Jaguars remain mistake prone; lineup changes needed

·5 min read

At what point is Urban Meyer going to say enough is enough?

I'm not talking about resigning. I'm talking about holding his players accountable who continue to make the same mistakes.

Yes, quality depth is an issue for the Jaguars.

Yes, the franchise's identity is losing, clinching its 10th losing season in 11 years after Sunday's 21-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Yes, the players are trying hard, and the locker room has remained unified.

However, it says plenty when you see players making the same mistakes, and they remain in the starting lineup week after week.

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Jaguars wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (10) fends off Atlanta Falcons safety Richie Grant (27) during the second quarter Sunday.
Jaguars wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (10) fends off Atlanta Falcons safety Richie Grant (27) during the second quarter Sunday.

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It stunts the growth needed for a young team to grow and mature. And if the coaching staff does not address it enough, bringing forth a long-awaited winning culture is almost impossible.

"There's no simple solution," Meyer said last week when he was asked had he reached the point of making lineup changes. "Competition is the greatest motivator of all, and if we feel like there is that available, then that's a great motivator. I don't want to get too specific because it's not my position to throw anybody under the bus, but we have to play better. If not, you have to make a change."

Meyer has to do far more than gain the respect of his players if he is going to be successful in Jacksonville. When losing persists, like it has this season, it takes a shakeup to send the appropriate message throughout the locker room that losing cannot be accepted under any circumstances.

Taylor struggling to avoid penalties

Jaguars' right tackle Jawaan Taylor would have lost his privilege to start several weeks ago for most NFL franchises.

Who cares if he has played every snap since being drafted in the second round in 2019? Taylor is regressing in front of us. He was better as a rookie than he is now.

He came into Sunday's game with five holding calls in the last three games. He was flagged twice last week against the 49ers, twice in Week 10 against the Indianapolis Colts. Two of those holding calls came on third down against both the Bills and 49ers.

So what did he do against the Falcons? Taylor was flagged once for a false start on the same fourth-quarter drive and drew a second penalty for holding. Those penalties, along with quarterback Trevor Lawrence throwing incompletions on three consecutive plays, caused the Jaguars to settle for a 34-yard field goal instead of a touchdown that could have cut the Falcons' lead to 21-18 with 6:28 remaining in the game.

The NFL is not a friend-based league. It's all about performance and accountability. If a player like Taylor can continue making mistakes that hurt the team, what does that say about the entire franchise? It says their record is 2-9, and whatever is getting accomplished on the practice field clearly is not carrying over to the games.

It says Meyer must become tougher because there is plenty of blame to go around that extends far beyond Taylor's mistakes.

Throughout Sunday's game, there were plenty of miscues from miscommunication, receivers running the wrong routes to flawed execution on situational plays. In the second quarter, the Jaguars had back-to-back turnovers.

Thinking he had a free play after a penalty call, Lawrence overthrew Marvin Jones Jr., which resulted in an interception by Falcons safety Duron Harmon. Jones was flagged for illegal formation on the play.

Robinson held out for 16 plays

On the Jaguars' next drive, Robinson lost a fumble. And from my eyes alone, it seems like Robinson is one of the few players that gets held accountable for his mistakes. After Robinson's second-quarter fumble, he remained on the sideline for the next 16 plays before returning to the field at the start of the third quarter.

"James is a grown man and, I just talked to him about locking the elbow and clamping -- that's our terminology that we use, lock the ball down," Meyer said. "Then he came back and ran -- had some decent runs in the second half. He still doesn't look like he's full speed to me, but yeah, that was just the conversation with him."

In the second quarter, defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris was flagged for a leverage infraction when he put his hands on the center in an attempt to jump over him to make a block attempt on Younghoe Koo's 43-yard field goal attempt. The Falcons took Koo's field goal off the board and accepted the penalty that gave them a first-round down. On the next play, Patterson scored on a 12-yard run.

On a fourth-and-2 play and the Falcons in punt formation, Lerentee McCray lined up in the neutral zone for a 5-yard penalty that gave Atlanta a first down.

On a third-and-2 play in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars forced Matt Ryan to throw an incompletion. However, the drive continued because Jaguars cornerback Nevin Lawson was flagged for defensive holding, a 5-yard penalty that resulted in a Falcons first down.

At this point, there are no positives to dwell when the Jaguars cannot get out of their own way. This team is not that much better than the one that went 1-15 last season based on game performances.

And this Sunday, the Jaguars travel to play the Los Angeles Rams (7-4), and next week they play the Tennessee Titans (8-4) in Nashville, Tenn.

"It comes down to one play here or there where you need to make a play, and you need to be on the same page, and we've just got to get there," Lawrence said. "Number one thing is finishing drives. We've got to score more touchdowns."

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Jaguars not willing yet to bench starters that make repeated mistakes

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