A strong start to the 2022 season for the Jacksonville Jaguars went south when the team lost five straight games in October. A Week 9 win against the Las Vegas Raiders reintroduced some hope, but the team is still 3-6 entering Week 10.
With nine weeks of the NFL season down and nine left go, who have been the standout players and what have been the best (and worst) moments of the season so far?
Most valuable player - Travis Etienne Jr.
There were high hopes about the second of the Jaguars’ two 2021 first-round picks, but even the most optimistic fans probably didn’t expect what Etienne has done in the last month or so.
Despite averaging nine carries per game through the first six weeks of the season, Etienne is now fifth in the NFL in rushing with 680 yards.
On a Jaguars team that has been unable to connect on deep passes, Etienne is the home run threat for the team with a league-leading three rushes of at least 40 yards.
Etienne has recorded at least 100 yards from scrimmage in five straight games and his 5.7 yards per carry is tops among players with at least 100 carries. The Jaguars have a star on their hands in Etienne.
Most improved - Tyson Campbell
Campbell struggled early in his rookie season before finishing the year strong. The 22-year-old cornerback has clearly carried that momentum into his second season, as he’s been fantastic through the first half of the year.
The pinnacle of his season so far was when the Jaguars gave Courtland Sutton of the Denver Broncos the Campbell Island treatment. With the Jaguars cornerback shadowing Sutton all game, the Broncos receiver caught just one pass and Campbell came down with an interception.
While Davante Adams of the Las Vegas Raiders showed the cornerback isn’t quite in the elite tier yet, Campbell bounced back well to help hold Adams to zero receiving yards in the second half Sunday.
Right tackle Jawaan Taylor deserves an honorable mention for his performance so far this season, too.
Best rookie - Travon Walker
The list of candidates here comes down to only three possibilities: Walker, Devin Lloyd, and Luke Fortner.
Walker started strongest of the three with a stellar Week 1, but it soon looked like Lloyd was on a path to being the Defensive Rookie of the Year with a fantastic month of September.
The reality now is that neither of those players look like they’ll be in contention for that award.
Fortner deserves respect for holding his own in the middle of the Jaguars offensive line, but the most impactful of the rookies so far has been Walker. The No. 1 overall pick still hasn’t been too much of a pass rushing threat, but he’s a force against the run and there’s certainly not a lack of effort or motor.
Best offseason addition - Brandon Scherff
For the most part, the major free agent signings from the 2022 season have lived up to expectations for the Jaguars so far.
Christian Kirk is on pace for a 1,000-yard season, Zay Jones is a reliable chains mover, Darious Williams has settled in as a solid slot cornerback, and the defense is much better when Folorunso Fatukasi is healthy and stuffing run plays.
Maybe the only disappointing addition has been Foye Fatukasi, a veteran linebacker who hasn’t done much to stop teams attacking the middle of the field.
Kirk could be the choice here, but the fantastic play of Scherff deserves recognition. The Jaguars are running the ball well and no quarterback in the NFL is getting hit less often than Trevor Lawrence.
Scherff has been the player the Jaguars hoped to get when they signed Andrew Norwell to a massive deal in 2018.
Biggest disappointment - Josh Allen
The Jaguars’ decision to turn away teams interested in trading for Allen said a lot about the team’s future plans for the pass rusher. He’s a three-time defensive team captain and led the Jaguars in sacks in two of the last three years.
But Allen hasn’t looked the part as of late. After recording three sacks in the first four weeks, he hasn’t had a sack since Week 4.
Even Allen has found his play disappointing, telling ESPN’s Michael DiRocco last week that he hasn’t been playing up to his own standard. That was before Allen recorded just one pressure against the Raiders in Week 9.
Dawuane Smoot has been the Jaguars’ best pass rusher as of late, but the team needs Allen to get back to playing up to his lofty potential.
Most impressive win - Chargers (38-10) in Week 3
Of the Jaguars’ three wins, the Chargers are the only team they beat that currently has a winning record.
Jacksonville was fortunate to play the Chargers when they didn’t have Keenan Allen and had a compromised Justin Herbert. But either way, the Jaguars traveled across the country and dominated.
The offense scored a season-high 38 points and the defense made life miserable for Herbert.
Worst loss - Texans (13-6) in Week 5
Losing a close game to the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles in the rain was certainly understandable. But scoring six points against the Houston Texans a week later was inexcusable.
The Jaguars racked up 422 yards of total offense, but couldn’t score a touchdown against the Texans.
Lawrence threw an awful interception in the end zone, ruining a scoring chance, and a second interception on a last second Hail Mary. The Jaguars offense turned the ball over on downs three times and the defense struggled to slow Dameon Pierce in the final minutes of the game before he scored the game-winning touchdown with 3:11 left.
It’s still Houston’s only win to date and easily the most embarrassing of the Jaguars’ six losses.
Best highlight - Andre Cisco's pick-six vs. Eagles
It didn’t come in a win, but there wasn’t a higher moment this season for the Jaguars than the time they raced out to a 14-0 lead against the 3-0 Eagles.
Jacksonville truly looked like one of the NFL’s top teams for much of September and it appeared as though the momentum was carrying into October when Cisco took an interception back 59 yards for a touchdown.
— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) October 2, 2022
About a half hour or so later, the season took a turn for the worse and the Jaguars didn’t right the ship for the rest of October.