Friday Night Logue: Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense is fun again
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense ranked last in terms of expected added points per game allowed before his Week 7 recess. Since then, he’s ranked eighth, and that includes Seattle’s 31-point explosion on Halloween.
Over the past two weeks (the two games against AFC rivals with the 10 best offenses, mind you), the Jaguars have allowed -0.139 EPA per game and 4.69 yards per game – both rates would rank second. league rank this season.
Defensive coordinator Joe Cullen has changed just one small detail: the strong safety roster. According to Sports Info Solutions, the Jaguars played with deep security on 53% of snaps before the bye and 26% after the bye. This is the difference between the seventh highest rate and the sixth lowest rate in the league, respectively.
With strong security playing deeper more often, Jacksonville was able to stop Buffalo’s passing attack with a multitude of Cover 2s and constant pressure. But playing that deep safety meant losing a gap in the racing game, and while the Jaguars easily managed to counter the Bills’ weak running game, they had a tough test in Week 10 against Jonathan Taylor and the Colts.
Taylor showed he was a different beast in the very first scrimmage game on Sunday. There is a school bus-sized traffic lane at the transfer point, but instead of pressing the accelerator, Taylor leans very slightly towards the opening to move Myles Jack in that direction. After giving his left tackle more time and a better angle to block Jack, Taylor simply evaporates the pursuit angles of the two safeties.
Here’s what your block setup looks like, and that just happens to be coupled with some of the most explosive stages in the league.
The Colts ran another zone run play on their next possession, and this time Taylor immediately pedaled to the medal. Zach Pascal’s move prompted Damien Wilson to continue and by the time Josh Allen got to the hole, Taylor was long gone.
In both plays, the back defensive tackle was doubled and Taylor was able to take advantage of the linebackers’ slightest missteps. But those were the only cases like this all day, as Taylor only gained 62 yards on his other 19 carries, none going over eight.
There was no further adjustment from Cullen or dominant individual performance – the Jaguars’ defensive line just came in. From DaVon Hamilton blasting the backfield, to Malcolm Brown splitting doubles teams, to Adam Gotsis penetrating the spreads, to Josh Allen racking up tackles for loss, Jacksonville’s inside defense was borderline impenetrable for much of the season. daytime.
With nowhere to go, Taylor made no tackles and recorded his weakest average yards after contact (1.5) in the past two months. His two big runs showed incredible traits, but they were consistently neutralized by the Jacksonville forward.
The success of the past two weeks has not been the result of timely penalties, lucky rebounds or bad weather. The Jaguars’ defense is legitimately playing good football (which seemed impossible after the past two years, let alone the start of this season), and the defensive line is leading the charge. Hiring Joe Cullen looks better and better with each passing week.
- While his defense has quietly played well since his goodbye, the Jaguars’ speech centered on an offense that scored three touchdowns in the same number of games. I think the biggest issue is without a doubt the lack of separation and general execution by downstream receivers, but if anyone is to blame it’s the front office for not surrounding their quarterback. franchise of adequate pass sensors. Don’t blame the beer at the party for tasting bad, blame the person who brought it in for not having a better one.
- Raheem Mostert’s knee injury earlier this season was kind of a big deal (San Diego, San Francisco, close enough), as his peripheral speed plays a big part in Shanahan playing with opposing linebackers and offense. Niners in general. Rookie Elijah Mitchell may well have taken on the role of Mostert for San Francisco, but if he can’t star due to his recent finger surgery, Damien Wilson and Myles Jack should have an easier time on Sunday. Mitchell is a game-time decision and an important name to watch before kick-off.
- A bet I like for Sunday: George Kittle over 62.5 yards on reception (by DraftKings). The last time Jacksonville faced a receiving threat on the tight end was against Miami when Mike Gesicki scored 115 yards and eight catches on nine targets. Damien Wilson and Rudy Ford are still at the start, so I still have little faith in the Jaguars to be able to cover midfield against one of the best tight ends and offensive schemers in the league.