There has been plenty on the field to frustrate the fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Missed extra points, missed tackles, interceptions, fumbles and stealing losses from the win column.
The most frustrating issue to Jaguars fans has been the usage, or non-usage of T.J. Yeldon, and that came to a head on Sunday afternoon.
The San Diego Chargers entered Sunday's action ranked 31st in the NFL in yards allowed per carry (4.9). They were also 25th in the league in rushing yards allowed. It's more than likely that if we were aware of this information then the Jaguars coaching staff was also abreast of the situation.
Despite Yeldon having a nice start to the football game and the team never being down by more than two scores (if you don't count field goals), the Jaguars continually went away from their budding star running back.
Yeldon finished the game with just 36 yards on nine carries. He was given the ball a grand total of ZERO times inside the 10-yard line. Who's to say if the second-round pick from Alabama would have scored if given the opportunities, but the information that we have shows the Jaguars 0 for 4 in the red zone, prior to a late garbage-time touchdown by Allen Robinson.
Not to overstate the obvious, but how could Yeldon do any worse?
"There were a couple, there were two calls there where it was more of a run-pass option that we didn’t get it to him," Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley explained. "I think overall, looking at it, in the first half we had eight carries for 35 yards. Pretty efficient. There were 24 total plays I think in the first half, maybe a little bit more. I think there’s 18 passes and eight runs. To give him the ball a little bit more, give the running backs a little bit more, you could see the advantage of it. I think there was a point in time in the fourth quarter where we were in a two-minute mode with six minutes to go in the game where we got away from the run completely. But I think with the yards per carry that we had, we had over 100 yards but Blake had quite a few of them as well. I think that when you can run the ball, it opens up the play passes and it allows for more explosive passes.”
The team ran for 102 yards on 19 attempts, but six of those came from quarterback Blake Bortles. That means the Jaguars lined up against one of the worst run defenses in the NFL and decided to run the ball 13 times.
It's tough to have confidence in the coaching staff when those are the play-calling decisions that are made.
“I understand that stat. Versus the pass too, their numbers weren’t great," Bradley said. "They executed and they did their assignments well. But we moved the ball on them. We had 420 yards of offense and Blake had over 300 yards passing. We tried to mix it in. I’m no argument or no discussion about looking at possibly running the ball more.”
Offensive coordinator Greg Olsen has done a nice job overall. Quarterback Blake Bortles looks like a completely different guy than a season ago and the offense is one of the most improved units in the NFL. With that said, it appears that Olsen is trying to outsmart the team's opponents instead of just out-execute them.
Prior to Sunday's game, Olsen commented about Yeldon.
"Really we try to get better in terms of the run game and in terms of his development," the Jaguars first-year offensive coordinator said. "We’re excited about him, we’ve been excited about him ever since he took over the starting role and when we drafted him. We do think that he’s getting better every week and he’s healthier now and we think as a team, really offensively, we’re pretty healthy right now. He’s part of that. Always looking for all our players, especially our young players. We like the development of all of our players now and he’s certainly part of that.”
It's easy to blame play-calling on offensive or defensive failures. No play is designed to fail and the other guys get paid too. With that said, ignoring the statistics is simply mindless.
What is so different about the Kansas City Chiefs than the Jacksonville Jaguars?
We bring up the Chiefs because just a week ago, they traveled to San Diego and throttled the Chargers, 33-3. This isn't a team with an elite quarterback. You can argue that Blake Bortles can do much more than Alex Smith. It's understood that each team is different each week, but aside from Justin Houston, what personnel advantages does Kansas City have over Jacksonville?
Make your own decisions about whether you believe the Jaguars coaching staff is doing a good job. It's tough to argue that Andy Reid's Chiefs squad had a much better game plan which led to much better execution against a Chargers team that was healthier and playing at home.
The Jaguars coaching staff needs to do better.