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Jaguars miss playoffs, suffer end-of-season collapse

After a close 28-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, the Jacksonville Jaguars found themselves ineligible for the NFL postseason. Finishing with a 9-8 record, the Jags fell short to an up-and-coming Houston Texans team, who won the AFC South following a win over the Indianapolis Colts.

On Sunday, the Jags had a “win and in” situation when facing the Tennessee Titans, meaning they would have entered the playoffs if they had won that game. However, the Jaguars lost and allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers to enter the playoffs as a wild card instead, mainly due to the Titans’ 175 rushing yards.

These postseason results come after a late collapse by the Jaguars that saw the team lose five of their last six outings. Their only win during this span came in week 17 against the Carolina Panthers, who finished the season with only two wins. 

This collapse surprised many after Jacksonville’s early-season success, with the Jags sitting at a respectable 8-3 record at the end of week 12. They were one of the top seeds in the AFC at the time.

Another glaring issue for Duval’s finest was a significant injury to their signal-caller. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence injured his throwing shoulder in a week 16 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Although Lawrence returned to finish the season playing the Titans in week 18, two costly interceptions garnered concern regarding his status.

Despite suiting up against the Titans in week 18, two interceptions in that game led to many questions about his injury. (Justin Nedrow)

The only win the Jaguars saw during this losing span from weeks 13-18 came directly after Trevor Lawrence’s injury, which forced the team to start veteran journeyman C.J. Beathard under center in week 17 versus the Panthers.

Following the undesirable conclusion to their 2023 season, Jacksonville’s front office has cleared out a significant portion of its coaching staff. During the first week of the offseason, the Jaguars fired several assistant coaches, including running backs coach Bernie Parmalee, assistant offensive line coach Todd Washington and seven defensive assistants. 

The most significant change, however, is the firing of defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell. This decision came after the Jaguars defense gave up over two touchdowns in four of their last six games. Opposing offenses averaged 21.8 points against Caldwell’s defense in 2023. 

“Since our season’s end, I have made the difficult decision to relieve several members of the coaching staff – on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball – of their duties,” said head coach Doug Pederson in a statement released by the team. “I want to thank each of these coaches for their tireless efforts these last two seasons. Ultimately, I felt change was necessary to allow our football team to reach the goals for which we are capable.”

The Jaguars reportedly have the 17th overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft. After the disappointing conclusion of the 2023 season and the recent changes in coaching staff, the Jacksonville Jaguars are looking in a new direction for 2024.

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About the Contributor
Jacob Justice, Sports Editor
Jacob Justice is a third-year multimedia journalism major at the University of North Florida. First joining as a sports reporter, Jacob is now Spinnaker's sports editor. Jacob has a passion for sportswriting and hopes to write as a journalist for a sports media company in the future. In his free time, he tends to enjoy playing guitar and bass as well as spending quality time with friends.

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