The Jacksonville Jaguars are off to a surprisingly disappointing start to the 2023 season -- particularly on offense. The Jaguars are just 1-2 after three weeks, and an offense that was supposed to take the next step after dropping Calvin Ridley into the wide receiver corps instead ranks just 16th in yards and 21st in points to date.
Jacksonville has turned the ball over at least once in all three games and twice in two of them, while Trevor Lawrence has yet to throw for more than 279 yards. He hasn't been helped by his pass-catchers, who have dropped a league-high nine balls so far, including at least one that would have been a touchdown; and in Week 2 alone he completed four passes to the back of the end zone only to see the receiver fail to get both feet down in bounds.
After a monster debut (eight catches for 101 yards and a touchdown), Ridley has combined for only five receptions for 72 yards over the past two contests. With the exception of Travis Etienne (49 carries for 205 yards and one score, plus 11 receptions for 73 yards), it doesn't seem like anyone is playing at the top of their game at the moment.
But there were signs of a slight uptick after halftime of the team's Week 3 loss to the Texans, with the Jaguars scoring on three of their four possessions. In the wake of that improvement, head coach Doug Pederson was asked whether he had taken over play-calling duties from offensive coordinator Press Taylor. Pederson said that he did not.
"I communicated with Press and the offensive staff, you know, no more or less than I usually do," Pederson said, per SI.com. "I think grabbing their attention at halftime and just letting them know that the first 30 minutes was unacceptable. It's not up to what our standards are and our expectations, including my expectations for this football team."
Perhaps Pederson should look into taking play-calling duties back, because the team fared much better last year when he was in his first season after taking over for the disastrous Urban Meyer. After checking in 27th in yards, 32nd in points, and 29th in TruMedia's EPA/play under Meyer, Jacksonville improved to 10th, 10th, and 10th in the same categories in 2022.
Still, Pederson is confident that the team can get past its current problems, because he sees it as an issue of quality of play and execution, not play-calling.
"I say we're too good, we've got the pieces, but we're not playing well," he said. "So, [the Texans] came out, they executed extremely well. We got it back to that 17-10 mark and then the kickoff return happened. Those are just the moments that, right now, are just keeping us from pushing through this wall, getting over this hump, right? Those are the things, those are the moments that every man in there takes ownership and accountability. We just can't let those happen."