The Jacksonville Jaguars have, at long last, felt a win again. For only the second time in many of the careers in the locker room, the Jaguars are entering a new week as winners instead of as bitter and downtrodden losers.
As such, this week it is hard to not think the Jaguars are mostly on the rise following a 23-20 win over the Miami Dolphins in London. Sitting at 1-5 entering the bye week isn't exactly ideal, but it is far better than the 0-6 alternative.
So who is seeing their stock rise following the Jaguars' first win in over a calendar year, and who are the few players still needing to see a turnaround to get back on track? We review below.
QB Trevor Lawrence
Another week, another step forward for Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence had a few rookie moments (a red-zone fumble on a sack and a few inaccurate passes on third-downs), but he once again looked the part when looking at the entire picture. Lawrence may not have had complete accuracy for the day, but he did make several throws of a high level of difficulty to move the Jaguars downfield and into favorable positions. Without big throws from Lawrence to Marvin Jones, Jamal Agnew, Laviska Shenault, and Luke Farrell, the Jaguars don't win that game on Sunday. Lawrence once again went through a game without many mistakes from a decision-making perspective, either, showing maturity in crucial situations.
K Matthew Wright
Sunday was a coming out party for Matthew Wright. After missing a field goal and a PAT against the Tennessee Titans last week, Wright was perfect for the Jaguars against the Dolphins. He made three field goals: a 40-yard field goal in the first-half, a 54-yard field goal to tie the game with fewer than four minutes left, and the game-winning 53-yard field goal as time expired. Those were the first three field goals any Jaguars kicker has made this year, making Wright a folk hero in Jacksonville and earning him the Jaguars' full-time kicking job moving forward.
DE/OLB Josh Allen and DE/OLB Dawuane Smoot
The Jaguars' starting edge defenders had their best games of 2021, a big reason the Jaguars' defense was able to limit the Dolphins to 20 points despite giving up big plays throughout the first-half. Allen and Smoot each recorded six pressures and three quarterback hits, both season-highs for the pair. The Jaguars failed to bring down Tua Tagovaiola, but the Dolphins didn't have much of a true dropback passing game due to Allen and Smoot consistently beating their offensive tackles.
S Rudy Ford
Sunday was a breakout game for Rudy Ford. The veteran safety and long-time special teams ace has stepped into a larger role for the Jaguars' defense in recent weeks and this continued against Miami, with Ford playing most of the Jaguars' third-downs in place of a second linebacker. Ford finished the game with three notable defense stops to force the Dolphins to punt, stopping them just short of the first-down marker. His range in coverage and speed coming downhill to fit against the run were much-needed additions to the Jaguars' defense, at least for one week.
WR Jamal Agnew
Jamal Agnew is no longer a return specialist. He is an elite return man who also happens to be a dangerous weapon on offense, with Agnew moving into full-time slot receiver role for the Jaguars over the last two weeks. Agnew recorded career highs in catches and receiving yards against the Dolphins and came up with two big third-down conversions for Trevor Lawrence, catching each pass in traffic and playing much larger than his small stature and frame would suggest. Agnew has become a legit go-to weapon for Lawrence over the last three weeks, and Sunday was his best game yet.
WR Marvin Jones
Speaking of best games yet, Sunday was a legitimate No. 1 WR showing from Marvin Jones. While Jones' skill set is better as a Robin to another player's Batman, Jones was the Jaguars' alpha dog at receiver against Miami and came up huge for Trevor Lawrence time and time again, converting several third-downs in contested situations and catching Lawrence's 28-yard touchdown pass in the face of tight man coverage. Jones was flawless against the Dolphins on a day where the Jaguars' other receivers weren't quite as consistent.
LB Shaquille Quarterman and Chapelle Russell
The Jaguars rotated their linebackers on Sunday, playing a combination of Shaquille Quarterman, Chapelle Russell, Damien Wilson, and Dakota Allen. Quarterman and Russell were especially impressive, with each coming up with big stops on the Jaguars' final two drives. Quarterman forced a big incompletion on second-down on the final drive and helped the Jaguars limit the Dolphins rushing attack, while Russell played a big part in the Jaguars' game-winning fourth-down stop on the final defensive play of the game. That makes it two weeks in a row where the pair of young linebackers has impressed, which could mean more playing time sooner than later.
WR Tyron Johnson
Johnson was a healthy scratch for the Jaguars on Sunday despite Jacksonville missing a field-stretching threat against a hurt Dolphins secondary. While Marvin Jones has come up big on a few vertical shots, Johnson is the only healthy receiver the Jaguars have who can be considered a true deep threat and a speed demon. Despite this, Johnson sat the bench in favor of Tavon Austin and Laquon Treadwell, who combined for only two targets on Sunday. All things considered, that was a major indictment of the Jaguars' trust, or lack thereof, in Johnson.
TE Jacob Hollister
The time has come and gone for Jacob Hollister in the Jaguars' offense. He is clearly the Jaguars' No. 4 tight end, playing virtually no snaps on Sunday while Dan Arnold, Chris Manhertz, and Luke Farrell all played big roles. Hollister's drop issues in Week 3 have clearly pushed him to the bottom of the depth chart, and it is hard to imagine he will still have a role with James O'Shaughnessy returns from IR.
DL Taven Bryan
Taven Bryan missed the first game of his career on Sunday, being made a healthy scratch in favor of rookie defensive tackle Jay Tufele. Tufele didn't play due to a hand injury he sustained during warmups, but the fact that the rookie pushed Bryan all the way to the sidelines and the bench after just a few weeks of regular-season practice and one showing against the Titans in Week 5 says a lot. Bryan's time as a contributor for the Jaguars is over, even with Tufele's injury.
DE/OLB Jihad Ward
It is becoming harder for the Jaguars to continue to justify giving Jihad Ward a large share of snaps. While he plays a different role from K'Lavon Chaisson, it is hard not to think the Jaguars wouldn't have more juice on the field from a pass-rush perspective with either Chaisson or even rookie Jordan Smith on the field in passing downs. Per PFF, Ward had 23 pass-rush snaps against a bad Dolphins' offensive line but recorded just one pressure -- giving him just two in the last three games. Ward is a decent edge setter, but the Jaguars could get more on third-down.