Before anyone gets too excited about the Jacksonville Jaguars decision to claim wide receiver Jaelen Strong off waivers from the Houston Texans, it’s worth noting just why it was Strong was available in the first place.
After all, you can make the argument that as desperate as the Jaguars were and maybe still are for help at the wide receiver position, the Texans may be even more desperate.
When the Texans finally decided on Monday to carry out the plan to dump Strong that they first contemplated three weeks ago they did so despite the fact it left them with just two fully healthy pass catchers.
One of those, of course, is DeAndre Hopkins. The other is Braxton Miller, the 2016 third-round draft pick who has caught just 17 of the 32 passes he’s been targeted for since he came into the league last year.
As for Houston’s other receivers, Will Fuller is still recovering from a broken collarbone and was just returning to the practice field when the Texans let Strong go on Monday and Bruce Ellington was still in the concussion protocol.
The Texans also have rookie Andy Jones, a player they claimed off waivers from the Cowboys, cut and then re-signed after letting Strong go, which may tell you everything you need to know about Strong.
Clearly the Texans had simply had enough of Strong, who may simply be in need of a new start somewhere else and therefore may benefit greatly from the change of scenery. Surely that’s what the Jaguars are hoping.
But if the Jaguars passing game is going to benefit from the addition of Strong or any other wide receiver, it will first have to get some improved play from its offensive line and its quarterback.
The Jaguars line played remarkably well in its season opener against the Texans two weeks ago, but its play slipped markedly against a seemingly lesser defensive front during its Week 2 loss to the Titans.
According to Pro Football Focus, the Jaguars surrendered 11 total quarterback pressures to the Titans pass rushers, who blew past rookie left tackle Cam Robinson for five of those pressures.
The only thing worse than the pressure itself was how quarterback Blake Bortles handled it. Per PFF, Bortles completed just two of the nine passes he attempted against pressure while also throwing an interception for a 4.2 passer rating.
All of that is an indication that while the Jaguars do are indeed in need of some help at receiver, their needs actually run much deeper and that the addition of this receiver won’t matter if they don’t fix their other problems as well.