The Jaguars are coming off of one of the worst season openers in franchise history. The Chiefs marched the ball up and down the field without resistance nearly the entire game. Almost everything that could go wrong for the Jaguars did.
But these Jaguars have 15 more games to play in the regular season, and a week two divisional matchup in Houston looming. Let's take a look at six Jaguars that must perform at a higher level if this team hopes to get back to .500 on the season.
The Jaguars' zone scheme got eaten alive by Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs' offense. Todd Wash appeared unwilling to self-edit throughout the game, to put his players in better positions to win. It's not all on the defensive coordinator in Jacksonville, but it didn't appear that the Jaguars' defense had any idea how to approach defending the Kansas City aerial attack. Wash has been stubborn throughout his tenure in Duval, but if he wants to keep his job, he'll need to adjust before the Jaguars take the field against the Texans on Sunday. The Jaguars' defense has too much talent to not perform.
For all the talk and hype surrounding Jalen Ramsey this offseason, and throughout his career for that matter, he did not meet expectations in week one. Pat Mahomes completed six of his nine passes with Ramsey in coverage, totaling 84 yards. Jalen Ramsey is supposed to be one of the very best defensive backs in all the league — a game-changer. He was anything but in week one. In week two he'll be tasked with slowing down DeAndre Hopkins.
A captain of the Jaguars' defense; a leader at middle linebacker; a player on the rise: Myles Jack was none of those things on Sunday. Before he lost his mind on the field and tried to take on the Chiefs single-handedly, Jack was used and abused by the KC offense. His most notable mishap came in one-on-one coverage of Travis Kelce. Kelce made a quick jab step on his route to the inside before bursting toward the sideline and leaving Jack in the dust, hauling in a 41-yard reception. Jack needs to keep his composure and play at a much higher level.
I'm sick of talking about defense (for the time being). So let's talk about the right guard that allowed Chris Jones to go unabated to Nick Foles, slamming the Jaguars' franchise lifting QB into the ground, placing him on the IR until at least mid-way through November. Yeah, AJ Cann didn't get the job done in pass protection. But that fateful play was far from his only blunder on the day. Cann surrendered five pressures and picked up a penalty. It's unclear when Cam Robinson will return after hyperextending his knee last week. If Robinson misses more time, then Will Richardson will continue to start at left tackle, which means AJ Cann will continue to start at right guard. He played well in the run game, but he'll have to do much better protecting the passer to help keep Gardner Minshew upright.
I'm still a big believer in the talent of third-round pick Quincy Williams. It's probably unfair to judge a rookie in his first start when facing the most potent offense in football. But Williams looked lost for much of the game. On several plays, he was just a tick slow to react. In coverage, Williams allowed all five attempts to be completed. He also missed two tackles. Williams will need to study the tape and try to play faster as the season rolls on. The Texans will likely target Williams often in week two.
The Jaguars' starting strong safety had an abysmal performance. He may have been the catalyst for the defensive implosion we all witnessed on Sunday. On the Chiefs' first touchdown Harrison tried to play the ball in the air but was late and allowed Sammy Watkins to catch the ball cleanly, make one man miss, and streak towards the end zone. Harrison also missed two tackles and picked up two boneheaded penalties. It was an ugly start to the season for a young safety with big expectations.
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