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Jacksonville Jaguars

Preview: Jaguars try to start fresh on offense vs. Chiefs

Roy Cummings



Photo by Icon Sportswire

What’s At Stake?

Jobs. How can they not be? The Jaguars made offensive coordinator Greg Olson the fall guy for their 2-5 start, firing him after a disjointed 36-22 loss to the Titans on Thursday night two weeks ago. Not that the move wasn’t justified. Even Olson admitted the offensive had regressed, and the same can probably be said of quarterback Blake Bortles, who’s mechanics are a mess right now. If the losing continues, though, fingers will start to be pointed at defensive coordinator Todd Wash and eventually head coach Gus Bradley. And rightfully so. The Jags were expected to emerge as one of the league’s better young teams this year but they have far too often looked like the same old Jags. That cannot continue.

Key matchup

One of the reasons Olson was fired was because there was a disconnect between him and Bradley regarding the offense. Bradley wanted to run the ball. Olson wanted to throw it. The stats prove it. The Jags have thrown the ball 290 times while running it just 134 times this year. Part of that is due to the fact they’re usually playing from behind but new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who was promoted from quarterbacks coach, is expected to make a more concerted effort to get the ground game going. This is a good week to do it, too. The Chiefs are allowing 113.5 yards rushing per game (19th in the league) and 4.5 yards per carry (25th in the league). If the Jags can get their running game going Bortles should have an easier time taking advantage of all the weapons he has in the passing game.

Statistically speaking

The Chiefs have been going deep lately. And they’ve had quite a bit of success doing so. They’ve completed nine passes of 25 yards or more the past three weeks, the most in the NFL over that time, and Nick Foles has been a big part of that. He was 3-for-4 with a touchdown on throws of more than 20 yards during his relief appearance after Alex Smith’s concussion against Indianapolis last week, so look for more deep balls today against the Jags. The receiver to watch down the field is rookie Tyreek Hill. He caught five passes for 98 yards and a touchdown last week and is averaging 3.84 yards per route run, the highest rate in the league among players who have run 20 or more routes this year, according to ProFootballFocus.

He said it

“It’s just football. Somebody’s going to call the plays and then you’ve got to go play. It’s not a whole lot more complicated than that and we’ve got to continue to not complicate it more than that. But I think Sunday will be a good test. I’m excited for it. I think it’s a good opportunity for us to see where we’re at with the new offensive coordinator and then obviously for myself and personal reasons.” –Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles.

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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