The Jaguars, entering the first game of the season in which they were favored to win, fell flat on both sides of the ball Thursday night. Losing 31-13 to a previously winless Dolphins team in front of your home crowd and a national television audience is gut-wrenching.
The Jaguars' biggest problem, dating back a couple of seasons, has been slow starts. Whether it be the offense shooting themselves in the foot with a penalty, drop, or unforced turnover, or the defense not being able to slow opponents down, this team is atrocious in the first quarter. They've now been outscored 35-7 in the first quarter this season. Doug Marrone mentioned earlier this week that the onus is on the coaches to get this team better prepared to start ball games. By that logic, this performance was an epic failure by the coaching staff.
The offense had some nice moments, but without your two best offensive players, center Brandon Linder and wide receiver DJ Chark, it's tough to play at a high level. They were completely outclassed by the Dolphins' defense. Yes, the same defense that gave up 31 points at home to the Bills last week. The one bright spot for the Jaguars in this disastrous ball game was James Robinson. The rookie undrafted free agent continues to shine. On Thursday night, he racked up 129 total yards and two touchdowns on 17 total touches. He now has the fourth-best odds to win offensive rookie of the year, according to Odds Checker.
On defense, it was the same ole song and dance. A Todd Wash team that looked unwilling to blitz with any regularity or take risks? Yeah, we've seen this before. Once the Jaguars' defense allowed the two early scores, they looked hopeless at times. Josh Allen did land his first sack of the season, and Myles Jack had another stellar performance. But the outside cornerbacks, CJ Henderson and Tre Herndon were unable to slow down DeVante Parker, who was clearly not 100% with a hamstring injury. I'm not sure how much longer Todd Wash will keep his job if the Jaguars keep giving up points in bunches. His guidance is not getting this young, but talented, Jaguars' defense where it needs to be.
The Jaguars' penalty issues reared their ugly head again. They racked up eight penalties in this one, greatly aiding the Dolphins' offense.
In the end, these young Jaguars will not be able to win on a regular basis if they let games get away from them in the first quarter as they've done to this point in the season. There are built-in excuses here, injuries, a short week, etc. but the Jaguars were favored to win at home, and they fell flat. Gardner Minshew had the worst game of his young career, and his receivers, mainly Chris Conley, didn't do all that much to help him.
It's back to the drawing board as the Jaguars have nearly a week and a half to prepare for a trip to Cincinnati to take on Joe Burrow and the Bengals.
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