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Jacksonville’s offense hasn’t been the team’s biggest problem this season, but even with the defense playing its best game all year against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, it couldn’t get much going Week 9.
A major reason for that has been third-down success (or lack thereof). The team was just 2-of-15 in that regard against Buffalo, and on the season, it’s converting at below a 30% clip.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said that needs to change if the team is going to find success on offense.
“Third down is an issue for us,” Bevell said. “It’s a major focus. We’ve got to continue to work on it. It all works together. No. 1, there has to be protection to be able to push the ball downfield. You have to be on time with the ball. Guys have to get open and when guys get open, you have to make the throw.”
But the offense’s issues don’t start on third-down. The lack of explosive plays on first and second down is also plaguing this team. Over the last three games, the team has just one play over 30 yards. That won’t cut it, especially with the team’s lack of consistency on third-downs.
Bevell said those factors are related and that both need to be addressed moving forward.
“Both are critical factors,” Bevell said. “You have to be able to convert third downs to stay on the field. And to think you’re going to go 10, 12 plays against all these NFL defenses … it’s hard to hang your hat on that. We need to be able to find those explosive plays.
“It’s something we talk about all the time. It’s something we’re continuing to look for. We’re going to continue to work on both those areas.”
With a rookie quarterback, some offensive struggles were to be expected. But the Jags also continue to put Lawrence in difficult positions and dropped passes on potential big plays have been a problem.
Only time will tell if the defense has truly turned a corner, but the offense is currently not living up to its potential, even with injury issues at receiver and along the offensive line.