JACKSONVILLE – Week 1 was cool. People liked it.
Week 2 wasn't nearly as cool.
A 37-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field Sunday afternoon not only wasn't cool, it was no fun, it was too familiar and it was all of those things no one around the Jaguars wanted from the 2017 regular-season opener.
As John Riggins once said, "You eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you."
Let's get to it …
Mark from Archer, FL:
This is the problem: we have a great running game but we still have Blake Bortles throwing the ball. If you're going to have a quarterback who only throws so much you need him to: one, be accurate; and two, not turn the ball over. Bortles still cannot do either of those things.
John: This was the much-anticipated, much-ballyhooed first email of the game. I thought at the time it was a bit premature. Color me incorrect.
JT from Rosamond, CA by way of Jacksonville:
Our defense deserves better than Bortles.
John: I read this email during a second half in which the Titans pulled away from the Jaguars; it was hard to argue this email at that time. The Jaguars' defense played admirably in the first half Sunday. Actually, it played better than admirably. It kept the Jaguars in the game – 6-3 at halftime – despite two first-half turnovers by Bortles and the offense. It then kept the Jaguars in the game early in the third quarter despite a third turnover in as many possessions by the offense. The Titans then pulled away with two late third-quarter touchdowns and ran effectively early in the fourth quarter. It appeared the defense faded – and frankly, it was understandable that it faded. There's only so long a defense can keep a team in the game in the NFL with an ineffective offense. On Sunday, that time was about two-and-a half quarters.
Dave from Jacksonville:
What we learned today: Blake Bortles and the Jags are Blake Bortles and the Jags.
John: Sunday indeed felt familiar on a lot of fronts, with the most obvious front being turnovers and an ineffective passing offense. Jaguars players in the locker room insisted this wasn't a case of slipping into old habits. They talked mostly of needing to avoid turnovers and penalties. The season is young. The Jaguars are 1-1. They're tied for first place. The Jaguars will have more than ample opportunity to prove themselves right and their doubters wrong.
Chris from Jacksonville:
Well, that's the Jags I remember. Tell me, Oh master of O, what is my cause for hope?
John: This answer is actually easy – though it's not an answer many fans will want to hear this evening. This Jaguars team is the same Jaguars team that beat the Houston Texans in Week 1 – and that should provide some hope. The hope is that if this team can get a lead and at least a sniff of offensive efficiency, it will have a chance to win games. It probably needs to create points defensively, and it needs to stay close enough to stick with the running game throughout. These are things we knew entering the season, and those are things we basically knew after Week 1. The difference was that the Jaguars got a lead against a team with a struggling offensive line in Week 1 in Houston. That was a perfect-storm game in which everything went right. Things don't go right all of the time in the NFL. This team probably won't be a great come-from-behind team. It probably won't be great at getting out of second-and-long and third-and-long situations. Teams without elite quarterback play have trouble in those situations, and the Jaguars don't have elite quarterback play. But the Jaguars do have pieces that can make them effective. They can run. They can play defense if the defense is given help. Those are situations in which they can succeed. They just have to be better at getting into those situations.
Vince from Jacksonville:
Four of five 1st-and-20 or worse. And that doesn't include the penalties on punts or kicks for the extra loss of 10 yards as well. Can't win like that!
John: I counted three situations when the Jaguars were 1st-and-20 or worse Sunday. I also counted two more when they were 2nd-and-19 or worse. I counted and recounted and then I honestly stopped counting. I was tired, quite honestly. Situations of worse than 1st-and-10 and double digits are called "playing behind the chains. All offenses try to avoid playing behind the chains because it's hard to convert those situations. Teams that emphasize the running game try doubly hard. When the Jaguars face 3rd-and-anything beyond five it feels like they're in trouble, so playing behind the chains is a mammoth "can't do" for this team. Their first behind-the-chains situation came with just under 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter Sunday. Their first turnover came on a sack-fumble seconds later on second-and-16. They had four more scenarios in which they were well behind the chains. It's not coincidental that the offense struggled from the middle of the second quarter on.
Sid from Sadsville:
Week 1 game plan didn't work in Week 2. Once again we have a coach who cannot make adjustments and a quarterback who fails this team repeatedly. Looks like we will be drafting a quarterback with yet another top 5 pick. #SameOleJags
John: So, we're back to coaching again … that was fast.