Jaguars Three-and-Out: Week 9 vs. Chiefs
While Blake Bortles' struggles with mechanics, accuracy and decision making have grabbed headlines all season long, his supporting cast was as much to blame as the quarterback for the offense's inability to put points on the board. While Bortles did throw one interception, TJ Yeldon, Chris Ivory and Brian Walters all yielded possession to the Chiefs on fumbles. The Chiefs were able to capitalize on these turnovers, scoring 13 points on the drives resulting from Jaguars' turnovers. The Jaguars have had a negative turnover differential for what seems like forever to the dedicated fan and there is little indication of change in that trend anytime soon. While Prince Amukamara snagged an almost certain interception in the first quarter before Tashaun Gipson knocked it out of his teammates grasp, the Jaguars' defense did not come close to forcing a sudden change in possession versus the Chiefs. Forcing turnovers needs to become a focal point for a defense that has failed to record many over the past four seasons.
Struggles at Right Tackle
Chiefs' pass rusher Dee Ford wreaked havoc on Bortles all day long, especially on critical third downs, recording two sacks and several hurries. Right tackle Jermey Parnell struggled to match Ford's quickness off the snap, frequently allowing the young edge rusher to hurry or hit his quarterback. Though Parnell still has three years left on his five-year, $32 million contract signed before the 2015 season, he could find himself on the outs after this season if his poor play continues, especially considering that he will have a cap number over six million dollars in 2017.
In his first game as the Jaguars' offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett was able to establish rhythm and confidence in the Jaguars' offense. Though the offense failed to score until the waning moments of the first half, Bortles and co. were still able to drive into Chiefs' territory early in regulation, something they seemed incapable of under Greg Olson. Further indication of improvement can be found in the run game, which turned out a 200-yard performance after failing to gain any traction through the first seven games. If the offense can limit turnovers and focus on capitalizing when handed opportunities, then the Jaguars might just be able to leap out to an early lead versus the Houston Texans next week at home.
While the Jaguars find themselves in a familiar position with a losing record at the half way mark of the season, they could still salvage a respectable win total with a strong second-half performance in 2016. Though Gus and his staff are most likely toast come season's end, this Jaguars' squad has the talent to win down the stretch. Four of the eight remaining contests are versus divisional opponents, allowing the potentially resurgent Jags to establish intra-divisional dominance in the AFC South.
Carter Wilson is an AFC South writer for Pro Football Spot. Follow PFS Jaguars' coverage on Twitter @spot_jags