Despite struggling in several vital areas, the Jaguars narrowly lost to the Panthers in week five. They're an improved team since the beginning of the season, winning two of their last three contests. But to have any level of sustained success moving forward, the Jaguars will need to clean up some aspects of the game that cost them in recent weeks.
Let's take a look.
The Jaguars tackling was simply atrocious in week five at Carolina. Granted, they did face the most dynamic running back in the NFL, Christian McCaffrey. But things won't get any more comfortable moving forward. The Jaguars are tasked with slowing down Alvin Kamara this week. Last Sunday, the Jaguars were often out of position in their run fits. The coaching staff believes that's something that they can correct through film study and practice this week. But the missed tackles were devastating. The team missed 13 tackles as Quincy Williams led the way with four whiffs. Nearly every defensive starter missed at least one tackle. The team's gap assignments and tackling fundamentals must improve quickly if they hope to win in week six and beyond.
The Jaguars' pass protection has been abysmal in recent weeks. Against the Panthers last week, the big boys up front allowed 23 pressures. Technically only two of those pressures turned into sacks, but Gardner Minshew was under duress throughout the contest, which led to three lost fumbles by the young QB. Minshew obviously needs to clean up his ball security, but improved offensive line play would go a long way in that regard. The Saints are tied for sixth in the NFL in sacks through five weeks. If the Jaguars are to slow down that fearsome pass rush, the offensive lines' footwork and hand placement will need to improve, particularly on the left side. Left tackle Cam Robinson and left guard Andrew Norwell surrendered a combined 13 pressures last week.
Playing With A Lead
This is plain and simple. The Jaguars need to get a lead at some point in the first half. They've been unable to do so for the last two weeks. Playing from behind is a catalyst for losing the turnover battle. When the Jaguars are playing from behind, their opponents know they have to pass the ball, which has allowed pass rushers to pin their ears back. On the other side of the ball, the Jaguars struggle to create turnovers and big plays of their own because when opponents get a lead, their offensive play calling becomes much more conservative. The Jaguars have got to get a lead in this one, or at least keep the score close in the first half. If they can do that, they might just see an uptick in the amount of big plays by their defense and a decrease in pressures allowed on offense. It's easier said than done in the NFL, but if John DeFilippo can call a sharp game early and the defense can force some first-quarter three-and-outs, the Jaguars will have an ideal game script.
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