Jaguars Mailbag: What Did the Miami Loss Reveal?

John Shipley

With a few days now having passed since the Jacksonville Jaguars' ugly primetime loss to the Miami Dolphins at home, we have taken to social media to take questions on the 1-2 Jaguars and where they can go from here. 

From James Robinson to Todd Wash, we ponder what the 31-13 loss taught us about this Jaguars team and what can be expected moving forward. 

Q: The defensive roster is that bad talent-wise or Todd Wash is becoming a major liability?

A: The defense isn't super talent deficient because they have three first-round picks on the defensive line, a top-10 pick at cornerback, and two of the NFL's highest-paid linebackers. They are weak at certain spots, however, such as defensive tackle and safety. This combines with a scheme that relies on bending and not breaking instead of making plays and results in the defense you see this season.

Q: With Florida going to Phase 3, will this increase stadium capacity? Also, do we think the NFL will relax the mask requirement when you’re in your seating pod and socially distanced from others not in your family?

A: The Jaguars said when they announced the limited stadium capacity that any increase in capacity would be dependent on the developments in terms of health and safety. Governor Ron DeSantis said this week he would like to see fans at Tampa Bay Buccaneer games (Tampa's stadium will host Super Bowl LV), so it isn't a stretch to think it could happen. I won't make any assumptions, but it should be known as a possibility. 

Q: Taven Bryan. Do the Jags think he is a bust? Are they going to move on from him? 

A: The Jaguars more or less have said for the last two years that they think Taven Bryan is better than the public perception of him is, and that he is better than his meager stats, but this just hasn't been the case in 2020. If the Jaguars aren't concerned with his inability to impact the game this season, then that is a bigger issue in of itself. 

Q: Status on Ryquell Armstead? Are the coaches still high on him? What does his role look like when he returns?

A: He is still on the reserve/COVID-19 list, just as he has been since Sept. 4. At this point, there is no reason to think he would have a big role whenever he returns. You can't justify taking James Robinson off of the field for Armstead when he hasn't shown anything in camp or during the season.

Q: What was up with the lack of crossing routes and short slants for Laviska on Thursday? Didn’t seem like they were scheming to get him in space in rhythm.

A: You are right in a sense. The Jaguars used mostly outside breaking routes when executing the quick-passing game. Part of this is because of how the Dolphins crowd the middle of the field and make it a dangerous area to throw in, but another part is the fact that Gardner Minshew II just didn't pull the trigger on a decent number of open routes, some of which included Shenault.

Q: Sewell or Lawrence in the first?

A: I am not sure if there is a single NFL team that doesn't have Mahomes, Watson, Wilson, or Murray at quarterback right now that could justify passing on Trevor Lawrence if given the opportunity. This includes the Jaguars, even with Minshew impressing in two games this year. Lawrence is simply too good, and if you have a chance to pick him it means your team had a bad season the year before anyway.

Q: What is the mindset of our front office? Strategy? I think that’s where the real problem is...we look cheap

A: I think Dave Caldwell put it well when he spoke to the media after the cut-downs. He said he wanted to add to the talent of the roster but cleaning up the salary cap was a priority this offseason. I think a mix of Jacksonville's draft capital and lack of players to extend due to the Ramsey and Ngakoue trades ultimately played into Jacksonville's current roster, which is technically on the cheap side compared to other NFL teams.

Q: Do Ozigbo and even Armstead have a roll when they come back? Or is this the Robinson/Thompson show until further notice?  

A: Until James Robinson slows down, I don't think you should expect any other running back to get more than a few touches a game. Robinson is on a roll right now and Gruden tends to ride with the hot hand at running back.

Q: Who deserves more blame for the current state of the defense, Wash or Caldwell?

A: It is a mix. Todd Wash has not been able to prepare his defense to play for any of the three games this season, and it constantly looks like the defense is on its heels and playing reactionary. But on the flip side, it could have been predicted the Jaguars would struggle defending the pass when you look at their issues at defensive tackle, safety, and even cornerback.

Q: What changes would you make on defense?

A: They are kind of stuck with the pieces they have for this year, but I would play K'Lavon Chaisson and Timmy Jernigan more and play Adam Gotsis and Taven Bryan less. Chaisson and Jernigan have made more plays this year than their counterparts, who have been starters.

Q: Is there any real chance the Jaguars can win more than 3 games with this defense and their schedule?

A: I think so. There are plenty of winnable games on the schedule, both in the first and second half of the season. The Jaguars are good enough to steal a few, even if they should not be expected to have a winning record by the end of the season.

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