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Sunday, October 20, 2013
Home not where the offense is for Jaguars

By Michael DiRocco


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have been abysmal at EverBank Field this season.

They’re winless in three tries, have been outscored 89-11, have scored just three points in the second half, and haven’t lost by less than 18 points.

Receiver Cecil Shorts may have hit upon a solution to the Jaguars’ Duval County woes.

"Maybe we should have 16 road games," he said.

It was a tongue-in-cheek comment made in the locker room following the Jaguars’ latest home defeat, a 24-6 setback to San Diego in front of 59,550, but his point is valid. The Jaguars have certainly played better on the road than they have at home, especially on offense.

The Jaguars are averaging 3.7 points per game at home. The offense has accounted for only nine points (the other two were a safety) and hasn’t scored a touchdown in 35 drives. The last time the Jaguars found the end zone at EverBank Field came with 9:34 remaining in the first quarter of a Week 16 loss to New England last December.

Since the team doesn’t play at home again until Nov. 17, the team could go nearly 11 months between touchdowns at home.

The offense has been much better on the road, scoring nine points at Oakland, 17 at Seattle, 20 at St. Louis and 12 at Denver (the defense had a touchdown). That’s an average of 14.5 points per game for the offense.

"I don’t know why, but we do not play well at home," Shorts said. "We play well on the road. We do not play well at home and it’s frustrating. This should be our territory. This is it. This is us, and it’s frustrating so we’ve got to fix it."

That’d be easy if it was one or two things, but the Jaguars have multiple issues. The offensive line is still struggling to open holes in the running game (just 78 yards Sunday) and a trade and injury have resulted in a pair of inexperienced tackles haven’t helped the pass protection (the Chargers have six sacks). The team’s top playmakers have either been missing because of suspension (Justin Blackmon) or injury (Marcedes Lewis).

Quarterback play hasn’t been great, either. Blaine Gabbert threw five interceptions in two home games, including one that was taken back for a touchdown. Chad Henne started Sunday’s game and while he did throw for 318 yards on 23 of 36 passing, he also threw an interception and missed out on two potential touchdown passes -- once because of a drop and another because he threw the ball too close to the sideline.

The end result was just two field goals against the Chargers and a nearly-empty stadium by the end of the third quarter.

"It was just sloppy," Henne said. "We had low energy out there and didn’t make the plays we normally make. You want to be consistent and be that kind of team. You want to get that win and get on a roll and consistency is the biggest thing. That is what we are lacking and we are lacking some individual efforts to getting better and improving this team."

Henne was being diplomatic. Lewis, who played his first full game of the season, was a little more pointed in his assessment.

"This is getting old," said Lewis, who caught one pass for 31 yards. "We can’t keep talking about coming in here and getting it next time. It gets really old. The thing I’ve learned about playing this game is that football is about men that go out and take what they want. You can’t be sitting back thinking that it’s supposed to come to you. You can’t put on your jersey and show up and think that you’re supposed to win games."

Right now, the Jaguars would probably settle for just scoring a touchdown at home.