Hays Carlyon's Jaguars Blog

Jaguars season ends in stunning collapse

todayJanuary 7, 2024


By Hays Carlyon


Pure agony.

That’s all that’s left from a Jaguars season that started 8-3 only to be washed away by six weeks of embarrassing, mistake-filled football.


In a six-week span, the Jaguars window as contenders disintegrated.

Everyone had a hand in the final humiliation, a 28-20 loss to lowly Tennessee on Sunday in the regular-season finale that dropped the Jaguars to 9-8. Tennessee entered the game 5-11 and 2-7 in its last nine games, scoring 16.1 points a game in that stretch.

The Jaguars couldn’t stop the run and, once again, had a litany of errors on offense.

The Houston Texans are AFC South champions.

It just makes you want to puke.

The Jaguars went from talking about home-field advantage in the playoffs in November to not even competing in the tournament.

How did this happen?

It started with a bad draft (at least for now) by general manager Trent Baalke. He selected tight end Brenton Strange and running back Tank Bigsby in the second and third rounds, respectively. Those were luxury picks.

They reeked of “we got this” as did Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s comments in the offseason about the team “cracking the code” after winning the AFC South title at 9-8 and beating the Los Angeles Chargers in the playoffs.

Strange and Bigsby were non-factors when a guard and defensive tackle would have likely made more of a difference.

The Jaguars then ignored the veteran pass-rush free agents that might’ve provided a needed third option. Outside linebacker Josh Allen had an incredible season and Travon Walker improved mightily in his second season. But there was never a reliable third option. Meanwhile, Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy combined for 18 ½ sacks for Baltimore. Both were available well into the offseason.

Jaguars coach Doug Pederson then announced the morning of the season opener at Indianapolis that offensive coordinator Press Taylor was going to be the full-time play caller.

That was a total disaster. The Jaguars regressed offensively even with the addition of receiver Calvin Ridley. There were still operational and timing issues in Week 18.

Pederson obviously has to re-evaluate the offensive organizational chart. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence was being billed by many in the national media as the eventual MVP during the preseason. He finished with dismal numbers, throwing 21 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Pitiful for a third-year player with such potential and a stunning failure for Pederson and his staff.

The Jaguars were woeful in the interior of the offensive line. Short-yardage situations became comical and red-zone trips produced nothing far too often.

Lawrence’s ill-fated four-down sneak from the 1-yard line against the Titans was the ultimate example. The Jaguars are so limited by center Luke Fortner and right guard Brandon Scherff that Lawrence started regularly reaching the ball toward the goal line in the season’s second half.

Any coach that would accept this as a normal football move is not doing his job well.

So, what do the next few weeks look like?

My guess is Khan is not going to make or demand any changes. This was after all his third-most successful season in his 12 years as owner. The Jaguars are at least consistently competitive for the first time in his tenure. That wouldn’t be enough for several successful NFL owners, but it might be for Khan.

It will be up to Pederson to make changes. Don’t expect much. He basically got fired in Philadelphia, after winning a Super Bowl, because of his allegiance to Taylor.

It will be fascinating to see how Baalke and Pederson continue to develop the team now that adversity has truly struck. I doubt the word harmonious will accurately portray their relationship moving forward.

A team that went 1-5 in its final six can’t possibly stick to the status quo, but that’s what I expect to happen. Even the one win comes with an asterisk. You, me and 20 of our buddies could beat the Carolina Panthers.

The most disheartening aspect of the entire collapse is the window shutting so fast. After last season’s surge, it looked like divisional supremacy would be a given for the Jaguars for at least this season and perhaps a few more.

Now, the Jaguars are back looking up at someone.

The Texans will be the favorite now. Heck, even the Colts just won nine games with their backup quarterback playing most of the season for a first-time coach.

Not only did the Jaguars blow a tire this season, but at least Houston appears ready to speed past with rookie sensation quarterback CJ Stroud.

This collapse will linger. Unfortunately, it will be a while before anyone feels good about the Jaguars fortunes again.

The franchise’s course was significantly and negatively altered on Sunday.

We’re left with roughly 245 days of agony until the Jaguars can begin to truly remove the stench of this failure when next season begins.


(You can email Hays at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter/X @HaysCarlyon).













































Written by: Hays Carlyon

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Hays Carlyon's Jaguars Blog

Jaguars vs. Titans Week 18 live blog

The Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7) take on the Tennessee Titans (5-11) at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday at Nissan Stadium. Follow along here for live updates and key highlights from the game! First quarter Jacksonville received the first half kickoff (Tank Bigbsy was back deep to return) and the Jaguars drove 49 yards in 11 plays before Brandon McManus kicked a 44-yard field goal to put the good guys up early. […]

todayJanuary 7, 2024