LONDON – The signs are there. Now, they want consistency.
The Jaguars have worked on – and heard about – missed opportunities in the form of red-zone and third-down offense in recent weeks. Just as they have worked on offensive efficiency overall.
"There's still a lot of work to do," Head Coach Doug Pederson said this week.
And as the Jaguars prepare for the second of back-to-back games in London, that remains a theme – that while an offense that has struggled at times this season has shown signs in recent games, progress must still be made.
"It feels like we're starting to string things together," offensive coordinator Press Taylor said Thursday as the Jaguars (2-2) prepared to play the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills (3-1) at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London Sunday.
"We really just want to be efficient. We want to be efficient and explosive. That's kind of one of our commandments. We talked about it a lot as an offense. We've started to gain some traction in being efficient. We're still working to be explosive at certain times when we need to be."
The Jaguars through four games this season rank 15th in the NFL in yards (329.25 yards per game) and 20th in scoring (20 ppg) after ranking ninth in yards (357.3) and 10th in scoring (23.7) in 2022. They scored 16 points outside of an interception return for a touchdown in a 23-7 victory over the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium this past Sunday.
But Pederson this week reiterated what he said immediately following Sunday's game – that there were good signs at key moments against Atlanta that could matter moving forward.
"The biggest thing, we didn't turn the ball over," Pederson said. "We didn't shoot ourselves in the foot with penalties, negative plays. We created some explosive plays there and we finished some drives with points, especially in the second half."
The Jaguars scored an early touchdown on a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trevor Lawrence to wide receiver Calvin Ridley against the Falcons, also driving for field goals on three drives – including two in the second half – that began deep in their territory.
"We did some good things," Pederson said. "We were at the ten-yard line and the six-yard line in that football game and came away with points. There are things to clean up and some areas to clean up and emphasize. But just playing a cleaner game from that standpoint was a step in the right direction."
Taylor on Thursday said some of the approach against the Falcons was dictated by having an early lead against a run-oriented team.
"You have a lot of calls that you don't get to just because again, when you're sitting on 17-point lead, the dynamics of the game change," Taylor said. "You play the game a little differently than you planned to when it was 0-0 and you had four quarters ahead."
The Jaguars through four games this season have yet to score a touchdown on their opening drive. They have converted 16 of 51 third downs and have scored four touchdowns on nine possessions inside their opponents' 20-yard line this season.
"We have some issues that we've talked about already, it's kind of been the same issues all season," Lawrence said. "We're frustrated but continuing to find ways to get better and improve on them.
"I think the most simple answer I can give you is just that we need to execute better. That's what we've been saying. We're happy with the result [against Atlanta] but we have to get better situationally because we're not always going to win games where you don't execute in those situations.
"We're still moving forward and figuring out the best ways to make those improvements."
- Pederson on Ridley, playing his first season with the Jaguars: "He's really done a nice job and he really has learned our offense. I think Press has done a really good job of incorporating him in certain pass concepts. He's embraced that and he's just a tremendous worker on the practice field and continues to improve and get better. He's a really good leader in his room, the wide receiver room, and on the team. I made him a captain last week against Atlanta and his old teammates. He's just been really good."