Dirk Koetter looks at his two rookie tackles and sees a bright future for the Jaguars offense, but there's no denying the present isn't as bright.
"You're measured by wins and losses. We're 0-2 and we have to do better. We have to have better execution and I'm part of that, too; better coaching, better execution," the Jaguars offensive coordinator said on Thursday.
The Jaguars have the NFL's 24th-ranked offense, 19th in rushing and 22nd in passing. They are numbers that were boosted by a late-game surge this past Sunday, after the Cardinals held a 31-3 lead in the third quarter.
"I look at one number, wins and losses. Would I like that number to be number one?" Koetter said of the offense's overall ranking. "You bet. I'm not an excuse-maker. It is what it is."
The Jaguars head to Houston this weekend to take on a Texans team that is last in the league in defense and in rush-defense. Maybe this is the week the Jaguars offense satisfies expectations.
"We're a professional football team. We have high expectations for ourselves," Koetter said.
Those expectations have not been lessened, despite the on-the-job training rookie tackles Eugene Monroe (pictured center) and Eben Britton are undergoing. Monroe and Britton will be making their third pro starts this weekend.
"There's going to come a time when we look at those two tackles and say, advantage Jaguars," Koetter said.
Until then, quarterback David Garrard will have to deal with defenses bent on rushing him. Through two games, Garrard has been sacked five times and hurried 10 times.
"You would always want your quarterback to get more time to throw. In game one, we saw two elite pass-rushers. When you're down as much as we were in the third quarter, you're not seeing run-defense, you're seeing people teeing off," Koetter said.
Garrard has taken more than his share of the blame for the Jaguars' slow start, but Koetter complimented Garrard on his performance against the Cardinals.
"I thought Dave played much better in game two than he did in game one. Dave had nine completions over 16 yards. I'd be willing to bet there aren't many games where Dave had as many explosive plays as that," Koetter said.
NFL coaches consider runs of 12 or more yards and pass completions of 16 or more yards to be worthy of "explosive play" designation.
"We're looking for eight. We had 11 last week, nine passes, two runs. The week before we had three," Koetter said. "If you have two explosives in a drive, your chance of scoring goes way up. Next to turnovers, it's the most important thing on offense."
The Jaguars will debut three more rookies – wide receivers Mike Thomas and Jarett Dillard and tight end Zach Miller – on offense this week. The expectations remain high.
"You have to have the expectation of this week every week. There is no timetable," Koetter said. "Losing hurts. It should hurt bad. There's only one way out. There's no cavalry riding in to save you. You have to dig your way out."