Jaguars' margin of error is zero but they continue to make self-inflicted mistakes in games

John Reid
Florida Times-Union
A pass gets through Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. (11) against San Francisco 49ers cornerback Emmanuel Moseley (4) during the second quarter Sunday.

Maybe this upcoming Sunday against Atlanta, the Jaguars will finally understand their reality.

They did not seem to have a clue about much of anything in Sunday's 30-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at TIAA Bank Field.

The Jaguars have a zero margin for error because of the limited talent on their roster.

But punter Logan Cooke must have been reading a comic book on the sideline or watching the scoreboard because when the punting team initially came onto the field before a fourth-and-26 play in the fourth quarter, he was nowhere to be found.   The Jaguars took a delay of game penalty because Cooke was late getting on the field. 

Meanwhile, safety Rayshawn Jenkins is supposed to be a leader, an example setter for his teammates as one of the team's seven co-captains. However, early in the second quarter he was ejected for throwing a punch at 49ers wide receiver Jauan Jennings, who had his helmet off, in front of the three officials trying to breakup the skirmish between the two.

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Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer watches from the sidelines during late second quarter action.

On the 49ers' opening drive of the game, defensive end Dawuane Smoot's sack on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was negated because Jenkins was penalized for defensive holding.  

It has pretty much been the same storyline in eight of the past 10 games. The Jaguars have been their own undoing that's led to losses, including Sunday against San Francisco. 

OL continues to have protection breakdowns

The offensive line cannot provide quarterback Trevor Lawrence enough protection to comfortably stand in the pocket to wait on receivers to get open. Each week, offensive line coach George Warhop put his unit through drills on the practice field to improve their technique or clean up mistakes.

But nothing changes.

During the third quarter Sunday, starting right tackle Jawaan Taylor got flagged for holding, a penalty that was declined because it came on a third-and-10 play. In the fourth quarter, Taylor was flagged again for holding — this time a 10-yard penalty.

But it is not just the offensive line that remains mistake-prone and largely ineffective. The Jaguars got penalized twice on third-down plays during the 49ers' marathon 20-play opening drive that extended for more than 13 minutes. After Jenkins' holding call, Smoot was flagged for defensive offsides on a third-and-4 play from the Jaguars 16.  

Beyond mistakes, the Jaguars never countered with any measure of a response that mattered against San Francisco.

The 49ers hit the Jaguars like a school-yard bully because they dominated the line of scrimmage. Offensively, they lined up with double tight ends and ran the ball directly at the Jaguars and had no concerns about them stopping it. The Jaguars were inept in all phases, unable to run the ball or complete a downfield pass.  Lawrence has not thrown a touchdown pass in three consecutive games.

And things could get considerably worse. One of their best playmakers, Jamal Agnew, suffered a hip injury during the second play in the fourth quarter that Coach Urban Meyer described as devastating after the game.

Meyer having hard conversations with assistants

With seven games left in the season, Meyer didn't shy away from admitting he's having tough conversations with his offensive coaching staff.  However, Meyer refuted a CBS Sports report that he has a rift with some of his assistants. Running backs coach Bernie Parmalee and receivers coach Sanjay Lal were mentioned.

''The only report, all due respect, is the report from me? I'm very transparent and have always been,'' Meyer said. ''I have high expectations. When someone's not performing well, yeah, we have hard conversations, but that's the game of football. So that report is incorrect. Do I have high expectations for position groups? Absolutely. If it's not fulfilled, then we have to have a conversation about it.''

Lawrence's progress?

It's all good coach-speak, but the bottom line is their best player, Lawrence, is not making the needed progress necessary because the pocket is collapsing too quickly and receivers are not getting open enough.

The play-calling by offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is too predictable. Too many slants and underneath routes, not enough downfield shots.

Many NFL teams run bunch sets with their receivers to disguise their routes, but not the Jaguars. Many NFL teams put receivers in motion before the snap to possibly shift defensive coverage at the last moment, but not the Jaguars. 

Lawrence is taking too many hits, throwing on the run too frequently and how many misfires are ahead before his confidence shatters. 

Lawrence looked every bit after Sunday's game like he was defeated, unsure if anything can change between now and the season finale in seven weeks against the Colts on Jan. 9.

All Lawrence could essentially say was that the team must keep going forward. 

''Season not going to get canceled,'' Lawrence added. ''We got a lot of ball left. But yeah, I'm not going to sit up here and say all the positive things that came out of it. We got our butts kicked (Sunday). It didn't look good all the way around.. I'm never going to quit, so (we) just got to keep working.''