JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (CBSMiami.com) – The Miami Dolphins aren’t the only team in Florida that’s struggling nearly a quarter of the way through the NFL regular season.
Travel up I-95 to Jacksonville and you’ll find the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team in desperate need of some semblance of a passing game.
Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio made the controversial decision to release former starting quarterback David Garrard in favor of Luke McCown. The proverbial backup responded in two games with a 30.6 quarterback rating and a touchdown to interception ratio of 0-4.
Del Rio then hit the panic button and started rookie Blaine Gabbert. The former Missouri Tiger went 12-21 for 139 yards and one touchdown in a loss to the Carolina Panthers Sunday.
Jacksonville has been able to put together a solid running game, but the passing game continues to be Del Rio’s Achilles heel.
Gabbert is the quarterback of the future for the franchise, but they need much more out of him than Sunday’s pedestrian effort against a horrible Panthers defense.
The Jags are currently dead last in the league in passing yards a game at 126.7 and are next to last in points scored per game at 9.7.
Jacksonville is 1-2 on the young season, but at a time when the AFC South is up for grabs with Peyton Manning likely out for the season; the Jags are floundering fast.
Just don’t put the blame on star running back Maurice Jones-Drew. He’s been the lone bright spot for the Jags all season. Jones-Drew is carrying the team averaging just over 100 yards per game and nearly 5 yards per carry.
But Jones-Drew will eventually wear down and that will put the onus for the offense on the right shoulder of Gabbert. He has a rocket arm but battled inconsistency with his accuracy at Mizzou.
But, the Jags offensive line isn’t helping giving up two sacks per game.
Del Rio knows his team doesn’t look like a modern-day NFL team that can throw the ball around the field. He also wants to change that perception.
Del Rio said he wants the offense to open up and become an attacking, aggressive unit. But, the schedule isn’t doing Del Rio any favors.
The Jags face the Saints, Bengals, Steelers, Ravens, and Texans before a bye week in week nine. If the Jags are to compete, they have to improve the offense in a hurry.
Otherwise, Del Rio will be looking for work possibly as early as this year.