It may be unfair to break down the Jaguars 14-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins Sunday on just one play,…
The Jacksonville Jaguars offense has been brutal to watch for most of the season in 2009. Sure, they are highly ranked in terms of yardage (15th overall), but the problem is between the 20's. The problem is in the red zone and under center. Not only are the Jacksonville Jaguars one of the worst teams in the NFL in the red zone, they rank 23rd in the NFL in scoring offense with a measly 18.1 points per game. Here at JagNation.com we've broken down the struggles on the offense and it always winds up finding it's way to one spot, the quarterback.
While I'm sure I'll get accused of being a "hater" or a "basher", the stats simply don't lie. We've heard the excuses all year long. The offensive line is terrible, the wide receivers are young and inconsistent, the defense can't hold a lead, and the play calling is unimaginative. Sure, the offensive line isn't perfect, but what teams' is? The wide receivers are indeed young, but Torry Holt is a future hall of famer and Mike Sims-Walker is clearly the best receiver the Jaguars have had since Jimmy Smith was in his prime, and Sims-Walker is still likely to hit the 1,000 yard mark this year. Sure the defense has been suspect, but that's no excuse for the offense repeatedly failing while it's on the field.
The biggest gripe that I hear about is the play-calling and how the Jaguars need to get "creative". This is the NFL, how creative do you think you're going to get? It's pretty simple when you're facing the Jacksonville Jaguars: Put as many people in the box as you can and force David Garrard to beat you, which is exactly what the Miami Dolphins did to perfection. When a team is loading up to stop Maurice Jones-Drew, what can you really do that's "creative" on offense? When a team plays you like that, typically a good quarterback will be licking his chops at the thought of getting single coverage all day long. The play calling isn't the issue on this team, no play on offense is intended to fail.
David Garrard ended Sunday by going 11 of 26 for 139 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. That's an abysmal day for an quarterback, especially considering that 63 of Garrard's 139 yards came on a single play. While explosive plays like that are great, a single play shouldn't account for nearly half of your passing yardage. Not only did Garrard fail to complete 50% of his throws, but the Jaguars offense went a whopping four of 17 combined on third and fourth downs. Garrard was out of sorts much of the football game, as he ran himself into sacks and consistently left the pocket when it was completely unnecessary. For the seventh time this season, the Jaguars quarterback failed to throw a touchdown pass.
It's almost astounding that a team with a winning record can have seven of 13 games in which it's starting quarterback has not thrown a touchdown pass. Garrard has thrown just 10 in 13 games. To put that into perspective, Bruce Gradkowski of the Oakland Raiders has started just four games and has six passing touchdowns. Certainly Jacksonville has better offensive talent and coaching than the Oakland Raiders.
These final three games could determine David Garrard's future with this franchise. Sunday was an extremely important game with playoff implications. The next two games against Indianapolis and New England are now that much more important. Unfortunately, it seems like a repeat of the 2006 season is inevitable, where the Jaguars entered the final three games of the season with an 8-5 record and finished 8-8.
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