Just over two weeks ago, the Jacksonville Jaguars were projected to have the worst record according to Vegas. Many analysts were floating the idea that the team was tanking and could go 0-16 on the year. Two weeks into the season, and this is clearly not the case. This team has been more competitive than almost anyone thought so far. The below Jacksonville Jaguars players have been notable standouts on the season, thus far.
Jacksonville Jaguars That Continue To Impress
There’s no doubt that one of the most pleasant surprises for Jacksonville this year has been James Robinson’s spectacular play. In two games, Robinson has 32 carries for 164 yards and is averaging over 5.1 yards per carry. In his first two games, Robinson has shown that he can consistently pick up additional yardage on any given play. His quickness, solid vision, and ability to fall forward after contact helps him in this aspect. Robinson’s versatility has also helped him become a contributor very quickly as Jay Gruden uses a much more diverse run scheme than Jacksonville has in years prior. Overall, Robinson has been one of the most electrifying pieces that have made Jacksonville so exciting to watch these first two weeks, and it seems like there’s only more to come.
Though it’s only two weeks into the season, it’s hard to argue that many rookies have been better than C.J Henderson. In his first game in the NFL, Henderson was targeted 10 times; however, he allowed just five catches for 58 yards. Henderson also added three passes defended and an interception to his fantastic debut. Pro Football Focus even gave him the highest grade for any cornerback in Week 1. Henderson continued to play well in Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans. Though Henderson gave up a touchdown, he was targeted less in this game and was credited with another pass breakup. Some questioned Henderson tackling abilities going into the year. However, he has quickly proved them wrong with the amazing physicality he has brought play after play. With nothing but great play so far, it seems that Henderson’s future in Jacksonville is very bright.
Signing Joe Schobert was certainly Jacksonville’s biggest move in free agency, however not enough people realized the benefits the Jags would reap by moving Myles Jack to weakside linebacker. Moving Jack to weakside linebacker has always made sense, even since his college days. His ability to move in open space was always one of his most enticing skills. By moving him to weakside linebacker, he can utilize this skill more often and take on blocks less, which is arguably the worst aspect of his game. This decision has certainly paid off in the first two games. Jack looks much more comfortable and fluid in his play as compared to last year. Pro Football Focus also agrees, even giving him one of his highest game grades ever with a 91.1 in the Week 2 loss to the Titans. This great decision might finally allow Jack to reach his full potential.
Jacksonville’s use of rookies in a year with less off-season prep is nothing short of amazing. The way Laviska Shenault has been used in Jacksonville so far is a prime example of this. Jay Gruden has undoubtedly been creative in his use of the talented receiver’s skillset. Shenault is most often the receiver being put in motion, which is a testament to Gruden’s confidence in him. He’s also been used at outside receiver, the slot, wildcat quarterback, and has had multiple carries as a running back. Shenault currently has seven rushes for 47 yards, six catches for 72 yards on eight targets, and a touchdown. With Shenault already being used this often and this creatively, his career should be very intriguing to watch.
The most significant and noticeable factor of Jacksonville’s success in the first two games would be quarterback Gardner Minshew. Going into the season, Minshew was a very polarizing player among analysts despite having a solid first season, the Jaguars being fully committed, and being a media darling. After two games in 2020 though, it seems that everyone is ready to believe that Gardner Minshew is a franchise quarterback. In his first two games of the year, Minshew has 512 yards, six touchdowns, and is averaging 7.9 yards per pass attempt. If Minshew can keep up his performance the Jaguars will not be the easy matchup many predicted they would be coming into the season.
Time will tell if these Jacksonville Jaguars standouts can continue to perform at a high level, but through two weeks, so far so good.