Bernstein Blog: Who to Blame on Offense

Expectations were high for the Jaguars entering the 2008 season, as many national media outlets were fully on the Jacksonville Super Bowl bandwagon. After five games, the team is tied for the 10th best record in the AFC and the playoffs look like a long shot, much less the Super Bowl. So why is this team not that good? I have the answers, position by position.

The Jaguars offense is currently ranked 26th in the NFL, and the main reason for that is their 37.5% conversion rate on third down. They haven't been converting enough to keep drives alive and get the running game going.

Quarterback- David Garrard simply isn't playing at the level he was a year ago. Garrard has been better in recent weeks, but he takes too many sacks and when he does, they are for significant losses that are drive killers. Garrard hasn't been bad, but a quarterback rating of 79.3 just isn't going to get the job done. Sunday night, Jaguars fans saw Ben Roethlisberger carry his team on his back to a victory. Garrard has to start doing the same.

Running back- Although the Jaguars running backs haven't been nearly as productive as many expected, they haven't been playing poorly. Their lack of production is directly attributable to the offensive line not playing well and opponents stacking up the line of scrimmage.

Offensive line- The Jaguars offensive line is playing without three-fifths of their expected starters, and only Brad Meester is expected back. Injuries have certainly weakened the unit and although Uche Nwaneri, Dennis Norman, and Milford Brown have been solid, there is a reason why each of them weren't starters.

Wide receivers- The Jaguars wide receiving corps hasn't been great, but they are a better group than that of a year ago. Matt Jones has been a solid possession guy, and Mike Walker is ascending toward number one receiver status. Free agent acquisition Jerry Porter hasn't given the team anything due to his hamstring injury.

Tight ends- With the struggles of the offensive line, Marcedes Lewis and Richard Angulo have had to take on more of a role as blockers. When Lewis has been involved in the passing game, the results have been somewhat disappointing, as he has dropped several passes.


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