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Jaguars need more than a receiver to fix struggling passing game

Roy Cummings



(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire

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.



Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.



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    September 20, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    In other news, water is still wet. It’d be nice for real analysis, rather than just dumping on every player possible. Your suggestion that the Titans defensive front seven is “worse” than the Texans is a bit misleading. The Titans have an extraordinary front seven as well.

    Cam Robinson is a rookie. How about adding in the context of the game, like start 6 series in a row behind the sticks for 1st and 20 or 2nd and 20? Those calls aren’t on Bortles. I wouldn’t claim Bortles is the answer at QB, but at least lay it on him when it’s due. Most QBs struggle when behind the sticks.

    It’s week two. No one can be sure if their is a real deficiency in the Jaguars passing game, given how much we’ve seen. But sure, be as reactionary as possible.

    • Roy Cummings

      Roy Cummings

      September 20, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      The Titans front seven may be strong but it’s not as strong as the Texans. And the fact that the Jags handled that Texans front so well increased expectations for this unit. It wasn’t up to the task last Sunday and you don’t get a break because your left tackle is a rookie. Point I was trying to make is that the addition of a receiver is just a partial fix and with this receiver it may not even be that.

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