The Jaguars fell to the Titans on Sunday for the seventh time in the last eight contests between the two division rivals. And they did so in devastating fashion, by a score of 31-10. The franchise-worst 12th straight loss was another step in the direction of change.
The Jaguars did a good job keeping Derrick Henry in check until the waning moments of the first half. Trailing 7-0, the Jaguars surrendered a 36-yard scamper to King Henry with 44 seconds left in the second quarter. Jarrod Wilson, who was in position to slow Henry down, was held on the play. But it was only a matter of time before the Titans' rushing attack wore down the Jaguars' defense. That run served as a bit of a springboard for Henry, who tallied 215 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The Jaguars struggled to keep contain against the Titan's rushing attack and Derrick Henry. Without Josh Allen, DaVon Hamilton, CJ Henderson, and DJ Hayden, it'll be challenging for the Jaguars' defense to play a complete game down the stretch.
The Return of Minshew
Mike Glennon, who's been fairly incompetent over the last couple of weeks, found his way back to the bench after throwing an interception on the Jaguars' first offensive drive of the second half. Despite throwing the ball 23 times in the game, Glennon totaled only 85 yards through the air and was lucky on a couple of passes that could have been picked off. Gardner Minshew entered the contest and was certainly more effective than Glennon, but was still far from an impact player. He led the team on a touchdown drive just after he entered the lineup but couldn't move the ball with consistency after that. Still, it's clear that Minshew is a better quarterback than Mike Glennon right now. Doug Marrone has yet to announce who will start in week 15 and said he would inform the media of his decision after speaking with his quarterbacks.
Poor DJ Chark
DJ Chark wasn't perfect in this one, failing to capitalize on a couple of 50/50 balls, but he was wide open sooooo often when Glennon failed to look his way. And several other times, when Chark was targeted, the Jaguars' quarterbacks couldn't deliver a quality ball. 2021 is the last year of Chark's rookie contract. If I were in Chark's shoes, I wouldn't sign a new deal with the Jaguars until the QB room is dramatically improved.
James Robinson's Historic Day
James Robinson made history on Sunday, becoming the fastest undrafted free agent ever to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards. He played well, averaging over 5 yards per carry, but Jay Gruden took the ball out of his hands way too often after the first couple of drives. There was no reason to abandon the run in the first half. Gruden has struggled with balance during his time as the Jaguars' offensive coordinator. An illegal formation on DJ Chark negated a James Robinson touchdown. Still, Robinson carried the ball 12 times for 67 yards and caught four passes. He's been one of the few consistent bright spots for the Jaguars' offense in 2020.
K'Lavon Coming On
The 20th overall selection in the 2020 Draft, K'Lavon Chaisson, is starting to play with confidence and is becoming a consistent threat off the edge. Chaisson has led the team in pressures each of the last two weeks. While he didn't get a sack, he did hit Ryan Tannehill three times and consistently beat the Titans' left tackle, David Quessenberry, around the edge. Chaisson showed off an arsenal of pass rush moves in this one. He didn't play a ton of snaps, but his pass rush win rate was off the charts. Had it been a more competitive game, there would have been more opportunities to rush the passer. After a frustratingly unproductive start to the season for KC45, he's been highly impactful over the last two games and appears to have turned a corner. Allowing him to rush from a two-point stance in explicit passing situations is critical.
In a contract year, Keelan Cole continues to shine for the Jaguars' offense and is setting himself up for a nice payday after the season. He hauled in seven catches for 67 yards and a score. Cole seems always to be open; whether he has to beat his man one-on-one or find the soft spot in a zone, the fourth-year wideout gets the job done. On the year, Cole has hauled in 47 of 74 targets (63.5% catch rate) for 571 yards and five touchdowns. I don't foresee him getting paid to be a number two receiver, but Cole would be a fantastic third option in just about any offense.
Eifert has quietly been steady for the Jaguars' offense. He consistently hauls in contested catches and has played in all but one game this season. He's caught 30 passes and scored twice. He hasn't been a focal point but has undoubtedly been a reliable piece to the puzzle. He could stick around in 2021 and be a safety valve type receiver for whoever is lining up under center in Duval.
Ben Bartch's Development
Rookie offensive lineman Ben Bartch was thrust into the starting lineup due to Andrew Norwell's injury and has performed well over the last two weeks in pass pro. He surrendered just one pressure in each of the previous two contests. His run blocking is a work in progress, but if you can keep your QB clean, you're likely to play in the NFL for a long time.
Your weekly draft stock update: the Jaguars remain in postition to hold the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. With only three games left on the schedule, the Jaguars would have to win two or their final three to have any risk of falling outside of the top two in the draft. The Jets, who currently hold the number one selection, continue to lose. If the Jets and Jaguars finish with the same record, the Jags own the tiebreaker (strength of schedule) and would select first. And the Bengals, who are one spot behind the Jaguars, have won only two games but also have a tie on their resume, which means the Jags would have to get to three wins for the Bengals to jump them in draft order.
The Road Ahead
As I mentioned, the Jaguars have three games left on their 2020 slate. Next week they head to Baltimore to take on Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, who happen to be in the midst of an intense playoff race. They then host the Bears, who had dropped six straight contests before trouncing the Texans 36-7 on Sunday. And they close their season, in typical fashion, against the Colts in Indy. Marrone has had the Colts' number, but the Colts will likely be battling for a playoff spot. They've won four of their last five.
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