain the right tackle position from undrafted Cameron Bradfield, and he's done a horrible job at left guard after Will Rackley went to the IR (as well as Jason Spitz).
Bradfield has shown potential, but not enough to be a solid right tackle in the starting lineup. He has gotten beaten week after week, and he still has a long ways to go.
Eugene Monroe and Brad Meester have both done relatively well this year, and Uche Nwaneri is not quite playing up to what we have all seen from years past.
In other words, this offensive line is playing so bad that both Marcedes Lewis and Greg Jones are being used mostly for blocking duties compared to any kind of rushing or receiving utilization just to give Gabbert a few extra seconds.
Lewis has two touchdowns through five games and is the biggest red-zone threat for the Jaguars, but with the amount he is used to help block, it completely limits his talent for the team.
So what could help for the time being? Well, for starters, why in the world hasn't Mike Brewster seen the starting lineup since he came in Week 2 and performed very nicely when Eben Britton went down with an injury?
Brewster has shown that he can not only hang with the starting offensive line, but he may be the best solution in order to use Britton in a backup role.
The team does not necessarily have any answer at right tackle, as Britton would be the next choice after Bradfield, and if he can't hold down the guard position, how would he succeed at tackle?
Inserting Brewster into the starting squad may help, or it may not. As a viewer, I like what I saw from him when he played, and I have not liked what I have seen from Eben Britton.
The line breaks down so fast that Gabbert has no choice but to get sacked or throw it away, which has led to many of their three-and-outs.
Gabbert, however, does not get any kind of excuse here.
He has to make better throws. Way too many balls have sailed behind, over, or at the feet of receivers this year. To put it rather blandly, Gabbert just has not looked like a starting-quality quarterback in the NFL since his arrival.
He also needs to uncut the umbilical cord connected to Greg Jones.
Jones is an overused fullback in today's NFL game. Greg Jones is incredibly strong and a great blocker, but the amount of passes that Gabbert elects to throw his way (which may be part of the play-calling), says, "here is a possible yard on this down."
Why not just run the ball then? This is a play that angers me when it just takes it from 1st-and-10 to 2nd-and-9. I guess you can just call it a clock-killer.
Taking deep shots all game is not the solution, and Gabbert does not have the arm for that, but at some point, you need to take more chances than what they currently are doing.
Cecil Shorts is both case and point. Shorts now has three deep catches that were all game-changers in their own right. If Gabbert did not fumble against Chicago, Jacksonville would have gone into halftime with the lead. Instead, it was tied, and the Jags lost that momentum.
I'm not an offensive coordinator, so I'm not going to act like I know what plays to call, but stretching the field is something that this team has not done since Mark Brunell was able to do it with Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell.
Maurice Jones-Drew cannot be used as the top back in the NFL without a passing game, and this is now year two of absolutely no passing game and a running game that will still get you 100 meaningless yards.
Rashad Jennings is another playmaker who cannot even see more than a few touches a game when there is no passing attack.
Here is a guy we are better off trading to a running back-needy team (Packers, Cardinals) in exchange for either draft picks or someone useful on the offensive line if we cannot use him come game time. He more than proved his worth in the preseason.
The wide receiving group is what it is at this point.
Justin Blackmon will be an absolute monster possession receiver when the Jaguars get somebody to consistently stretch the field. That is why Cecil Shorts needs to be in on more plays.
Both Laurent Robinson and Mike Thomas have shown that they are both slot receivers, not field-stretchers.
Kevin Elliot may also be the guy to come in more often.
He's big, fast and so far has shown great hands. The sound of Shorts, Blackmon and Elliot in at one time sounds appealing in order to try a change with a group that has not done nearly enough to create separation with cornerbacks in the NFL.
The Jaguars need to try some new things—new plays and new players.
At 1-4, the team has already lost the majority of support from their fans for this season, and many are calling for big-name quarterback Geno Smith in next year's draft with the assumption that they may have the first overall pick.
With 11 games left, I refuse to look that far ahead yet, and I believe this team can still show the potential that was seen in the offseason and preseason, but at this point, something does need changing.
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