Jaguars insider: In the zone

JACKSONVILLE – It’s not a dead zone these days, and that’s a good thing.

After being close to the end zone offensively through the first three months of the 2022 season, the Jaguars have improved there in recent games. And if the red zone offense isn’t already a dominant strength, it’s becoming less and less of a liability.

This is significant as the end of the season approaches.

“It’s been slow as the season has gone on,” Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday as the Jaguars (4-7) prepared to play the Detroit Lions (4-7) at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

After shooting on 50 percent of their red-zone possessions through eight games, the Jaguars have scored touchdowns on 7-of-11 red-zone possessions over their last three games. They have won two of those three games, including a 28-27 win over the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday.

They were 18th in the NFL in red-zone field goal percentage through eight games and 10th over their past three games, and quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Pederson said the most important thing this week is what the Jaguars don’t do when they get close to the opponent’s field goal. goal line.

“We don’t turn it over in the red zone and that was a big indicator early,” Lawrence said.

The Jaguars had four turnovers in the red zone in eight games — three interceptions by Lawrence and a fumble loss by linebacker Travis Etienne Jr. They also turned the ball over in the red zone in Week 1 at Washington, losing five plays. which turnovers occurred by a point or less.

“I think taking care of the football, number one, can increase production, obviously points, scores, drives, things like that,” Pederson said. “We can always get better and we have to get better here, but the first thing for us is to take care of the football, which we’ve done in the last couple of games.”

The Jaguars have failed in the red zone in their last three games.

“Obviously, if you turn it over, it’s a wasted possession in the red zone, so we’ve eliminated them,” Lawrence said. “We talked about it a few times. Not necessarily a ton, it’s just something I’ve really thought about and worked on especially in the red zone.

“You don’t have to be a superhero, you don’t have to try to make a crazy play, just get points. Obviously you want to score a touchdown on every red-zone possession, but nobody’s 100 percent all season long. You just have to be smart.

“I think it’s something I’m learning and we’re doing a better job.”

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