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Urban Meyer: Jaguars have to find out how to put it all together

Head coach Urban Meyer of the Jacksonville Jaguars on the field during warm-ups before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at TIAA Bank Field on November 21, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) (JULIO AGUILAR, 2021 Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars remain in search of answers.

The team continues to be plagued by inconsistent efforts, with Sunday’s 30-10 blowout loss to San Francisco just the latest stumble.

The Jaguars (2-8) were bullied like they hadn’t been all season. The Niners, playing on a short week and traveling across the country, led 17-0 before the Jaguars had even managed to run five offensive plays. A defense that had been ascending took a step backwards. The offense continues to seek an identity as points remain difficult to come by.

Can they get things cleaned up in time for when the equally struggling Falcons (4-6) visit TIAA Bank Field on Sunday?

The Jaguars are averaging 10.8 points per game since returning from the bye. The Lions — the winless Lions!! — are averaging 12.8 points in that same span.

The recurring theme around the Jaguars — what’s wrong with rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence?

His struggles since the bye week have continued. The Jaguars have little talent around Lawrence. Coupled with a banged up ground game and that has allowed defenses to pay closer attention to Jacksonville’s beleaguered group of pass catchers. Tight end Dan Arnold, arguably Jacksonville’s top offensive receiving weapon, wasn’t even targeted in Sunday’s game.

Meyer said that he thought Lawrence played well against San Francisco, despite not throwing a touchdown pass for the third straight game.

“Actually, one of his better games. You know there was some surrounding cast that at times didn’t do very well. But you know, Trevor’d be the first one to tell you when he doesn’t play well,” Meyer said. “In my mind, he played well. Good enough? No. Not good enough but played well. Made some great throws. Scrambled when he had to. Made the right reads on some. So, we just need to put it together all areas and we’re not right now.”

While Robinson was back in the starting lineup on Sunday, he’s still not back to full speed because of heel and knee injuries. And the offense has been treading water because of that diminished ground game.

“Whenever someone goes down, someone else has to pick up that flag and go harder and we’re not getting that right now,” Meyer said.

That stretches across the offense. With Jamal Agnew now out for the season with a hip injury, that stretches an already thin receiving corps out even more. The team could see tight end James O’Shaughnessy back soon, an addition that would help Lawrence. But that’s not going to add much-needed speed to a unit that is severely lacking it.

Meyer said that he wasn’t sure how quickly new addition John Brown would be up to speed with the offense and if he could potentially help the team as early as Sunday against Atlanta.

The injury news was tough with the loss of Agnew, but Meyer was hopeful on other injured players. Cornerback Shaquill Griffin is in the concussion protocol. Left tackle Cam Robinson is likely good for Sunday’s game and Meyer said he expected “positive news” on fellow cornerback Tyson Campbell (shoulder) and safety Andre Cisco (groin).

Meyer did say he was optimistic that center Brandon Linder and tight end James O’Shaugnessey could return from injury this week.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.