Jacksonville Sports Day

Moeller: Patience Suffers, Frustration Mounts 11 Games into NFL Season

Photo by Nancy Beecher/SportsDay

Eleven games into the season, a young or struggling team is usually looking for a strong finish.

Take a look at the Giants, Redskins, Dolphins and Chargers  for proof.

The Jaguars fall into both of those categories, but they apparently are not headed down that path. Sunday’s loss to Atlanta was further evidence of their case.

Avoid punching the wall or throwing something at the TV. Stay calm and patient.

Jacksonville has shown promise in different quarters, but aside from the Buffalo game and possibly against Cincinnati and Miami, they haven’t put four quarters together. You can see the promise in Trevor Lawrence and others, but they haven’t been able to finish.

Promise and potential have made it a better year in some ways, but if they don’t eventually translate into wins, they have a short lifespan.

The Jags have given their fans a tease, but it quickly becomes frustrating for them and the team.

Frustration may be the buzz word for this season. You can see the progression and you wish you could catch the lightning in a bottle.

There is little doubt that Lawrence will eventually put it all together. If the Jags let him, Lawrence can develop into one of the better run-pass option quarterbacks in the league.

The Jaguars did find a way to get running back James Robinson more carries even though Robinson still has been hobbled with his ankle issues.  The offensive line has been solid for most of the season, and they have had their share of miscues. Their real drawback has been untimely penalties, such as tackle Jawaan Taylor holding call inside Atlanta’s five-yard line Sunday.

Lawrence’s failure to connect with his receivers on their last drive against Atlanta raised the questions of missed and mixed-up routes Monday in head coach Urban Meyer’s presser Monday. 

A lack of communication and timing also could be a factor that has held back Lawrence’s progression.

The Jags have lost receivers Jamal Agnews and D.J. Clark along with tight end Dan Arnold. They also have released and signed a handful of receivers throughout the season. Marvin Jones and Lavishka Shenault currently are their leading receivers.

 The real enigma has been the Jags’ defense, and their lack of consistency. Their dominant performance against Buffalo led everyone to believe that they finally found their niche. They currently rank 18th against the pass and run in the league with 19 sacks and five interceptions.

But, like they have the entire season, the defense has performed one of the best vanishing acts since Houdini, notably in the first halves in the past two weeks. Lawrence and the offense have developed enough to carry the load.

And then there is the Meyer factor. Of course, his name surfaced with the USC and Notre Dame opening, but he has pledged his allegiance to the franchise. Meyer surely will dismantle part of the coaching staff, one of the more prominent rumors in recent weeks.

The Jags travel to LA this weekend to meet an underachieving and frustrating Rams team, having more at stake than them in a similar situation. The Jets and a rematch with the Texans really are the only feel-good games left on their schedule.

Likely we have all season, expectations have to be tempered. Frustration levels will continue to rise, but Jags’ fans will have to keep the faith. This will get better. 

Insanity is the art of doing the same thing over and over. In the NFL, that same quality is considered a bad football team.

Since April, the mantra of “In Lawrence We Trust” shouldn’t change, and we all realize how patience is a true virtue.    

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