Moeller: Jacksonville Jaguars Appear to be at Half-Full, Half-Empty Stage

By Jeff Moeller

SportsDay Columnist

The loss in Philadelphia hurt and left a stinging sensation.

You can blame some of it one the rain. But the Jags’ defense couldn’t slow nor stop the Eagles’ running game.

 The home loss against Houston left everyone a little numb and the second-guessing began. How good is this team?

The latest loss in Indianapolis left everyone in shock. How could the Jags allow it to slip away? This time, the Jaguars’ pass defense couldn’t stop the Indianapolis passing game from which quarterback Matt Ryan 42 of 58 attempts for 398 yards, the 32-yard game winner with 17 seconds left.

Defensive back Shaquill Griffin can be blamed for falling down on his single coverage on the play, but it wasn’t one person’s fault.

That was a further reminder of how growth pains can be frustrating.

The Jags once had a 14-3 lead and appeared ready to open up the game..but they didn’t.

Ouch. They haven’t learned how to finish consistently. We’re at the half-full, half-empty stage.

Now the Jags (2-4) will come back to TIAA field with a sudden three-game losing streak facing a streaking New York Giants team that has been the talk of the league with their 5-1 record. The Giants, who have won three in a row, recently pulling out a win in the final minutes at home over Baltimore.

The once rising expectations of a legitimate shot at making a run at the division and possibly a playoff run have taken a nosedive.

Yet, you shouldn’t give up hope and think the new plan has to be scrapped.  Yes, the once pie=dream thoughts of a division run, and a playoff bid has lost much of its flame. 

New head coach Doug Pederson didn’t buy into all the early hype. He saw the big picture in a long-range plan. A five-or six-win 2022 season isn’t a bad situation.

Pederson has kept it in perspective

“I’m still confident in this group,” Pederson said. “When you put the tape on, it’s about us; it’s about what we do and sometimes about what we don’t do.

“We’ve got a group of guys who want to get it fixed. That’s the encouraging part.”

Pederson is right. This group of Jaguars really do want to get it fixed. In their first six games, they certainly have shown the initiative.

We may have forgotten or overlooked Jags’ quarterback Trevor Lawrence had a 20-for-22 , 165-yard, one touchdown pass and two rushing touchdowns performance against Indianapolis. The loss easily overshadowed a stellar showing.

Lawrence has an impressive 133-203, 1,397 yards, nine touchdown, four interception slate for the year. Looking closer, though, Lawrence is 56-for-92, 625 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions in October.

That latter stat is a reflection and a reminder of where this team is.

Again, you can look at the progress of running backs Travis Etinne and James Robinson as well as receivers Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and tight end Evan Engram. Linebackers Devin Lloyd and Foyesade Oluokan are both having All-Pro seasons.

On the flip side, the pass and run defense has incurred some serious scratches on the exterior.

So, how does this inconsistent team stay close to the Giants Sunday? We shall see. They do play with more intensity at home and will need to turn the nob a little higher.

However, take the path of Pederson. For the time being, we can’t get too high or too low with this team.

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