After yet another third-quarter meltdown, the Jaguars fell to the Titans 42-20 on Sunday. The Jaguars were down 7-3 at halftime, but four straight touchdowns for the Titans to start the second half ended the Jaguars' chances of winning. Falling to 4-7 on the season, Jacksonville is all but eliminated from playoff contention.
Let's break it down.
That run defense . . . or lack there of.
The Jaguars' run defense has completely imploded over the last month of the season. The Jags gave up a third straight 200-yard rushing performance. In three consecutive games, against three divisional opponents, the Jaguars have allowed over 200 yards on the ground. Unbelievable. This time, the Jaguars gave up 219 rushing yards on 33 carries — surrendering 6.6 yards per attempt. The Jaguars' front seven is a joke when it comes to stopping the run. Outside of Calais Campbell, not one player in the front seven knows how to get off blocks consistently. These Jaguars aren't strong enough and don't play with solid technique. It's about time to blow the whole thing up. And regardless of who is making the personnel decisions this offseason, figuring out how to stop the run has to be priority number one.
Nick Foles probably isn't the answer, but you can't give up on him yet.
Sure, Nick Foles could completely turn things around over the last five games the season. But I wouldn't count on it. He's uncomfortable in the pocket and misses plenty of routine throws. Once again, his stat line looks a whole lot better than the eye test. 32/48 for 272 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions isn't terrible. But a lot of that production came when the Jaguars were already down 35-3. Still, giving up on Nick Foles right now would be a mistake. He's a player that this organization invested heavily in this offseason, and he hasn't had enough of a chance to get comfortable and prove himself. If he can't get things going in the right direction over the next couple of games, it might be time to unleash Minshew Mania once again. But right now, the Jaguars have to stay the course at QB. Two games aren't enough to bury a guy.
Leonard Fournette had another big day.
The Jaguars stunk it up in the second half in Nashville. But Leonard Fournette deserves a ton of credit. The third-year back rushed 24 times for 97 yards (4.0 yards per carry), and found the end zone twice. He added nine receptions for 62 yards. Thanks to an embarrassing coaching effort against the Colts last week, Fournette is no longer on pace to surpass 2,000 yards from scrimmage. But he still has a chance. At 1,342 yards from scrimmage, Fournette needs to average 131.6 scrimmage yards per game over the next five contests to break 2,000. But whether or not Fournette is able to eclipse the 2,000-yard mark, this season will go down as a success for the young runner. He's transformed himself on and off the field over the last calendar year and is a running back and teammate that any club would be happy to have.
This team isn't quitting.
With obvious deficiencies, it doesn't really matter whether the team quits or not. But for what it's worth, this team isn't showing any signs of throwing in the towel. Despite the disappointing results, they're still playing hard and fighting.
"We still have a chance at 9-7," said team leader Calais Campbell. "And that has gotten you in the playoffs before. I'm going to fight until the end and until there is no zeros left on the clock, and I know my guys will keep fighting too. Don't expect us to lay down and quit."
And I don't expect the Jaguars to show any signs of quitting. The players and coaches on this team still have a lot left to prove. This coaching staff will likely be looking for news jobs after 2019, and many of the players will be in the same position. But playing hard hasn't been achieving the desired results, and that probably won't change now. Things aren't going to remain the status quo in Duval county, regardless of effort.
When does it all get blown up?
When will Doug Marrone, Tom Coughlin, and Dave Caldwell be shown the door? It's obviously time for a change. The Jaguars have lost three straight must-win games by 20+ points — the first time in franchise history that's ever happened. Doug Marrone is a decent coach, but his team isn't good enough in the trenches to get the job done. Who's fault is that? Dave Caldwell and Tom Coughlin. They haven't done enough to keep their jobs. Will Doug Marrone and company make it through the season?
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