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Jacksonville, FL – The Jacksonville Jaguars are now 0-3 on the season and it might be hard for Jags fans to find something to cheer for as they head into the short week in Cincinnati Thursday night.
By the numbers, there are bright spots upon which they can build.
Trevor Lawrence has struggled at times as the top overall pick for this year’s draft. The former Clemson Tiger has thrown for seven interceptions and five touchdowns on 119 attempts since he changed his stripes to a Jags uniform this season.
However for context, there was another top overall draft pick in 1998 who used to wear orange in college as a Tennessee Volunteer. In his first three NFL games, he threw eight interceptions on 114 attempts with two touchdowns. Peyton Manning then went on to take an Indianapolis Colts team that was 3-13 in his rookie season to 13-3 the following year.
Manning also had the advantage of a Hall of Fame-caliber receiver in Marvin Harrison and a Hall of Fame running back in Marshall Faulk who led the team in receptions in Peyton’s inaugural season.
Lawrence’s main running back was supposed to be his former college teammate, Travis Etienne, but he is currently on injured reserve. While Marvin Jones Jr. and D.J. Chark are a good duo, I don’t see them on the same level as the weapons in Indianapolis 13 years ago that Manning was able to lean on.
Also, on defense, the Jaguars have had plenty of bright spots. They’ve performed well on third down and only allowed six conversions on 31 attempts (19%), and are also in the top 10 in the NFL in yards per carry allowed on the ground.
Keep in mind, this is after losing top-flight players within the past few seasons like Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue back when the “Sacksonville” moniker was the talk of the NFL.
When it comes down to the previous two weeks, the difference has been mistakes. Not just in Lawrence learning the flow of the game in the NFL or Jags receivers dropping passes, but in some of the play calling by first-year NFL head coach Urban Meyer and his staff.
Meyer has described time and again that the energy he observes in the locker room has been positive despite this frustrating start.
“The energy in this locker room is as good as in any locker room that I’ve ever had. We just got to finish it,” said Meyer after the Cardinals game this past Sunday.
The big mission for Meyer is to somehow keep the players buying in to make it to the next year in the event that the Jags continue to falter this season.
Having these bright spots combined with Jamal Agnew turning in big returns on special teams (who ran back a touchdown return in each of the previous two weeks), the Jags have a chance to get clever with Trevor and make their version of 3-13 turning into 13-3 happen.