HOG HOTLINE (386) 257-0324

Is the Jaguars offense good enough to win a Super Bowl? 2002 Buccaneers Edition!

Is the Jaguars offense good enough to win a Super Bowl? 2002 Buccaneers Edition!

In September, we ran a series on Big Cat Country comparing the Jacksonville Jaguars “Sacksonville� defense to some of the all-time greats.

This month, I wanted to conduct a case study on how the offenses of those respective teams statistically compare to the Jaguars unit and ascertain just how much the defense had to carry the offense on their back to a championship. We already compared the 2018 Jaguars with the 2000 Baltimore Ravens offense, and this week we’re matching up Jon Gruden’s 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Rather than doing a career snapshot like the last series, I extrapolated the numbers from the first five weeks of the season and matched those figures up with the final regular season statistics for respective players positions on each team’s offense.

Here goes nothing!

QB | Blake Bortles vs. Brad Johnson


Bortles: 416/675, 61.6% completion, 4,880 yards, 26 TDs, 22 INTs, 3.3 INT %

Johnson: 345/555, 62.3% completion, 3,752 yards, 27 TDs, 7 INTs, 1.3 INT %

What a difference a week makes. Just last week, Bortles’ extrapolated stats for this season prior to the Chiefs debacle was 388/600, 64.7% completion, 4,380 yards, 28 TDs, 12 INTs, 2.0 INT %. Compare this stat line with the one above and yikes. Brad Johnson often gets lumped together with Trent Dilfer in the “bad quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl pile,� but that’s simply not true. Johnson was 34 years old during the 2002 season and was incredibly efficient in 13 regular season games (numbers above extended fo 16 games). Bortles may be on pace to have over 1,000 more passing yards (likely a byproduct of a different era of passing), but Johnson was sagacious in protecting the football with a 1.3% interception percentage. Let’s put it this way — if Bortles had Johnson’s stat line above this year, this team is probably in a really good spot.

Advantage: Brad Johnson

RB | T.J. Yeldon vs. Michael Pittman


Yeldon: 189 carries, 825 yards, 4.4 YPC, 70 catches, 621 yards

Pittman: 204 carries, 718 yards, 1 TD, 3.5 YPC, 59 catches, 477 yards

Last week, I extrapolated Fournette’s production from four total quarters in 2018 over 16 games to see what he would have been on pace for had he been healthy. With him conceivably set to miss at least half of the season, I think it’s more appropriate at this point just to use T.J. Yeldon as the primary running back benchmark. A fourth round pick out of Fresno State in the 1998 draft, the 27-year old Michael Pittman may not have been a classic workhorse back in the Bucs regular season but was a huge factor in the Super Bowl against the Raiders, where he rushed the ball 29 times for 124 yards. Pittman was a good receiver out of the backfield but never eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards in a season during his 11-year career as an NFL running back. Yeldon and Pittman are actually pretty similar in terms of production forecast, but Yeldon’s higher yards per carry average upon comparison gives him the edge.

Advantage: T.J. Yeldon

FB | Tommy Bohanon vs. Mike Alstott


Bohanon: 1 catch, 5 yards

Alstott: 146 carries, 548 yards, 3.8 YPC, 5 TDs, 35 catches, 242 yards, 2 Rec TDs

If you want to know how much NFL offenses have changed in the past decade, look no further than fullback Mike Alstott. A No. 35 overall pick in the 1996 Draft, Alstott was a six-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro despite never eclipsing the 1,000 yard rushing mark in a season during his 11-year Bucs career. Obviously, the Jaguars use their fullback Tommy Bohanon very differently than Alstott as he is primarily a lead blocker and emergency auxiliary outlet in the passing game, so this isn’t too fair of a fight. I was going to use an RB2 from the Jaguars to even this out, but they don’t even really have one due to injuries so far.

Advantage: Mike Alstott

WR | Keelan Cole vs. Keyshawn Johnson


Cole: 109 targets, 67 catches, 944 yards, 14.0 yards per catch, 4 TDs

Johnson: 142 targets, 76 catches, 1,088 yards, 14.3 yards per catch, 5 TDs

A number one overall pick by the Jets in the 1996 Draft, Keyshawn Johnson and undrafted division two wide receiver Keelan Cole could not have entered the league any more differently. With that being said, the pair aren’t too far off in terms of Cole’s projected stat line for the remainder of the year. Johnson was clearly the alpha receiver and go-to target for the Bucs offense with his 142 targets, which was over 50% of Johnson’s pass attempts. To put it in perspective, Cole’s is being targeted on about 16% of Blake Bortle’s throws, which is a staggering contrast and major statement on how much the game has changed in the last ten years or so and how the Jags offense has thrown the ball entirely too much through five weeks.

Advantage: Keyshawn Johnson

WR | Donte Moncrief vs. Keenan McCardell


Moncrief: 118 targets, 58 catches, 797 yards, 13.8 yards per catch, 7 TDs

McCardell: 116 targets, 70 catches, 766 yards, 11.0 yards per catch, 6 TDs

Name look familiar? Keenan McCardell was 32 years old in the Bucs championship season and the grisly veteran featured in 14 regular season games in 2002. Astoundingly, that’s 258 targets between Keyshawn Johnson and Keenan McCardell, leaving very little for the remainder of the Bucs WR corps. Even though Moncrief is on pace to slightly edge out Keenan in yards and yards per catch, McCardell was an extremely reliable receiver for Brad Johnson, especially on third downs, and I don’t think many would disagree with me that Moncrief has yet to earn the trust of his quarterback and fan base on crucial downs.

Advantage: Keenan McCardell

WR | Dede Westbrook vs. Joe Jurevicius