The Jaguars are ranked sixth in the NFL in rushing offense, fifth in rushing defense, seventh in passing defense. All of these stats are positive signs the team is on the road to success, but the one negative statistic — being ranked 32nd (worst in the NFL) in passing offense — will slow the development.
This weekend, the Jaguars began the Blaine Gabbert era in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars traded up to draft Gabbert as the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Gabbert, 21, played quarterback for three seasons at the University of Missouri before foregoing his senior season to play in the NFL.
And if the Jaguars are going to improve from being the worst passing team in the NFL, Gabbert is the instrument in that movement.
Times have changed around the league. The most productive teams are predominantly passing teams. Just watch the Packers, Saints and Patriots play.
And though some believe a successful running game is mandatory to win a Super Bowl, the Packers disagree. Green Bay ranked 24th in rushing last season, averaging 100.4 yards per game.
But with the personnel the Jaguars have right now, including a young QB, developing the passing game is going to take time.
Nevertheless, in my opinion, here are three things the Jaguars need to do to stay relevant:
No. 1: Let Gabbert sling the ball around. In unconventional passing downs, open up the playbook. It’s easier said than done, but let’s see what Gabbert can do.
No. 2: Use your security blankets. Maurice Jones-Drew is clearly the go-to guy on the field in running downs and as an option for a screen pass. But don’t forget about TE Marcedes Lewis. He had 10 TDs last season.
No. 3: Pick up Terrell Owens or Randy Moss. I know, fans might not like the way they can disrupt team chemistry. But face it, the Jaguars have mostly slot WRs, not a deep-threat wideout. They need an outlet to stretch the field to open up shorter routes.
In the end, if the Jaguars have a terrible record, not all is lost.
But if they don’t make the playoffs, coach Jack Del Rio will surely be out, and the Jags will have a top draft pick in next year’s draft. Could be a great opportunity to begin developing star wide receivers.