Sunday’s running attack against the Jaguars was not impressive. In the previous three games the Jaguars had played they had given up an average of 160 yards per game on the ground – a dismal 4.7 yards per carry.
- 145 to the Eagles in week 1
- 191 to the Skins in week 2
- 144 to the Colts in week 3
And then… 42 to the Chargers in week 4 !?!
Brown and Oliver combined for 19 rushing attempts. Seven of those were in garbage time after the Weddle interception that sealed the game. Those seven were some of the more productive runs of the day. Either they were blocked better or the Jags had given up. But let’s look at the other 12 and see if we can find cause for concern.
The DataFive of the twelve were blown blocks or lost battles. For example on the first play of the game King Dunlap misses a block and Brown needs to change direction away from the hole and gets tackled for a 1 yard game. On Oliver’s first run of the game in the second quarter, the play is well blocked except for Rhinehart who gets pushed back into the running lane and turns a 5 yard plus run into a 1 yard loss.
Two of the twelve rushing attempts were sniffed out by the Jags and the defense got to the hole with numbers before the running back did.
One of the twelve was a missed block by Tutu.
The other four went off as planned for modest gains.
The BacksAs far as the backs were concerned, when they had holes they ran well. Oliver seemed to finish runs stronger than Brown, but the sampling is too small to draw any real conclusions. It could also be said that Brown was a little impatient on one run not waiting for a Keenan Allen block to finish which would have sprung him for a few more yards, but it is hard to draw any conclusion from the end of one play.
Overall I would not say that the poor running performance was caused by the running backs.
The LineIn rewatching the game I was surprised to see how many center pulls they actually ran. Zergursky had trouble a couple of times winning the battle when he met the linebacker at the hole, but the poorest performance was Rhinehart losing battles and missing blocks on three of the plays. Are we surprised that the line played poorly when we have so many starters missing?
Do we need to worry? Or do we even need to run the ball?
Brown and Oliver caught 8 passes out of the backfield for 68 yards (8.5 yards per catch). While the line struggled to block for the backs it did an adequate job blocking for the gunslinger who not only distributed to his receivers but also to his backs. If the line is not healthy enough to run the ball conventionally, will Phillip be able to provide a run game of sorts by tossing outlet passes to his backs? We all know that McCoy loves to run the ball, but will he be forced to become pass happy with the injuries to the O-line?
Or do we need to worry?