NFL Coroner's Report: Jacksonville Jaguars Autopsy
Week 14 has come and gone, and a couple more cadavers were dropped off at the mortuary. The Chiefs were merely a prelude to the slew of departed souls who would be making their way onto my concrete slabs.
They've been inevitably tagged and bagged; now it's merely time to examine what caused these wretched souls to fulfill the destiny that their mortal coil demands.
Subject: Jacksonville Jaguars
Date of Death: December 2, 2012
Record at Time of Death: 2-10
Contributing Factors to Death
1. Complete Failure of the Running Game
You wouldn't suppose that Jacksonville would struggle here, given that Maurice Jones-Drew was the 2011 Rushing champ (1606 yards).
But perhaps MJD brought a rash of bad karma upon his team by holding out all summer, only rejoining the squad with days to go before the season opener.
With the exception of a 177 yard, 1 touchdown performance against Indianapolis in Week 3, Jones-Drew looked relatively mortal; not a player whose stout frame and deceptive quickness strike terror into the hearts of opponents.
His next highest yardage total was a mere 77 yards, coming in the opener at Minnesota.
Jones-Drew became even less fearsome when he injured his foot in a loss to Oakland on October 21. He hasn't played since.
In the six games since MJD went out, Rashad Jennings and Jalen Parmele have tried to carry the load. Jennings has run the ball 101 times for 283 yards, a grim 2.8 YPA. The stockier Parmele has come on a bit stronger, with 143 yards on 40 carries (3.6 YPA)
Either way, it's a far cry from what Jacksonville was depending on.
2. Conversely, They Can't Stop the Run Either
Consider this parallel: in 12 games this season, the Jaguars have only run for 100+ yards as a team 3 times.
Opponents have done it on Jacksonville 10 times, even topping 200 on three occasions.
Amazingly, the most yards that any individual player hung on them was 110, contributed by Arian Foster in Week 2. Only 7 times has a player gone over 80 yards against Jacksonville this season.
In other words, the Jaguars are the NFL's village treadmill: everybody gets a run.
Their 2 wins came in games in which they minimized the running damage: the Colts in Week 3 ran for 124, and 110 from Tennessee in Week 12.
That trio of 200-yarders provided some sizeable whoopings: 216 by Houston in Week 2 (27-7), 214 by Chicago in Week 5 (41-3), and 232 from Buffalo on Sunday (34-18).
Running kills the clock, and when your opponent can do so effectively, you need a strong quarterback to provide that quick counterpunch.
Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne just aren't equipped with that power.
3. Defense Doesn't Make Plays
According to ColdHardFootballFacts.com, the Jags are the second worst team in the league when it comes to ending pass plays with sacks or picks on defense.
Jacksonville is said to have a 5.18 percent chance of getting what is termed a "negative pass play" against your team, and the numbers don't lie.
Prior to acquiring Eagles sack leader Jason Babin off of waivers (the criticism that he "only plays for sacks"), the leading quarterback killer on Jacksonville's defense was a title shared among five men: CJ Mosley, Jeremy Mincey, Tyson Alualu, Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton, and Austen Lane.
That's because each man has only 2 sacks apiece.
Take those 10 combined sacks, add 3 more (one each from 3 separate players), and you get 13, which is the lowest combined total in the league.
Interceptions are a little better; the team has 10 (Paul Posluszny and Derek Cox have 3 each), which puts them near the league average.
But that lack of quarterback pressure goes a long way in explaining those 28.5 PPG given up by Jacksonville, the third worst average in the NFL.
(For previous entries to the Coroner's Reports, check out the Kansas City Chiefs)