Moeller: Red Zone Production is at the Top of the Jaguars' Offensive Wish List

Photo by Nancy Beecher/Florida Sports Wire
By Jeff Moeller

JACKSONVILLE (Florida Sports Wire) - The Jaguars’ first-team offense played four series in the opening half in the team’s 16-15 loss to Pittsburgh at TIAA Field Saturday night.

They produced six points in just over 19 minutes holding the ball. So far this preseason, the Jags’ first-team unit has produced one touchdown in two games.

Those two facts may be a little unnerving, but you must put everything in perspective. Look at the big picture here and think back to the days of Urban Meyer.

It’s just a reminder that it is all about patience. This should be the real deal.

New head coach Doug Pederson has been running a vanilla-type offense in the last three weeks, and you must figure there is more to come. Pederson will get it done.

Lead running back James Robinson has clearly stated that he is taking his time to come back from his Achilles injury he suffered late last season. His consecutive 1,000-yard plus seasons verify his status as a legitimate threat.

Second-year back Travis Etienne has shown that he can stay low to the ground and create another hole when one is closed. Etienne’s numbers are shattering, but he’s proved he can be a weapon this fall.

Then there’s the quarterback. Trevor Lawrence has shown the ability to move out of the pocket as well as stay in there if needed.

Lawrence has a busy half against the Steelers, completing 14 of 21 attempts for 133 yards. The drawback was that he couldn’t find the endzone. He had his chances, but he overthrew or under threw his targets.

He did hit several targets, and there seems to be a growing bond between him and wide receiver Christian Kirk, who had five catches for 54 yards, including a 22-yard seamer.

Lawrence did have the strong support from his offensive line that allowed just one sack by TJ Watt and his aggressive unit. The Jags’ first teamers produced 187 yards in the opening half and had just one penalty.

Like it has been and will be for Lawrence, it is about experience. Pederson explained.

“In Trevor’s case, we’ve just got to get him to calm down early in the football game and settle in. There were some throws that were missed that I know he would want back, and we’ve seen him make those throws in practice, so we know he’s capable of doing it 

“It’s just a matter of just taking a deep breath as he starts the game and settles in. But those are all things that we continue to work on. We’ve got a couple of weeks left here in camp, and we’ll try to get better.”

Translation: Lawrence has the ability, and his coach has faith in him. 

This latest game – now maybe regarded as the dress rehearsal due to the one less preseason game for the Steelers – wasn’t perfect and had its flaws. Yet, it is far from last year’s circus with a ringleader named Meyer.

Red zone offensive production is at the top of the offensive wish list. Lawrence’s continued adjustment to the situation is right there, too.

 In three weeks, you’ll have your assumptions confirmed either way.

(Columnist and reporter Jeff Moeller covers the Jacksonville Jaguars and other sports for the Florida Sports Wire and SportsDay publications)

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