JACKSONVILLE – This was "time off" well spent.
That's how Head Coach Urban Meyer described the Jaguars' 2021 bye week, which ended Monday as the team began practicing in advance of this week's road trip to Seattle. And for Jaguars coaches, the off week wasn't an off week at all.
The week was spent self-scouting, analyzing how to improve moving forward.
"We did about as deep a dive as I can remember," Meyer said Monday as the Jaguars (1-5) began preparing to play the Seahawks (2-4) at Lumen Field in Seattle, Wash., Sunday.
While players were off Thursday through Sunday, Meyer said coaches stayed to examine the first six weeks of the 2021 season – which began with five consecutive losses and ended with a 23-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins in a Week 6 game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England.
Meyer called the self-scout "priceless."
"There were some very tangible things that came to light that we need to get fixed," he said. "There are certain areas we're just not very good at, and that we struggled in. A lot of it was self-inflicted errors that we have to get fixed."
Meyer, coaching in the NFL for the first time after 17 seasons as a college head coach, said one issue in trying to fix struggling areas involves limited NFL roster size.
"How do you get those reps without having reps, if that makes sense?" Meyer said. "You've got some players who are 30 years old, and with the heat down here, how do you get those practice reps so that they don't make mistakes and not blow the players out?
"That's the biggest issue we've got to get fixed and be more efficient in practice. I actually met with our leaders about that, how we can't have mistakes in practice. I know that sounds simple, but you have to really lock in – especially the younger players."
Meyer called the results interesting, and said he learned from watching NFL games Sunday "just how fragile every snap is, just how fragile teams are."
"The parity of the league is incredible," he said.
Meyer also said the self-scout process told coaches the team's commitment to sports performance is working, citing the comparatively few soft-tissue injuries to players thus far this season.
Meyer on Monday said the Jaguars likely will continue playing more zone coverage after emphasizing press-coverage, man-to-man defense against the pass earlier in the season. The Jaguars had just two interceptions in the first six games of the season. "Playing your back to the ball, which you do a lot in man coverage, doesn't relate to interceptions," Meyer said. "We're going to rotate a little more zone coverage, which we have already."
Meyer also reiterated what he said earlier this season – that the absence of wide receiver DJ Chark Jr.'s deep speed has hurt the Jaguars offensively. "An offense without elite speed on the outside … it's the first time I've had to deal with it," Meyer said while also confirming that Chark will miss the rest of the season with the broken ankle sustained in a Week 4 loss at Cincinnati. "Yeah, that hurts us." Meyer said while wide receivers Laviska Shenault Jr. and Marvin Jones Jr. are playing well, the one thing the Jaguars don't have offensively is "that home-run hitter. We're one speed guy short." Meyer also praised wide receiver/returner Jamal Agnew for his development in this area in recent weeks, calling the fifth-year veteran "our best separator." Agnew, who transitioned from defensive back to receiver last season with the Detroit Lions before signing with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in March, caught a career-high five passes for 78 yards against Miami. "He had a couple where he pulled away," Meyer said.
Meyer said rookie defensive tackle Jay Tufele underwent hand surgery during the bye and should return "in a few weeks." Tufele sustained the injury during pregame warmups before the victory over Miami. … Meyer also said rookie cornerback Tyson Campbell (toe) is expected to return this week. …