This off-season has been filled with new faces in the Jacksonville Jaguars locker room. No it’s not just the rookie class headlined by edge rusher Josh Allen and offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor. Also, it’s not just the signing of former Super Bowl MVP quarterback Nick Foles. But there are more new faces, including coaches. What can we expect from a team that finished a disappointing 5-11 in 2018? A team searching for answers to reconstruct an offensive mindset.
How to Reconstruct the Jacksonville Jaguars Offensive Mindset
The biggest struggle for the Jaguars in 2018 was moving the ball consistently on offense. At 15.3 points per game, the Jaguars were second to last in the NFL. The Jaguars were near the bottom with a paltry 302 total yards per game. They also struggled to run the ball effectively and finished in the bottom half of the league at 107 rushing yards. However the biggest impact was the lack of first downs (277 or 17.3 per game). There was a frustrating inability to sustain drives and allow one the league’s top defenses to rest and avoid problematic situations.
Perhaps the biggest impact will be from new offensive line coach George Warhop and new running backs coach, Terry Robiskie. The vision for the Jaguars continues to be to run the ball effectively and often. This has not changed with the addition of Foles and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.
However, the look and feel of the 2019 Jaguars will be different. DeFilippo favors working out of a shotgun or pistol set, which is Foles’ preference as well. It has been noted that running back Leonard Fournette is not as comfortable in this formation. Apparently, he has a few months to become adjusted. This is where Robiskie comes in.
Towards the end of 2018, it was evident that former running backs coach Ty Wheatley lost control of this group. Grumblings and pouting have no place on a roster. The Jaguars front office had to make a change. This one was interesting as Robiskie has mainly worked as a wide receivers coach throughout his tenure in the NFL. However, he played the position at LSU, similar to Fournette and Alfred Blue. Perhaps the Jags are trying to incorporate a sense of Bayou Bengal respect as a tool to gain the reigns of this group? Maybe.
But Robiskie does have the NFL pedigree of influencing running backs such as Marcus Allen and wide receivers like Julio Jones. He needs to prepare Fournette mentally, who has been criticized the past two years for his immaturity. Additionally, he will need to ensure the other running backs in the stable are ready to relieve Fournette, as he has yet to play a full season.
Warhop In the Trenches
Since 1996, Warhop has left his footprint on several NFL teams. Additionally, his guidance helped mold Pro Bowlers Orlando Pace, Joe Thomas, and Larry Allen. Warhop joins the Jaguars fresh off the heels of an impressive 2018 season in Tampa Bay, a year that saw his unit contribute to multiple Buccaneer records for first downs, total yards, and scoring. Head coach Doug Marrone hopes for this to translate to Jacksonville.
FUN FACT: Warhop coached Doug Marrone in NFL Europe in the early 1990s.
The Jaguars offensive line suffered catastrophic injuries in 2018 leading to poor offensive output. However, the unit lacked discipline and aggressiveness. The first step is to return the offensive line from injuries. Next, get the new faces like Taylor acclimated to play from day one. If Warhop can propel the offensive line to another level, the play action passing game will be re-inserted into the playbook. It’s a section of the playbook that was deleted in 2018.
The road to a competitive offense will be difficult with the Jaguars’ current roster. However, the new regime of coaches will be looked upon to challenge the group. DeFilippo and Robiskie can lean on Warhop’s years in the trenches to get the team to execute efficiently. Warhop also has familiarity with coaching running backs, which can offset the inexperience of Robiskie. The pieces of the Jaguars’ offense may seem puzzling right now. But it’s up to the new faces among the coaching staff to put it all together.
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