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Four takeaways from loss to Chargers: Defense is a mess

Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew, left, looks to pass as he is rushed by Los Angeles Chargers free safety Derwin James, center, and defensive end Melvin Ingram, right, during the second half on Sunday. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew, left, looks to pass as he is rushed by Los Angeles Chargers free safety Derwin James, center, and defensive end Melvin Ingram, right, during the second half on Sunday. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars lost to the Chargers 45-10 Sunday, running Jacksonville’s losing streak to five games. The Jaguars can no longer have a winning record. At 4-9, they are also officially eliminated from the playoffs, as if that was in doubt before. Here are my four biggest takeaways from the game:

Worst of Marrone’s tenure

This team is the worst version since Doug Marrone took over. With the players the Jaguars have on the field and the way they are being utilized, the Jaguars haven’t stopped anyone. Teams have run and passed against them in the second half of the season.

The pass protection is poor. Falling behind early forced the Jaguars to abandon the running game. And the several thousand fans who were there by the time the third quarter ended had endured enough. The stands were mostly empty midway through the final quarter.

The defense is just a mess

Right now, the defense has only one player in the back seven with any kind of substantial NFL resume, cornerback A.J. Bouye. The front four has a couple of good pass rushers in Yannick Ngakoue and Josh Allen and a veteran Calais Campbell who is capable of making plays from time to time.

Aside from that, there isn’t much to celebrate. The young players and backups who have been pressed into service are overmatched by most NFL offenses and the utilization of those players has been problematic. In short, it’s not good.

Minshew isn’t the elixir

While Gardner Minshew made a couple of plays that Nick Foles would not have been able to make by keeping plays alive, he also missed some throws. Most noticeably, a wide-open DJ Chark on a play in the second quarter. It would have been a touchdown, but Minshew opted for the shorter receiver and the pass was knocked down. Minshew shows some potential. But he is a rookie and the Jaguars will hope that his best days are in front of him.

Can you find another win on the schedule?

Here’s what the Jaguars have the rest of the way: a trip to Oakland next Sunday. The Jaguars have not traveled well to the West Coast historically and you wouldn’t think flying cross country would be a salve for the Jaguars’ ills.

Then a visit to the Falcons on Dec. 22. Atlanta is 4-9, like the Jaguars, but they just beat the Panthers 40-20 at home. They have won three of their last five after a six-game losing streak. The final game of the season is at home against the Colts.

Indianapolis could be battling for a wild-card spot, but they could also be eliminated by then. That final game might be their best chance to get another win. If not, they will have taken a step back from last year’s disastrous 5-11 season to finish 4-12.


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