JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It’s more than evident that the Jacksonville Jaguars' offense is broken.
It scored one touchdown, turned the ball over three times and managed just 344 yards against what had been the NFL’s worst defense entering last weekend’s games. The way the offense performed in the 33-16 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at EverBank Field was not an aberration, either.
It has become the norm this season, and if the Jaguars (2-4) are going to turn things around there have to be significant changes, and quickly, because the Jaguars play at Tennessee on Thursday night.
"I think sometimes there’s a fine line," coach Gus Bradley said. "Hey, we’re going to just stick to it, stick to it and believe that it’s going to come, and then there’s also that insanity definition [of doing the same thing and expecting different results], right? So it’s a fine line and I think there are things that you really just stay on it and you keep going and there are other things, obviously, you have to shake up.
"And a lot of challenging. Challenging us as coaches and challenging the players because I believe this is a talented squad. It’s a talented squad that on offense is not playing as well as we need to at times."
So what should be changed? Here are several options:
Personnel switches on the offensive line
The Jaguars are somewhat limited here, especially on the offensive line. There just aren’t a lot of other viable options on the bench. The Jaguars could switch out guards Patrick Omameh or A.J. Cann for Tyler Shatley or Chris Reed or put struggling right tackle Jermey Parnell on the bench for Omameh (he can play tackle, too) or Bryce Harris.
Maybe a change would be a good idea. Jacksonville did manage 105 yards against the Raiders, but the rushing game is going well overall, averaging 76.7 yards per game.
Use the no-huddle a lot more
The Jaguars went to the no-huddle more frequently Sunday than they had all season and it worked to an extent. The Jaguars scored 10 of their 16 points on drives in which they used the no-huddle.
Blake Bortles clearly likes it and has said he’s comfortable in the no-huddle. It sparked the come-from-behind victory over Chicago on Oct. 16. Is it realistic to use it for an entire game? Maybe not, but as with the offensive line changes, things clearly aren’t working the way they are now.
Put Allen Robinson in the slot or in motion more
Offensive coordinator Greg Olson said Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee are smart enough to play all three receiver spots, so why not move Robinson inside? It would give him a chance to get more of a release off the line of scrimmage and the Jaguars could use him in the short passing game.
Robinson is clearly frustrated with the double coverage he’s facing. He’s not able to get separation and he’s getting mugged by defensive backs. He’s also not getting pass interference or holding calls that he believes he should get and that’s impacting his play, too. He has dropped four passes the past two games, including one in the end zone.
Bortles needs to look for Robinson down the field more frequently. Robinson’s strength is going up and getting the ball and the Jaguars aren’t giving him a chance to do that. They have been reluctant to throw him the ball deep when there’s a split safety look because they don’t want a turnover, and that’s a legitimate concern. But how about a back-shoulder throw on the sideline? Robinson thrived on those last year, too, and Bortles has thrown him one in six games.
These last two options are unlikely and would be desperation moves.
It’s unlikely the Jaguars would do this because they’re committed to him as their franchise quarterback, but he might benefit from taking a break. It would give him a chance to sit back, see things from a different angle and decompress. He has admitted to playing tight and it’s clear that he’s pressing and trying to make something happen on every play.
Bortles doesn’t look like the same quarterback who set franchise records in passing yards (4,428) and passing touchdowns (35) in 2015. His mechanics are sloppier, with a windup that looks like it did when he was a rookie, and he’s holding the ball too low (a big reason for two fumbles). He hasn’t improved his decision-making (nine interceptions) and he’s completing less than 60 percent of his passes.
Fire/demote offensive coordinator Greg Olson
Again, an unlikely move and one that would be extremely surprising if it happened. Remember, Bradley stuck with defensive coordinator Bob Babich for three seasons, which turned out to be three of the worst defensive performances in franchise history, before finally firing him when he couldn’t avoid making the change any longer.
Olson’s playcalling has been questionable at times, but he’s certainly not at fault for Robinson's dropping passes, or Bortles’ deciding to throw into triple coverage, or the offensive line's failing to get any movement up front, or holding or false start penalties.
It would be tough for the Jaguars to do any of this over the next few days because it’s a quick turnaround before the road game against the Titans. However, it’s clear that what they’re doing isn’t working and there has been no indication that the offense is even close to figuring it out.
It’s time to make changes. Not doing so would be, as Bradley said, insanity.