Last week turned out to be any given Sunday for the Tennessee Titans.
It was a day when they faced a winless team on the road with a rookie quarterback who was going through predictable growing pains. They opportunities to build a big lead early but did not. They ultimately went to overtime and lost.
No doubt, the lessons from that game are fresh in the minds of the Titans (2-2) who face the winless Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4) and their rookie quarterback going through growing pains on the road Sunday.
“For us, we have to go out and do our jobs and expect a Jaguars (team) that is flying around and making plays,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said.
Here are some things to know about the Jaguars.
Trevor Lawrence has looked the part of the No. 1 overall pick. Lawrence leads all rookie quarterbacks with five touchdown passes and with 82 rushing yards through the first four games. It was his dual-threat ability as a runner and a passer that made him so productive at Clemson and so appealing to the Jaguars. Things have not been perfect. He has completed just 57 percent of his passes and he has thrown more interceptions (seven) than touchdown passes. Most importantly, he has yet to win a game. But then, neither had No. 2 pick Zach Wilson of the Jets before he faced the Titans last week.
“Scrambles are just tough for a defense to defend. It’s hard to cover guys for that long if you can get out of the pocket and extends plays,” Lawrecne said this week. “That’s what I think (Wilson) did a really good job of in the game. You look at that and then you take that into account.”
Jamal Agnew has the longest kickoff return in the NFL this season. An All-Pro as a rookie with Detroit in 2017, Agnew took one back 102 yards for a touchdown in Week 2 against Denver. He is one of just two NFL players who has scored on a kickoff return thus far this season, and he has averaged 41.3 yards on four kickoff returns. On top of that, he returned a missed field goal 109 yards for a touchdown the following week. He also is the Jaguars’ primary punt returner, and while he has averaged just 3.3 yards on four returns (he has twice as many fair catches), he has scored four touchdowns on punt returns in his career. Agnew was the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September.
“Jamal Agnew has been a really good returner,” Titans special teams coordinator Craig Aukerman said. “He already has two touchdowns this year. … Just a dangerous return man that we obviously have to do a great job with our punts, with our kickoffs. And then we have to do a great job with our coverage units going down there and tackling him because he’s a weapon. Anytime he touches the ball he can score a touchdown.”
James Robinson averaged 6.0 yards per carry against Tennessee last season. An undrafted rookie out of Illinois State in 2020, Robinson rushed for 102 yards and one touchdown on 16 attempts (6.4 per carry) in Week 2 last season at Nissan Stadium and then had 67 yards on 12 carries (5.6 per carry) in the Week 14 matchup in Jacksonville. Through the first 18 games of his career, Robinson has 1,742 yards, which puts him in good company with Jaguars greats Leonard Fournette (1,790) and Fred Taylor (1,766) at the same points in their careers. Fournette and Taylor, of course, were top 10 overall draft picks. He has had at least 50 scrimmage yards in every game of his career and is one of three players with active streaks of 15 games or more with 50-plus scrimmage yards (Derrick Henry and Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon are the others).
“Just keep giving him the ball as long as we’re blocking for him,” Jacksonville offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “We had that conversation in here about when you run the ball and you get positive yards, it’s easy to continue to give it to him. I love what I’ve seen from him.”
Quick hits: Jacksonville’s defense has allowed an average of 3.46 yards per carry this season, which ranks fifth in the NFL, and has allowed just one rush of 20 yards or more. … Wide receiver Marvin Jones, in his first year with Jacksonville, has 52 touchdown receptions since the start of 2013. That is tied for sixth in the NFL over that span. … Since the start of the 2019 season, right tackle Jawaan Taylor has played 2,397 snaps on offense, the most by any AFC player over that span. He has not missed a play since the Jaguars selected him in the second round.