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Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints Offer Contrasting Offensive Styles This Weekend

September 27th, 2011 at 9:40 PM
By Brendan Sonnone

Things are about to go from bad to worse for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
 
Jacksonville (1-2) hosts the New Orleans Saints (2-1) Sunday at 1:00 p.m., which is bad news for a team that hasn’t generated any offense this season.
 
The Jaguars have scored 29 total points this season. 
 
The Saints are averaging 34.7 points per contest. 
 
In a pass happy league, the Saints have outlined the blueprint for success.  Every franchise wants to mimic New Orleans, a team that won the Super Bowl in 2009 by abandoning the run and investing in a pass-happy attack. Led by the proficient and mind-numbingly efficient Drew Brees, the Saints have shown that tossing the ball around, not sticking to a ground game, is what wins games in the NFL.
 
If New Orleans head coach Sean Payton is an architect for modern-day offenses, that makes Jack Del Rio Art Vandelay.
 
Put simply, the Jaguars’ offensive approach is extinct.
The Jaguars lead the league in rushing attempts, with 108 this season, and are dead last in passing attempts. That old-school, grind it out philosophy  has put the Jaguars at the bottom of the food chain in a sport that now requires passing to win. Jacksonville ranks 28th in the NFL in total offense and 31st (that’s second to last) in scoring.
 
It should then come as no surprise that the NFL’s three remaining undefeated teams—the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills—are in the top 11 in the league in passing yards per game. New Orleans and New England, which are 2-1 and have lost close games to undefeated teams,
lead the league in passing.
 
Passing is what equals success. The Saints proved that in 2009 and the Packers proved it in 2010 with Super Bowl victories. The Patriots have known this for a few years now and the rest of the league, for the most part, is catching on.
 
Led by Brees, New Orleans has a prolific air attack. The Saints lack a dominant receiver, but Brees’ ability to quickly pick apart defenses on underneath patterns and then go for the jugular with precisely thrown deep passes has made New Orleans a consistent contender.
 
It’s a strategy the Jaguars must learn. Last week they attempted just 21 passes and tried to protect a five-point halftime lead against the Carolina Panthers by killing the clock. Predictably, the strategy didn’t pay off, as it’s tough to play keep away for an entire half of football. Carolina came back to win the game following a –you guessed it—passing touchdown with four minutes left from rookie quarterback Cam Newton.
 
The Jaguars’ reluctance to open up their offense is understandable to a certain degree. They have one of the game’s top runners in Maurice Jones-Drew, a below average group of receivers and a rookie quarterback in Blaine Gabbert
 
But that still doesn’t excuse the team’s completely vanilla paly calling the past few weeks. Obviously the Jags have to play the hand they’re dealt. They have to decide between either a young QB like Gabbert or a serviceable backup in Luke McCown and their receiver problems won’t be magically fixed mid-season. 
 
It’s not an ideal situation but the Jaguars have to take some chances on offense if they want to field a competitive offense. Del Rio and his staff have to if they want to keep their jobs, that much seems clear at this point.
 
So when the Saints march into town this weekend, take notes Jacksonville, because that’s what a real offense looks like. 
Tags: Blaine Gabbert, Football, Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Jaguars, Maurice-Jones Drew, New Orleans Saints, NFL, pass

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