Hays Carlyon's Jaguars Blog

Jaguars simply aren’t tough or smart enough to win

todayDecember 18, 2023


By Hays Carlyon

Tough teams don’t get routinely whipped at the line of scrimmage.

Tough teams don’t lose five of their first seven games at home.

The Jaguars are not a tough team.

That fatal flaw is getting too hard to ignore and too glaring to imagine that this team will in fact defend its AFC South crown.

Baltimore was the latest squad to manhandle the Jaguars, winning 23-7 Sunday night at EverBank Stadium.

The Ravens ran for 251 yards. The Jaguars managed 75 on the ground.

The real concern was how nonchalant Jaguars coach Doug Pederson was in his postgame press conference when asked about it.

His offensive line isn’t nearly physical enough. It hasn’t been all year and now the defense is getting gashed.

“You get beat,” Pederson said. “You get edged. Those are things that are going to happen. But we’ve got to continue to just grind away and just figure out how to win a football game, whether we’re running it, throwing it, kicking it, it doesn’t matter. Right now, we’re just not good enough to pull these games out against good football teams. That’s the honest truth. Until we figure that out, it’s going to be rough.”

The Jaguars (8-6) have lost three consecutive games, all against physical AFC North programs. They have been outrushed 489-204 in those games.

If that doesn’t change, the Jaguars will miss the playoffs.

But that’s far from their only problem.

Smart teams don’t continue to make inexcusable mistakes.

Smart teams don’t go 2-5 at home.

The Jaguars are also not a smart team.

That fatal flaw is also why the Jaguars are staring at a collapse to end the season.

In a single sequence Sunday night, the Jaguars had a false start, a drop and then lost a fumble when quarterback Trevor Lawrence simply dropped the ball while running.

Unforced. Errors. Killers.

The Jaguars marched into Ravens territory four times in the first half and did not score.

Instead of being up 16-10 at halftime, they trailed 10-0.

The rock bottom portion of the evening came after Lawrence completed a 36-yard pass to receiver Zay Jones to the Baltimore 4-yard line with 14 seconds left. Jones was tackled in bounds and the Jaguars were out of timeouts.

Instead of spiking the ball, Pederson directed Lawrence to run a play in haste. Lawrence made a colossal blunder by throwing to receiver Parker Washington short of the end zone. Washington caught the ball but was tackled in bounds.

The clock expired.

This was a mistake that simply can’t happen at the NFL level.

Four possessions inside enemy territory. No points.

“That’s the head scratcher,” Pederson said. “That’s the frustrating part. Again, we can’t get out of our way. That’s the frustrating part because we do some really good things, and then it’s a play two or here and there that keep us from scoring.”

Pederson is starting to sound like a head coach that is running out of answers to save this season.

“We have to understand that the No. 1 thing out there is the football; pre-snap penalties and the football,” Pederson said. “That’s the one thing that’s kind of plagued us all season. We’re just giving points away and it’s hard. We’re making it too hard.”

Injuries haven’t helped.

Lawrence is in concussion protocol. If he misses time, the season is doomed. The Jaguars probably lost receiver Zay Jones (hamstring) on Sunday night as well.

Other key injuries like the ones receiver Christian Kirk, left tackle Cam Robinson, cornerback Tyson Campbell and safety Andre Cisco are dealing with certainly are challenging as well.

However, the injuries are secondary.

The Jaguars currently aren’t physical enough or smart enough to win.

Unless that changes in these final three games, they are headed for a brutal end to a once-promising season.

It’s time to wake up.

Play tough. Play smart.


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





































Written by: Hays Carlyon

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