Opening drive play calling
The first drive was a thing of beauty, with the only thing missing a touchdown to coronate. The Colts caught the Jaguars off-guard at seemingly every single play, the drive even included a key fourth and 1 conversion on a pass to running back Zack Moss. The drive did stall out in the Jaguars’ red-zone, but it showed the peak of Gardner Minshew and where the quarterback is most comfortable working with. That should be the inspiration for Steichen in the future when game planning the offense around Minshew, but it should include more running plays.
Right after that first offensive drive, it all crumbled. Steichen relied on Minshew a lot, with the veteran backup quarterback throwing the ball 55 times, compared to just 15 carries for Moss and Taylor. The Colts have one of the best running backs in the NFL, an also just got their All-Pro back to play next to him, which is why I would have liked them to embrace their #RTTB motto they seemingly brought back last week when they absolutely demolished the Titans. The quick-hitting passing game does not work when you are running it 55 times a game, and when the opposing defense has all week to prepare to face Minshew instead of the 6’5’’, 250-pound beast of a quarterback that can throw the ball 60 yards down the field with the flick of a wrist and also runs a 4.4 forty yard dash. The Jaguars were clearly ready for it, and once they felt out Minshew in the first drive, they adjusted the defense and easily shut him down the rest of the game. It is hard to draw conclusions from playing in Jacksonville, as I believe that we could come in with the 2009 offense against that 2020 Jags’ team and somehow we would still lose, but if I were Steichen I’d be drawing up run plays left and right at the moment.
The 37 points are a bit misleading, because the Colts’ defense only allowed 233 net yards of total offense, and they were killed by Minshew’s four turnovers, but no matter what way you slice it, the Colts’ defense was just not up to par on Sunday. They were certainly not as bad as the offense, but still, the Jaguars’ drove down the field with ease on the first drive, they got a first play touchdown in the second drive, and then proceeded to score another touchdown after two stops. It is really hard to judge the performance of the defense when the Jags were playing with a 25-point lead, so it is the play before that lead was obtained that I am not happy with. This is the Colts’ best defense talent-wise in a couple of years, so it is a bit worrying that they still have not figured out how to stop Trevor Lawrence.
15 carries to 55 passing attempts
This deserved another shot at Steichen. Rookie head-coaches are like rookie quarterbacks in the way that they are going to make some unforced mistakes here and there, and I don’t care how the Jaguars lined up, or what looks the defense was giving Minshew, but 55 passing attempts to just 15 carries is unacceptable, and is probably the main reason why Minshew finished the game with 4 turnovers. Steichen has to learn from this and take care of Minshew by not exposing him as much, and keep him as much in the structure as possible.