Not much is going right for the Jaguars this season.
Originally expected to be a playoff contender, the team now sits at 2-4 after an embarrassing home loss to the Oakland Raiders.
Sunday’s game was relentlessly awful. The offense looked more anemic than ever, with the majority of its yards coming during late-game garbage time. Special teams committed several key errors, including allowing a fourth-down trick play from the Raiders to become an infuriating 27-yard run by a punter. The defense boiled over in frustration, resulting in Jalen Ramsey and Malik Jackson being ejected.
Something has to change. This team, as it’s been playing this year, is not going anywhere. The most immediate need is clear: the team must make a coaching change. If management is still hesitant to fire Gus Bradley (which they clearly are), then it’s time for offensive coordinator Greg Olson to pack his bags.
Olson has taken an offense featuring a supposed future star at QB (more on that later), two stud receivers and two solid running backs, and somehow turned it into a stagnant mess. The frequent failed screen plays and run attempts up the middle continue to draw groans, and even boos, from the home crowd. There’s arguably not a single offensive player whose strengths are effectively being utilized with Olson’s system.
There’s just no excuse for how poorly the offense is playing, and Olson’s play-calling is a huge part of the problem.
That being said, some of the struggles can’t be blamed on Olson. It’s still a mystery as to why QB Blake Bortles looks so much worse this season than he did a year ago.
When Bortles threw his first interception Sunday on an end-zone pass attempt, the crowd began groaning as soon as the ball left his hands. It seemed that everyone in the building except Bortles could see that he was making a mistake. That happens way too often to Bortles, who’s now in his third year. It seems obvious that something is off with him, and it needs to be addressed before this regression becomes permanent.
Bortles’ receivers haven’t necessarily been doing him any favors, though. They’ve struggled to get open, leaving Bortles dancing around as he searches frantically for a way out – usually leading to an atrocious forced pass. Allen Robinson has dropped several passes this season, and dropped a couple more on Sunday. He was held to just two receptions for 9 yards. His struggles are problematic, as they add to the severity of Bortles’ struggles. Allen Hurns has picked up the slack, but neither have been able to adjust to the increased attention given to them by defenses this season.
The offensive struggles are deeper than play-calling, but none of the other problems will be solved until the awful play-calling is addressed.
That’s why Olson has to go.
- Why exactly did we spend $90 million to bring in Malik Jackson? He’s been a non-factor this season, and on Sunday he picked up two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and got himself ejected as a result. Jackson essentially quit on the team Sunday, something his teammates probably won’t forget.
- Ramsey’s ejection is perhaps a little more easily shrugged off. Ramsey is young, and had just seen his veteran teammate set a pretty shitty example for him. Still doesn’t excuse that kind of behavior, and at least one of his teammates is still pissed.
- Speaking of former Seminoles, it was a really rough day for Rashad Greene. He fumbled one punt return, then caught another at the 1-yard line rather than letting it bounce safely into the end zone. After the second mistake, he was treated to a heavy chorus of boos from the crowd.
- Thursday night is a Color Rush game, so prepare for Twitter to erupt with jokes about our nightmarish mustard-colored jerseys. #BringBackTheTeal
Next up: Thursday night in Tennessee against the Titans, for yet another must-win game.