Jaguars Must Learn How To Win

Winning is a process, and the Jaguars young corps still needs to learn how to go through that process.

This isn’t breaking news by any factor, but the Jaguars have been a bad football team for a while. They’ve lost 33 of the last 40 games they’ve played in and despite a major roster overhaul, this is a franchise that hasn’t had success in a while.

Sunday’s final score said that the Jacksonville Jaguars lost to the Miami Dolphins, 27-13. During the game, the Jacksonville defense dominated a Top 10 Miami offense and didn’t allow a first down until just over three minutes remaining in the first half. At one point in the first half the Jaguars led in total yardage, 202-4.

“I thought the defense came out really well,” Jaguars’ head coach Gus Bradley said. “I think they were one of the best teams as far as three and outs, offensively not having too many. The defense came out and we wanted to get more opportunities for the offense. I can’t fault how the defense played but I’m sure we will find some things we need to get better at.”

How did the Jaguars lose?

You hate to blame one person, but rookie quarterback Blake Bortles was the Dolphins Most Valuable Player. Bortles completed just over 50 percent of his throws (18 of 34) and turned the ball over three times. The third-overall pick in the 2014 Draft threw not one, but two interceptions that were run back for touchdowns (81 yards by Louis Delmas and 22 yards by Brent Grimes). Bortles also fumbled near the red zone but that thankfully wasn’t returned.

“(The) defense played really well, offensive line played really well. I’m killing us, so I’ve got to try to eliminate different things and get better,” Bortles said following the game.

“The first interception that he threw, it was first and 15 and we were running a boot, a bootleg out to the left. He came out and felt that he had to pull up because the defensive end stopped him, and the corner made a really good play on it,” Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch explained. “He was trying to throw the over to the tight end. Cecil (Shorts III) was continuing on in the flat and the guy fell off the flat and just got right in front of it. I thought it was a really good play defensively by them. The second interception is one we can’t have. We’ve talked about how we don’t want to throw to the wide field, back-shoulder throws. It’s too far of a throw, it gives them too much time to react and when they react to those types of plays, it usually doesn’t end well, so that’s something we need to get out of our arsenal and continue to move forward with.”

Jacksonville wasted that dominant defensive performance as well as another 100-yard rushing effort by running back Denard Robinson, who has been a pleasant surprise.

“Opportunity maybe is one,” Fisch said when asked about Denard Robinson’s recent success. “I think he had 18 carries yesterday and 22 carries the game before so he is averaging 20 carries a game the last two. Clearly he didn’t have that many carries at any time before that….I also think he’s getting more and more comfortable playing the position and he understands what it requires, the commitment both on the field and off the field, and his vision has improved.”

The Jaguars outgained the Dolphins, had more first downs, fewer penalties and won time of possession. It was a game that they shouldn’t have lost, and certainly shouldn’t have lost at home by two touchdowns.

The reason for most of this is youth. The Jaguars start more rookies on offense than any other team in the NFL. A lot of them were from successful collegiate programs but the step up to the NFL level is enormous. Winning is simply a process and this team doesn’t yet know how to win.

If the front office stays patient, and there’s no reason to believe otherwise, this group could learn and gel together and learn how to pull the close games out and not shoot themselves in the foot.

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