2018 Jacksonville Jaguars: what went wrong?by Prime Time Sports Talk February 7, 2019 0 comments
After being “a whistle away” from the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance one year ago, the Jacksonville Jaguars responded by taking a nose dive back into NFL purgatory. This major step back surprised the football world, as many predicted the Jags would be representing the AFC in Super Bowl 53. As a result, a common question has come up regarding Jacksonville’s football team: What happened?
Where did it all go wrong?
The Jaguars finished the 2018 season at 5-11, falling well short of their pre-season Super Bowl hopes. What caused this quick downfall? While the national media has been quick to place the blame on quarterback Blake Bortles, the problems facing the Jaguars dig a lot deeper than just the quarterback position.
Yes, the Jaguars have to make an upgrade at the position for next season, but it is unfair to cast all of the blame on Blake Bortles. Bortles’ performance was eerily similar in his first half in 2018 as it was in the first half of last year. However, the defense was not playing at an elite level like they were last season. The defense performed very well, but not up-to-par with their elite 2017 level, where they finished second in points allowed and first in turnovers and sacks.
An unprecedented number of injuries.
Perhaps the main reason for the offensive struggles wasn’t because of the quarterback position, but rather the amount of time missed by other key offensive players. The following offensive players either finished the season on injured reserve or missed multiple games; running backs Leonard Fournette and Corey Grant, wideouts Marqise Lee and D.J. Chark, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Niles Paul, offensive tackles Cam Robinson, Josh Wells, Jeremy Parnell, and Wil Richardson. Joining them are fellow offensive linemen Andrew Norwell and Brandon Linder. This adds up to 12 key offensive players, seven of whom are starters.
While many would state it doesn’t matter what players get hurt, a franchise QB should be able to rise above the challenges to find a way to overcome. While correct, the Jaguars have never trusted Bortles to be a franchise QB in the first place. They seem to believe that he can win if the correct pieces are in place around him. This did not happen in 2018 and should help the franchise realize that they must find a true franchise quarterback if they want to build a true contender year in and year out.