Jacksonville Jaguars 2021 Team Study

Part 19 of my 32-part series breaking down every team’s performance in 2021. Check out part 18 here: Tennessee Titans. Part 20 available now: Houston Texans.


Eff. Rating Adj. Rating Rank
4.44 -0.51 28th

Offensive Eff. Rating (yellow and teal) v. opponent average allowed (grey).

Pass EPA Rush EPA Adj. Pass Rate
27th 25th 11th

Well, Trevor Lawrence didn’t save the franchise in year one. He struggled, at least on the surface. They put the ball in his hands early and often and he failed to consistently deliver. Statistically, Lawrence was inaccurate, finishing with the 3rd-lowest on-target percentage on his throws. They struggled to get easy first downs and really struggled to get in the end zone, leading to the fewest points scored in the NFL.

But circumstances were set up for Lawrence to fail. Urban Meyer was a notorious failure as an NFL head coach. It's difficult to overstate the (negative) impact he had on this team from day one. The players did not respect him and he seemed completely out of touch. He was not an effective schemer at the NFL level and the roster lacked the strong leadership required to overcome a bad head coach. They got far too many penalties, negating critical positive plays and stalling the offense when it had opportunities. The frustration was visible at times. This was a tough situation to navigate as a rookie quarterback.

Lawrence also got little help on the field. The run game was not particularly effective, with Etienne injured for the entire season and the coaches insisting on giving Carlos Hyde the ball. James Robinson only touched the ball 10+ times in 9 games, thanks in part to mystifying utilization and in part to injury. There was not enough creativity and misdirection on offense. Lawrence performed at his best on play action, but the Jags failed to establish the ground game sufficient to maximize play action opportunities. This should have been bread and butter for the rookie.

On top of that, his receivers seemed to never get separation. Almost every throw had to be perfect because defenders were always ready. They also had the 5th-fewest yards after the catch per completion, further evidence that the receivers were not getting open. That’s partly on the talent of the receivers but also on scheme. Most of Lawrence’s positive plays ended up as highlights because they were basically perfect throws.

These things are fixable. Doug Pederson will be a far better coach than Urban Meyer in every way. He comes from the Andy Reid coaching tree, which means he will draw up yards after the catch opportunities and try to make it easy for Lawrence. To Lawrence’s credit, he was excellent at avoiding sacks, finishing with the 5th-lowest rate of sacks per pressure in the NFL. This is a meaningful stat that tends to predict long term success at handling NFL defenses for young players. The four players above him in 2021 were Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins, and Jalen Hurts. It also helps explain his statistical inaccuracy. He preferred to throw incomplete rather than take a sack.

Lawrence could throw absolute darts at times. His wind up is fast and he has good throwing mechanics and vision in the pocket. He will need to improve his footwork but that is easier to improve than poor vision. He also had good placement on many of his throws when he was comfortable. He just was not comfortable often. Ultimately he showed well in areas that tend to predict NFL success and showed poorly in ways that were tied to circumstances.

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