When you lose a close dramatic game like the Jaguars did Sunday night to New England 24-20, everything is going to be scrutinized. Doug Marrone knows this, already.
However, a fair amount of scrutiny and debate is correctly being given to the end of the first half Sunday night in Foxboro.
To set the scene, after trailing 14-3, Tom Brady and the Pats finally did damage to the Jaguars defense and with the aid of two correct penalty calls on the Jacksonville defense, got their first TD on a James White run to make it 14-10.
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski kicked off out of the end zone and it was the Jags ball at their own 25 yard line.
With 55 seconds remaining in the first half and two timeouts to utilize, the Jacksonville Jaguars now, had a choice to make.
Their head coach, who had gone with a “full throttle”offensive mindset for the win the previous week in Pittsburgh, decided to have QB Blake Bortles, who had the Patriots on their heels in the second quarter, kneel on the ball and head to the locker room (photo above) with that 14 to 10 lead.
Now, with the understanding that each team was going to have the ball five or six or more times, at least, in the second half and that would decide the game, that decision at the end of the first half is worth debating.
Despite having completely outplayed the Patriots offensively in the first half, did Marrone send a signal to his team?
The signal? Unlike last week, when we kept stomping on the gas on the road even after having scored a bunch of points, we are not going to take risks to beat ourselves, today.
Instead, the Jaguars coached and played a lot of the second half, like a team relying on their tremendous defense alone to try and win the game for them.
Yes, ultimately Tom Brady did solve the Jaguars D by getting New England in the end zone not once, but twice, after trailing by 10 in the 4th quarter. As we wrote last night, Brady’s heroics were not unexpected.
Again, when you come up short you, as the Jags did, you can scrutinize any significant part of your loss.
Immediately after the game, Marrone was asked about having regrets about the decision to “play it safe” up 14-10 or was he looking to the second half and getting the ball first?
“I think it was more the second half kickoff. They had come down (Patriots scoring quickly). We had to make some adjustments at halftime… we just wanted to go in there knowing we’d get the ball back.”
In fairness, they did take the second half kickoff, picked up two first downs, and Josh Lambo kicked a 54 yard field goal, anyway for a 17-10 lead before Brady and Co. ever saw the field.
Still, the argument is: you needed aggressiveness and touchdowns, especially against a great team like New England at their house.
Clearly, Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and really everyone in the Jaguars building, will shake their head for a while that beginning with the kneel downs at the end of the first half, the Jaguars were not as aggressive, as they could have been from then on.
Yes, there was an attempt at a flea flicker pass later in the third quarter that the Pats were ready for and it only ended up being a short Bortles completion.
However, overall the risks/play calling toned down late in the first half and continued throughout the second half, including the Jaguars last four possessions of three punts and losing the ball on downs at the end.
In the end, after a tremendous turnaround in the regular season and two playoff wins, you cannot be too cruel about losing to arguably the greatest QB and head coach ever in Brady and Bill Belichick.
But ask yourselves this: same scenario reversed, Pats up 14-10, giving up a late score at the end of the half, knowing they get the ball to start the second half, does Belichick have Brady kneel?
We don’t think so, either.
Report- Jaguars to hire former Giants coach McAdoo as QB coach
The Jaguars are trying to fix things offensively and especially, at the quarterback position. And, to that end, they have apparently settled on another hire, involving another former NFL head coach to lead their QB room.
ESPN Giants reporter Jordan Raanan reported Tuesday night the Jacksonville is hiring former New York Giants head coach, Ben McAdoo, to be their quarterback coach:
Ben McAdoo is being hired as the Jaguars quarterbacks coach, per source. The former Giants coach is back in after two years out of the NFL. McAdoo has worked well with Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning in his previous stints.
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) February 12, 2020
McAdoo had been under consideration by head coach, Doug Marrone, for the offensive coordinator vacancy that occurred when the team dismissed John DeFilippo after just one season.
Eventually, Marrone decided upon another former NFC East coach, Jay Gruden, from the Redskins, as the offensive coordinator hire. Gruden, the younger brother of Jon Gruden, is known as an innovator in the passing game.
However, the Jags, including GM Dave Caldwell, were obviously impressed with Macado’s previous work with the Giants and Eli Manning. McAdoo began as an offensive coordinator in New York in 2014 – 15. He was then given the head coaching job, basically at the uriging of the two-time Super Bowl champion QB Manning to take over in 2016.
The Giants finished 11 – 5 McAdoo’s first year as the head coach and made the playoffs. However, the relationship with Eli Manning quickly soured and the team fell apart going 2 – 10 in its first 12 games with McAdoo actually benching Manning late in the 2017 season. McAdoo was fired the week after that benching and has been out of the NFL the last two seasons.
McAdoo will replace QB coach Scott Milanovich, who took over as head coach of the CFL Edmonton Eskimos for later this summer.
The Jaguars still have to resolve their quarterback situation, as they have high price free agent signing Nick Foles, who did not perform well in his first season in Jacksonville. And then, they have fan favorite rookie 6th round pick Gardner Minshew, who did play well at times in relief of the injured Foles and when Marrone benched Foles for the final four games of the year.
Jaguars president Lamping continued to defend two London games
With a fan base that is unsure whether or not Jaguars owner Shad Khan really wants to move half his team’s schedule, if not the team entirely to London, team president Mark Lamping took to the national radio airwaves Thursday morning trying to defend this week’s announcement that they will be playing a second home game in the U.K. this fall.
Lamping was a guest on “Sirius XM NFL Radio” morning show with co-host Bob Papa and Charlie Weis and tried to make clear that playing a second home game in London starting this year, is in the best interest of keeping pro football in North Florida:
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) February 6, 2020
Lamping told the hosts that Khan is “taking all the actions he believes are necessary to ensure the future of the NFL in Northeast Florida,” during the conversation. He went on to discuss Khan’s commitment to land development around TIAA Bank Field and how playing this second home game in London will be able to help with revenue.
Still, it’s totally understandable that Jaguars fans who hear those comments and say, “your words are empty and your actions of moving a second game to London’s Wembley Stadium mean everything.”
And, they would not be wrong to say or think that.
A franchise wanting to stay committed and strong in the market/region where they are, isn’t looking to take 1/4 of the regular season home schedule and play games five time zones away.
The point Lamping was trying to make is the same that Khan did earlier in the week: that the Jaguars make easily $500,00 and maybe north of $1 million more money by selling their home games to the NFL to put on abroad vs. playing in a half empty stadium in Jacksonville,.
The real bottom line with respect to attendance/revenue is: the Jaguars have only had one winning season in eight years under Khan’s ownership. In fact, they’ve lost at least 10 games (including the last two years) in those 7 other seasons, and the losing has caused fan apathy, which therefore results in a lack of revenue.
And, most Jaguar fans were unhappy, or just met with that apathy, Khan’s decision last December to not go ahead and wipe the slate clean from coach Doug Marrone and GM Dave Caldwell, who were part of those last two years. This especially, after firing VP of football,, Tom Coughlin, late in the 2019 season.
The belief from many fans, who post online or call Jacksonville sports radio, etc., is that there’s going to be more of the same of losing in 2020. And then, the owner threatening to move more games every year to London, while still being based in Jacksonville.
For now, the NFL is willing to allow Khan to play more games in the U.K., while being based in Jacksonville.
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