By: Hays Carlyon
NASHVILLE – I’ve been hard on Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash. I don’t think he should be retained next season. But I’ll grant him this fact: he can’t make the tackles.
The Jaguars players failed the fans in Thursday night’s 30-9 loss to Tennessee, allowing Titans running back Derrick Henry to run for 238 yards and four touchdowns. This was pure embarrassment on national TV against a Titans team that now flat out owns the Jaguars, sweeping them for the second consecutive season.
The Jaguars defense went from brilliant in Sunday’s 6-0 win over Indianapolis to one of the most disappointing performances in recent memory.
Seriously, Henry runs for a franchise-record against you?
The Yulee native hadn’t eclipsed 60 rushing yards in a game this season for Tennessee. His season high was 58 yards.
Henry broke touchdowns runs of 99 (not a typo), 54, 16 and 3 yards.
Any player that suited up on defense for the Jaguars should be embarrassed by this.
“We pitched a shutout to a top-five offense and then you come back and got drummed like that on national TV,” Jaguars free safety Tashaun Gipson said. “Who would want to watch the Jaguars on national television when you let a Derrick Henry run for 250? He could have run for 300 on us today, if we’re being honest with ourselves. … It was like little league out there.”
At some point, you’ve got to make tackles. That’s basic football. The Jaguars failed miserably, looking pathetic at times trying to stop Henry.
Another basic element of football is running decisively.
Yet, Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette danced at the line of scrimmage on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line and was stuffed for no gain. It was 7-2 Titans at that point midway through the second quarter. Who knows what happens if he scores and the Jaguars go up 9-7.
“We’d like [Leonard] to go north and south down there,” Marrone said. “I thought when it was 7-2, and when we were down there first-and-goal at the three and didn’t score, we would’ve been able to take the lead there. I think that was a big turning point.”
Instead, Henry broke loose on the next play for the 99-yard marvel. He toyed with cornerback A.J. Bouye and linebacker Leon Jacobs with a devastating stiff arm as he raced down the sideline after breaking through the line.
Is that coach Doug Marrone’s fault that Fournette was weak going to the goal line? I don’t think it is.
I think Fournette failed.
We knew the offense would largely fail with quarterback Cody Kessler making his second start, quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich calling his second game and the offensive line down three starters.
Fournette had to come up big. He had to look like a special player worthy of being a top-five pick in the 2017 draft.
He was awful. Fournette finished with 14 carries for 36 yards.
The coaching staff deserves blame for this debacle of a season. The Jaguars (4-9) have lost eight of their last nine games, turning a promising 3-1 start into a nightmare.
The Jaguars have elite talent on defense and at running back.
None of it showed up on Thursday.
This was a massive failure by the players. It was disgusting to watch.
(You can email Hays at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)