The Jacksonville Jaguars secured a 23-7 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 4, but the victory was not without its concerns. Sure, the Jaguars showed promise in several areas. Still, there are still some issues that need to be addressed if they hope to continue their success throughout the season.
The Jaguars' Win in London
The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Atlanta Falcons in Week 4 of the NFL season. The game was played at Wembley Stadium in London, England, as part of the NFL's International Series. The Jaguars overpowered the Falcons, who struggled to compete throughout the game. Atlanta's offense fell flat, with quarterback Desmond Ridder losing a fumble and throwing two interceptions. The Falcons were unable to overcome a 17-0 first-half deficit.
Despite starting the season 2-0, the Falcons have now lost two straight games. The Jaguars, on the other hand, secured their second win of the season. The game was notable for being the first start for Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence in London. The win was a much-needed boost for the Jaguars, who had struggled in the early part of the season. The Falcons will look to bounce back in Week 5, while the Jaguars will face the Buffalo Bills in London.
— NFL (@NFL) October 1, 2023
Here we will look at the four biggest concerns despite the Jacksonville Jaguars' Week 4 win over the Atlanta Falcons in London.
Concerns in the Offensive Line
The problematic state of the Jaguars' offensive line for the 2023 season wasn't surprising. Even before Sunday's game, it was evident that this was the weakest position group on the team. Jacksonville struggled to generate momentum in their running game. Trevor Lawrence frequently faced pressure, resulting in two sacks. It's important not to overreact, as the Falcons boast a formidable defensive front, featuring David Onyemata and Bud Dupree. Nevertheless, the Jaguars' offensive line must perform better to fully utilize their talented skill position players.
Concerns with the Run Defense
The Falcons entered the game with a transparent offensive game plan. They aimed to relentlessly pound the football on the ground, primarily utilizing the dynamic duo of Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier. While the Jaguars' defense did manage to stifle Allgeier's rushing attempts effectively, holding him in check, it was Robinson who posed a significant challenge. Despite the Jaguars' best efforts, Robinson managed to accumulate an impressive 105 rushing yards on just 14 carries. This showcased his explosive speed and ability to find openings in the defensive line.
As the game progressed, it became evident that the Jaguars' run defense faced a formidable task. Robinson, with his elusiveness and vision, exploited gaps in the defense. This was particularly in the early stages of the second half. These gaps allowed him to break into the open field and accumulate crucial yards. It put the Falcons in favorable down-and-distance situations. Yes, the Jacksonville defense can take pride in containing Allgeier. However, there is no denying that addressing these vulnerabilities in run defense will be a focal point moving forward. It underscores the need for improved gap control, tackling precision, and overall defensive discipline to ensure they can shut down opposing rushing attacks effectively. In the coming weeks, the coaching staff and defensive unit will undoubtedly work diligently to shore up these areas. They should recognize that a strong run defense is a cornerstone of success in the NFL.
Tre Herndon was re-signed by the Jaguars in the offseason due to his versatility and experience. Currently serving as the team's primary nickel corner, this is unlikely to change until sophomore Gregory Junior returns from the Injured Reserve. While Herndon is a capable player, his limitations were apparent against the Falcons. He surrendered the only touchdown scored by the Falcons and would have allowed another if wide receiver Drake London hadn't stepped out of bounds in the fourth quarter. At this stage of his career, Herndon might be better suited for a backup role. It will be intriguing to see if the Jaguars bench him once Junior is healthy.
Parker Washington had been inactive for the entire season due to injuries to Zay Jones and Jamal Agnew. This allowed him to make his NFL debut in Week 4. Unfortunately, he was not targeted a single time and left the game due to a knee injury. While appearing in his first NFL game was a significant milestone for Washington, he still has a long way to go before becoming an impact player. Although he received praise from the coaching staff during training camp, he faded into obscurity once the regular season began. It's clear that the Jaguars have a stacked roster of wide receivers. If they believed Washington could contribute, he would receive more playing time. Thus far, that has not been the case.
In conclusion, despite the Jacksonville Jaguars' Week 4 triumph over the Atlanta Falcons in London, these four concerns loom large on the horizon. The offensive line's struggles, the need for improvement in run defense, questions surrounding Tre Herndon's performance, and Parker Washington's quiet debut all present challenges that the team must address as the season unfolds. Sure, these issues do not negate the positive momentum generated by their recent win. Still, they serve as crucial reminders that consistent improvement is essential for the Jaguars to compete at the highest level in the NFL. Of course, the road ahead remains challenging. However, with diligent work and strategic adjustments, Jacksonville has the potential to overcome these hurdles and achieve success in the 2023 season.