JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A win is a win … I guess. The Jaguars start the year 1-0 and are in first place in the AFC South, but getting there wasn’t a smooth road.
Not many people would argue that the Colts have a better team than the Jaguars. This should have been a landslide kind of win. At times, it looked like it would be. But the Jaguars just couldn’t close the door on Indy. Start fast and finish faster has been the Jaguars mantra. Well, they started relatively fast and then definitely finished fast, but it was that middle part where they got in trouble during Sunday’s 31-21 win. Here are my 4 Cents from Week 1.
Is this the real Josh Allen?
There is pressure on every play on the Jaguars roster, but Josh Allen may have the most pressure. He is in a contract year and looking for a big deal from somebody. Allen came into the NFL with a boom, double-digit sack as a rookie, but he has never been able to get back to that level. Well, he might this year. Allen racked up three sacks against the Colts. I wouldn’t say it was a pass-rush clinic from Allen but a very solid showing. We have discussed the Jags pass rush in detail for weeks. I have not had much faith in Allen’s ability to turn pressures into sacks, but if Allen can have the kind of year that can turn me into a believer that would be huge for the Jags.
The game plan is simple — get the ball to Ridley. If only it was that simple. Calvin Ridley had a fantastic debut game for the Jaguars. He is exactly who everyone expected him to be. Get ready to see No. 0 catching a lot of passes this season.
Doug Pederson turned the keys to the offense over to Press Taylor. This is the first game that Taylor called plays for the Jags from start to finish. It was a shaky showing. There were some short yardage calls that left everyone scratching their heads. The offense just didn’t look in sync for long stretches. That isn’t out of the ordinary. There is an art to calling plays. Taylor has been there and knows the offense, but finding that groove can take time.
Some of the best play callers in the NFL had head-scratching-type games when they first took over those duties. It happens. Being too aggressive and too conservative. Getting too cute and being creative. These are fine lines that must be walked. Looking at decisions in hindsight or being the secondary voice in the conversation is different than being the guy. Taylor will be just fine. He is a future NFL head coach. No need to think of some of the play-calling missteps as anything more than growing pains.
The one thing that can derail the Jaguars offense is their offensive line. The Colts D line is a very good group but the Jaguars have to be better. The injury to Brandon Scherff exposes another weakness for the Jaguars, their offensive line depth. During the preseason, I said depth isn’t an issue until it becomes an issue. Well, it is Week 1 and it is an issue. Last season, ESPN ranked the Jaguars’ offensive line 31st in pass-block win-rate. The team had shirts made with that ranking on them. Those shirts may have been a motivator during camp, but it hasn’t changed the results much.