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Jaguars’ Thursday presser: ‘Sunday wasn’t good enough’

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By: Travis Holmes

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars coordinators Mike Caldwell and Press Taylor address the media before traveling to face off against the Titans.

After a pretty rough week at the office, featuring a dominating loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Jacksonville Jaguars are looking to do a hard reset mentally and flush week 10 down the drain. Jaguars’ offensive coordinators Press Taylor and defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell both met with the press for their weekly media availability on Thursday to catch up on all things Jaguars and to discuss their upcoming matchup with the Tennessee Titans.

OC Press Taylor first took to the podium to discuss the growing concerns surrounding the Jaguars’ 2023 offensive performance.

I feel like we’ve grown every single week. Obviously, it felt like last week was a step back just in terms of there being communication issues, there was execution issues, I don’t feel like I put the guys in the best positions as the game went on. The game dynamics changed and I don’t know if I adjusted as well as I would’ve liked to looking back at it and trying to be critical of myself. As a unit, it felt like we’ve been growing in communication, we’ve been growing in identifying who does what and we can attack certain coverages and getting dialed into that plan of how we like to play. Last Sunday was definitely not good enough and I don’t know that was necessarily a step towards progress. We think this week can be.

Tip of the cap to Coach Taylor for acknowledging his opportunities here and being critical of not only the player’s execution but himself also. He was also asked about former Jaguar Arden Key’s comments on stopping the Jaguar’s passing game (which were similar to Nick Bosa’s week 10 comments).

Coach Taylor’s response:

I would imagine that’s a defensive philosophy for every quarterback. I think they’re saying that, whatever that may be. Obviously, we’ve been pretty good at being able to deliver the ball to the first read when it comes down to it. I think Trevor [QB Trevor Lawrence] is 67-68 percent completion, something like that. A lot of that comes from being able to get the ball out early to your primary read, but no, it’s hitting quarterbacks, affecting quarterbacks, making quarterbacks hold the ball. That seems pretty universal for defending good quarterbacks.

Here I agree with Press. While much has been made about Nick Bosa and Arden Key’s comments being an indictment of Trevor Lawrence’s ability to read a full field, this would more so be an indictment of the play of the Jaguars’ offensive line, receiver play, and scheme limitations with the addition of those previously mentioned issues. Trevor gets the ball out quickly because it is a rare occurrence where he has time to hold the ball longer without taking a sack.

While speaking on the performance of the offensive line versus the 49ers, Taylor commented on the play of Walker Little, who seemingly struggled in playing his first full game at left guard.

He certainly had a tough matchup, he’s playing a relatively new position for him in terms of if he’s generally been a tackle in his past, he hadn’t had a ton of snaps playing in there and he had a really tough matchup with Hargrave and those guys inside. We expect all of our guys to continue to progress and play a little better.

With the addition of a starting caliber left guard on the roster, in the recent acquisition of Ezra Cleveland, the question was presented to Taylor of where and how to get Ezra snaps to become acclimated.

If my boss wants me to do something we’re going to do that. If we find a way to get in there because Doug [Head Coach Doug Pederson] said so, then we’ll do that. Again, like we’ve done from way back when, we’ve always talked about it. We are constantly rolling those guys. I know you guys don’t always see practices and walkthrough, but those guys, we continue to format and try different formations. Life in the NFL, you lose linemen all the time and you always have to prepare for your contingency plans. That’s something we’ve done. We added Ezra as he was getting himself healthy, getting himself introduced to the offense and then once we feel like we fully trust him, we’ll see where that goes from there.

While on the subject of players getting acclimated, the limited use of wide receiver Calvin Ridley, in his first year in the office has continued to be a topic of conversation around the national media.

Taylor provided a little additional context into why Ridley’s use has been as it has.

There’s plenty of times Calvin’s the primary, play gets called, coverage takes it away. You get into the third down menu, sometimes you’ve got this play, kill it to that play based on the look. He could go from being a primary to being a secondary option on certain things. There’s finding ways to do that. We also feel like we have a lot of good matchups with the players we have, so you always got to get something, take something away. And we’re not going to be the type of team we call it, you throw it to that guy regardless. We’ve got a lot of opportunities for other guys to win within concepts at times, but again, each play is its own thing. Sometimes it’s a two-man route and you’re max protecting because you’re in a shot possibility, the defense takes it away and you’ve got to move onto somebody else or we are throwing that. There’s sometimes where it’s if zone you’re working this, if it’s man you’re working that and coverage dictates certain things that are get you certain spots. We’re very happy with the impact Calvin has made, we continue to scheme, call plays to give him opportunities to make plays down the field. His drawing of penalties, it’s unfortunate that it doesn’t go in the stat sheet for him because I think he’d be right there with Christian in terms of around 600 yards or something like that. Those have been dynamic plays for our offense. I think he’s drawn eight and they’ve all been first downs for us. We certainly appreciate it, it’s unfortunate he doesn’t get the recognition for it I guess.

This is a fair point by Press, about the number and impact of Ridley’s pass interference penalties drawn and their impact on the offense. It’s fair that it is technically “production”. The other side of that coin is that the team simply hasn’t used him creatively enough, attempted enough of those deep shots, nor connected on many in 2023. The data supports that they have added significant yardage to the offense, to Press’s point.

Injury Updates:

Jaguars’ starting cornerback Tyson Campbell was a DNP on Thursday with his recurrent hamstring injury. Tyson initially suffered the injury during the week six matchup versus the Indianapolis Colts. After sitting out weeks seven, eight, and resting through the week nine bye-week Cambell was unable to finish the week 10 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers.

Additionally, Jaguars’ kick returner and wide receiver Jamal Agnew will miss this week’s game. This could be a double whammy, as Agnew is the primary kick returner and has also been the team’s primary recipient of additional wide receiver snaps during Zay Jones’ eight games missed with Jones’ lingering, recurrent knee injury. Jones was again limited, as he was through the majority of week 10.

For the Titans, starting wide receiver Treylon Burks also remained sidelined Thursday after receiving his concussion 14 days ago in Pittsburgh. However, the team may be proceeding more cautiously with him as Burks has a concussion history.

More importantly, Titans backup left offensive tackle Andre Dilliard was a DNP on Thursday with a concussion he received in the Titans’ loss at Tampa Bay. This season, most players who have gone into the concussion protocol so far have ended up sitting out at least one game, so this will be one to monitor. This is an important injury as Dilliard just last week became the Titans’ starting left tackle after initial starter Nicholas Petit-Frere was placed on IR, injuring his shoulder during their week nine loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The full media availability Q&A is posted above, via the Jaguars’ YouTube channel, for those interested.

Originally posted on Big Cat Country – All Posts