As the Jacksonville Jaguars prepare to pack their bags and head across the pond, they'll have to switch out some of their game film first. The Miami Dolphins, the Jags opponents on Sunday in the annual London based game, will likely have starter Tua Tagovailoa back under center. The club designated him for return off of the Injured Reserve list on Tuesday.
Tagovailoa has been on Injured Reserve since Week Two, when the second year quarterback suffered broken ribs during a Dolphins loss to the Buffalo Bills. In the interim, Jacoby Brissett has been acting as the Dolphins starting quarterback.
Tagovailoa only played eight snaps against the Bills before a tackle fractured his ribs. In his 59 snaps so far this season, Tagovailoa has gone 17-31 (54.8%) for 215 yards, one touchdown and one interception, while accumulating one yard on four rushes.
The International Game will pit the 1-4 Dolphins against the winless Jaguars. The Jags are on a franchise record, 20-game losing streak and in dangerous striking distance of the NFL record, 26 game losing streak (Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1976-1977).
A glaring component of the Jaguars losing streak is the inability to force turnovers. That's something Head Coach Urban Meyer knows needs to change. It can start Sunday against Tagovailoa. And their performance against the Tennessee Titans last Sunday—albeit, again in a loss—is the best place to start.
“[It was] our best day pressuring the quarterback. It was our best day, even just missed a couple, missed an opportunity," recalled Meyer on Tuesday. "Shaq [Griffin] had a pick six right in front of him. Until that changes, the score—the game of football from 50 years ago to another 50 after this is about the ball and unless we start getting turnovers—in eight games, we have one. In eight games, we have one.
"We’re out there working, turnover circuit, doing this, doing that. You’ve just got to step in front of one and make a play. And when that does, I think this whole thing changes.”
The Jags pressured Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill 10 times on Sunday, according to Pro Football Focus. It resulted in three sacks. One of those came from K'Lavon Chaisson. The 2020 first round pass rusher had his best game. But for the Jags to get after Tagovailoa—a pocket passer yes, but one with athletic mobility—it'll take more than individual performances.
"We’ve just got to—a lot of communication comes with chemistry and we’ve just got to hang around each other more, we’ve got to be with each other more and more," explained Chaisson on Tuesday. "And it gets more difficult at the professional level, people have families, children and everything. It’s obviously different in college when you’re with each other all day.
"So, it’s just something that we’ve got to—as much time as we can without taking away from family time and our loved ones. [We’ve got to] squeeze all this in that we can and communicate as much as possible and just get everything down we can.”
They'll have a chance to manufacture some quick chemistry this weekend, with a long flight across the Atlanta Ocean. Tua Tagovailoa will now be waiting for them on the other side.