Sixth-round rookie quarterback Jake Luton had a solid game for the Jacksonville Jaguars in their Week 9 loss to the Houston Texans. in Gardner Minshew‘s stead, who missed the game with a thumb injury. There were more positives than negatives for Lutton last week and he will start again for the Jags in Week 10. Last week was certainly a respectable debut for a rookie who did not have the anticipated reps during the preseason. However, now there is tape on Luton, and his career will come to its first crossroad against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Here are some areas on which the Jacksonville Jaguars offense must focus in Week 10.
Jacksonville Jaguars Offense Focus Areas for Week 10
If the correct strategy is not uncovered by the coaching staff, Luton and the offense will dive to a 1-8 record when the game clock hits all zeroes. Conversely, if the coaches come up with a game plan that compliments Luton’s skill set and he is able to execute, he will thrive and the Jags may come away with a win. The Jaguars must implement three things into their offensive game plan in order to give the team an opportunity to upset the Packers on Sunday.
In order for Luton to thrive the Jaguars rushing attack must be present at all times. They need to be patient. Even if they find themselves down by a couple of touchdowns early, they must not abandon the run. The coaching staff and Luton cannot become anxious and desperate. A balanced offense will keep the pressure off of Luton and help keep them within striking distance.
Undrafted rookie running back James Robinson is sixth in the league in rushing and is arguably the team’s best offensive weapon. Furthermore, look what the Minnesota Vikings did to the Packers two weeks ago (34 rushes for 173 yards). Robinson does not need that type of output, but something similar to his production last week against the Texans (25 carries for 99 yards) would more than suffice. A solid rushing attack will help the Jaguars control the ball and keep future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers explosive offense on the sidelines.
Exploit the Middle of the Field
One positive that emerged from last week was that Luton found tight end Tyler Eifert often. The free agent acquisition had season highs in receptions (four) and yards (48) last week. That production was certainly a welcome surprise for the Jaguars offense. Luton was able to use his physical attributes (6’ 6” frame) to locate Eifert in the middle of the field.
Most importantly, three out of four of Eifert’s receptions resulted in a first down. Continually moving the chains will be extremely beneficial for the young signal caller and Luton utilizing the middle of the field could help accomplish that. On Sunday, Eifert and fellow tight end James O’Shaughnessy will need to be more than an outlet valve for Luton. They will need to cause havoc in between the hash marks and convert first downs.
Element of Surprise
Keeping a defense guessing will always tilt the advantage towards an offense. On tape, the Packers can see that Luton has a big arm and can push the ball down the field. They will be ready for that. What is not on tape, with the exception of one play, is Luton’s ability to escape the pocket and gain positive yards.
If offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is able to incorporate some designed runs for Luton, the defense will be caught off guard. This strategy will be most effective early in the game. It will allow Luton to get the butterflies out of his system and gain valuable yards with a lower risk of turning the ball over. As the game moves along, a few quarterback runs will keep the linebackers and safeties close for an extra half of a second. That will allow Luton to then take the shots downfield to wide receivers Chris Conley and D.J. Chark.
A trip to Lambeau Field in mid-November is never full of pleasantries for a rookie quarterback. Especially against a Packers team that has aspirations of making a deep playoff run. This game will be an opportunity for Luton to take a step forward and thrive. He does not have the pressure on his shoulders that most quarterbacks carry into Green Bay. But if the Jacksonville Jaguars offense and Luton can control the ball with a balanced attack, utilize the tight ends in the middle of the field, and pick up positive yards with Luton’s legs, the Jaguars have a chance in Green Bay. Albeit a slim one.