The Jaguars fell in embarrassing fashion to the Titans on Sunday. Losing in Nashville should come as no surprise: The Jaguars haven't taken down the Titans at Nissan Stadium since 2013. But a shutout loss? The Big Cats hadn't suffered a shutout since 2009, three years before Shad Khan even owned the team.
Here are my top takeaways
Urban Meyer is a Toxin
There's so much turmoil inside that building that it's difficult to even evaluate what any of the players are doing on the field. Or how the coaching staff is performing on the sideline and in the booth. According to Tom Pelissero, Urban thinks the coaches are all "losers" anyways. Yes, the same coaches that he hired. Meyer's body language on the sideline continues to be an issue. After this gut-punch of a loss, Meyer didn't even have the decency to embrace his former employee Mike Vrabel. The Titans head coach served under Meyer for two seasons at Ohio State.
Late Sunday night, Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network released this damning report:
"The bottom line for Meyer in Jacksonville? He's lost everyone in the building — his players, his coaches, and the Jaguars' staff. It's beyond disliking the first-year coach. There's a feeling of resentment towards Meyer.
The two words used the most in conversations when talking about Meyer? Hate and hypocrisy. The former speaks for itself. The latter is how many of the Jaguar players described Meyer.
'He came in preaching values, family, and team. It's been anything but since the start of training camp. He's a phony and a hypocrite,' one source told me, adding, 'we know who he is.' Another source told me they don't trust Meyer or believe in him or anything he says. Many of the players feel the struggles of Trevor Lawrence are the direct result of poor game plans and a bad system installed by the coach. As one source said, it's not so much that the first overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft is playing badly. Rather, 'they always put Trevor in a bad situation.'
Despite recent reports that Meyer will finish out the season, people close to the situation tell me it will be sooner rather than later for the rookie head coach. 'He could get fired this week,' a source said. 'If the Jaguars lose to a terrible Houston team next Sunday, I don't see him surviving."
All signs point to Urban Meyer's tenure in Jacksonville coming to an unceremonious and abrupt close.
The Rookies Need to See the Field
The Jaguars have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Winning games will no longer help this team. The only goal for the rest of the season needs to be the development and evaluation of young players, particularly rookies. Second-round pick offensive tackle Walker Little needs to play, whether it's on the left or right side. Third-round pick Andre Cisco needs to step in for Andrew Wingard at free safety. It would be nice to see fourth-round picks DT Jay Tufele and EDGE Jordan Smith active on game day. In reality, these guys should've been seeing significant playing time weeks ago, as the Jaguars have been out of playoff contention for a long, long time.
Jawaan Taylor Should Find the Bench
In his third year in the league, former second-round pick Jawaan Taylor is failing to show improvement. The Jaguars' starting right tackle resembled a turnstile more than an NFL offensive lineman on Sunday. On the very first offensive play of the game for the Jaguars, he got abused by Denico Autry, who sacked Trevor Lawrence on the play. Taylor surrendered four pressures, two sacks, and was even more pitiful in the run game. He's allowed steady pressure throughout the season and leads all offensive tackles in penalties. Even though Walker Little is more comfortable on the left side, I'd get him in the game for Jawaan Taylor. It'd be hard for him to be worse than what we've seen from Taylor this season.
In truth, the entire offensive line struggled on Sunday. They couldn't create any space in the run game and put Trevor Lawrence in some horrific situations. Andrew Norwell picked up THREE holding calls.
Joe Cullen Continues to Impress
The Jaguars' defense only surrendered 20 points on Sunday. I know; the Titans were without two of their top offensive players and had been struggling in recent weeks. Still, defensive coordinator Joe Cullen called well-timed blitzes and had his secondary playing at a high level both in coverage and in run support. The run defense was improved as compared to the last few games, and the defensive line created pressure in bunches. The Jaguars allowed just 263 total yards on the day. Despite all the chaos engulfing this organization, Joe Cullen continues to be one of the lone bright spots in Jacksonville.
Trevor Lawrence's Day
At one point, Trevor Lawrence was 12/14 and had completed all four passes he'd thrown on third down to move the chains. Despite facing heavy pressure, Lawrence was dealing. Then, on the first drive of the third quarter, Laviska Shenault let an easy catch pop out of hands and into the waiting arms of Rashaan Evans. That was the first of four Trevor Lawrence interceptions on the day. While the blame for that INT falls squarely on Viska's shoulders, the following three were not great from Trevor. The rookie quarterback started pressing and played some hero ball down the stretch. Can you blame him? He'll need to rebound from an ugly second half against the Texans next week. I'm still highly encouraged by his game. He's having to overcome a head coaching nightmare, poor offensive line play, below-average receivers, and a less-than-stellar play-caller. And he was once again dynamite in his post-game presser, breaking down his interceptions and offering his thoughts on the game for the opening 3.5 minutes of the press conference. Obviously, he'll need to start winning on the field eventually, but seeing him show so much poise and leadership following a four-interception shutout was encouraging.
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