Another week, another Jaguars' loss. For the last 16 NFL Sundays (and one unfortunate Thursday Night Game), the Jaguars have been losers, finding themselves on the wrong end of 60-minute battles against opposing squads.
This didn't change in Week 2, with the Jaguars dropping to 0-2 and extending their losing streak to 17 games following a 23-13 loss at the hands of the Denver Broncos at TIAA Bank Field.
What did we see during the loss and what does it all mean moving forward? We take a look below to break it all down.
Jacksonville is still losing its one-on-one battles on the outside -- offensively and defensively
Until the Jaguars start to win on the perimeter, it is going to be hard for them to remain competitive in games. Sunday's game against Denver was a tremendous example of how much winning on the outside can determine games. The teams that create the most explosive plays are typically the teams that are going to win on Sundays. And against Denver, the Jaguars couldn't generate big plays or stop them.
The Broncos' receivers were better than the Jaguars' cornerbacks, and Denver's secondary shut down the Jaguars' passing attack. This was the case the week before in Houston, as well, creating cause for concern considering how much the Jaguars invested in both the receiver and cornerback rooms.
Denver won some significant one-on-ones downfield, including a Courtland Sutton 55-yard catch over Chris Claybrooks. The Jaguars recorded just three pass breakups on Sunday, bringing their season total to five over two games. With no big plays made in the secondary while opposing offenses now have two 50-yard plays through two weeks is a recipe for disaster.
Then there is the offense. A good portion of the Jaguars' struggles can be placed on Trevor Lawrence's rough second-half from an accuracy and decision-making standpoint, but drops from Laviska Shenault and poor plays by the backup receivers hurt the offense just as much. The Jaguars didn't have many open receivers to begin with on Sunday, though, which falls on their inability to get separation against Denver's secondary. And when the Jaguars did get separation, such as on the defensive pass interference called against Patrick Surtain II on DJ Chark, the Jaguars' protection or quarterback prevented the offense from getting the ball to the receivers.
Trevor Lawrence's inaccuracy and decision-making is a part of the Jaguars' issues on offense, but not the whole picture
As we alluded to above, there are other issues with the Jaguars' offense, but Trevor Lawrence may be the top one right now. That isn't making any long-term judgment on Lawrence, of course, but through two weeks he has some terribly inefficient numbers from a passing standpoint, completing 50% of his passes for 5.4 yards per attempt. Lawrence has the league's worst completion percentage above expectation among all quarterbacks with two starts this season, per Next Gen Stats. He is a big reason the offense has struggled, and Sunday was a prime example why.
But Lawrence isn't the sole reason the Jaguars' offense has struggled, which is just as important to keep in mind. The Jaguars haven't been helped out by their lack of offensive balance or play-calling, with James Robinson totaling just 16 carries through two weeks. The Jaguars' offensive line is better at run blocking than pass blocking and the unit has done a fine job of paving the way for Robinson when asked this year. Add the lack of balance, which plays right into the defense's hands, to the Jaguars' shaky route combinations that rarely threaten the middle of the field and some bad play among the specialists, and there are a number of issues with the Jaguars' offense that goes beyond Lawrence.
It may soon be time to move on from Josh Lambo
It is never easy to let go of a player who has so many times established himself as the man for the job, but the Jaguars are quickly approaching that point with veteran kicker Josh Lambo. Lambo is the most accurate kicker in franchise history and was one of the NFL's best kickers from 2017-2019, but an injury wiped out his 2020 season and he is now 0-3 on field goals in 2021, which includes two missed field goals on Sunday against Denver.
Through two games, Lambo has had the worst start to the season of any kicker. Of the 23 kickers who have attempted at least three field goals this season, Lambo is the only kicker to not make any of them. Simply put, the formerly automatic Lambo is in the biggest rut of his career, and on Sunday it helped cost the Jaguars the game. The Jaguars need to either fix Lambo or find alternative solutions, and they need to do it quickly.
The Jaguars' interior pass-rush failed to get home against a backup OG, signaling some major concerns moving forward
Jacksonville recorded three sacks and 12 pressures against a solid Denver offensive line on Sunday, but it was a bit jarring to see the Jaguars not look more impressive up front considering Denver was missing one of their best linemen in starting guard Graham Glasgow. Despite Glasgow being replaced by 2020 sixth-round pick Netan Muti, who was a liability in limited snaps in 2020, the Jaguars failed to get much interior pressure against Teddy Bridgewater.
The Jaguars saw disruption from their blitzing safeties, Josh Allen and Dawuane Smoot, while Adam Gotsis also recorded a sack and a pair of tackles for loss. But Roy Robertson-Harris had just one notable pass-rush win and didn't make any impact stops as a run defender, while Taven Bryan, Malcom Brown, and DaVon Hamilton offered nothing in terms of a pass-rush. The Jaguars had players flying off the edges, but the Broncos easily avoided them due to a strong performance against Jacksonville's interior defensive line.
Jaguars had a better game from a coaching standpoint, but still not good enough
From a coaching standpoint, the Jaguars did show improvement on Sunday, though the bar was low. Jacksonville didn't have the nightmarish performance they had in Week 1, with the entire defense showing better communication and simply looking more prepared, while the entire opening offensive script was a thing of beauty. If the Jaguars get better execution on a few big plays, the coaching staff would have had them in a position to win.
But that is still not good enough, at least not in the NFL and not in a year where the head coach has declared the team is not rebuilding. The Jaguars still looked like a team that wasn't going to be able to out-scheme the opposing team, nor are the Jaguars' young players developing at a fast enough rate. The Jaguars cut out the amateurish penalties, but they still have a long way to go.