What the Numbers Say About Jaguars OC Jay Gruden’s Past Offenses, Part 1
After a down year offensively in 2019, the Jacksonville Jaguars know they will need to their unit to improve by leaps and bounds if they hope to improve upon last year's 6-10 record and last place finish in the AFC South. One of the most important factors in that hopeful improvement? Jay Gruden.
Gruden is the Jaguars' new offensive coordinator after the team mutually parted ways with John DeFilippo earlier this offseason. Gruden will be tasked with improving an offense that ranked 26th in points scored and 20th in yards per play last season.
Before his arrival in Jacksonville, Gruden was the Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator (2011-2013) and the Washington Redskins head coach (2014-2019). Below are Gruden’s offense’s yearly ranks in points per game, yards per play, Expected Points Added per play, Pro Football Focus grade and Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average.
Gruden has historically coached very average offenses. In each of the five metrics listed, his offenses ranked between 15th and 18th in total offensive efficiency from 2011-2018 (2019 isn’t included because Gruden coached just five games before being fired).
The 2016 Redskins offense was easily Gruden’s finest. The team ranked 12th in points scored but top-five in each of the other offensive efficiency metrics. (For what it’s worth, that was Sean McVay’s last season in Washington before being hired as head coach of the Los Angeles Rams.)
Other than 2016, Gruden’s offenses performed fairly mediocrely. Gruden’s history of middling offenses isn’t exactly riveting but is still much better than Jacksonville’s standards. The Jaguars rank no better than 30th in all five offensive metrics in the Dave Caldwell Era (since 2013).
Here are a few more characteristics of Gruden’s past offenses:
- -Gruden’s past offenses have an average pass heaviness rank of 17th. His teams have historically had a 58.6% pass rate, compared to Jacksonville’s 61.9% pass rate last season. Gruden, a former quarterback, is known for his West Coast passing scheme but doesn’t necessarily shy away from the run. is a must for Jacksonville in 2020.
- Gruden’s past offenses have an average red zone touchdown rate rank of 19th. His teams have historically had a 53.6% red zone touchdown rate, compared to Jacksonville’s 40.4% red zone touchdown rate last season. Improved red zone production is a must for Jacksonville in 2020.
- Gruden’s past offenses have typically produced a fairly average quarterback. Gruden’s quarterbacks regularly ranked outside the top-10 in most quarterback efficiency metrics, with the exception of Kirk Cousins in 2015 and 2016, and overall have averaged 0.056 EPA per play. For context, Carson Wentz ranked 19th with 0.060 EPA per play last season (Minshew ranked 24th with -0.003 EPA per play).
In the last decade, Jacksonville has cycled through six offensive coordinators and ranked top-16 in points scored just twice. Getting just league-average offensive production out of the 2020 Jaguars would likely be considered a success for Gruden. In order to do that, he must tap into Gardner Minshew’s full potential, which will be further analyzed in an upcoming Jaguar Report article.