Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator, was the next coach to speak and addressed the room as if we were players in the locker during the week. We addressed different game time scenarios such as second down and short yardage, third down and extra long, and game ending plays. Koetter’s charisma and passion engaged the audience and he was not afraid to infuse a little sarcasm at the fans exspense.
While the game video was interesting to watch, I learned the most during the Q&A at the end of the speech. One fan asked of the importance of half time adjustments, which Koetter viewed as overrated as Vic Ketchman did. He pointed out that by the time he took the elevator down from the coaches box, got his “ass chewed out” by Coach Del Rio, and met with the other coaches, he would only have about two minutes to speak to the offense in front of the projector. He emphasized that adjustments are being made every time our defense is on the field. While halftime is more valuable for adjusting strategies in college ball, he made it clear that everything in the NFL must happen on the fly.
The next question asked involved Koetter’s decision to run the ball in some third and long situations. Dirk immediately fires back, asking if the fan was a poker player and explaining the odds of certain scenarios. A team has less than a 20% chance of converting a third down play of more than ten yards, and further added that one in four sacks leads to a fumble. “Sometimes, you just have to know when to fold ‘em”, especially when facing odds such as these.
While Mel Tucker, the defensive coordinator, was extremely knowledgeable, he lacked the charm and presence of Koetter. He pointed out that our focus in the past few years on rushing the quarterback has left our secondary depleted, and that a new focus on the back end, in combination with the rush, should return our defense to where it once was. Tucker’s most interesting contribution to the evening addressed the importance of fundamentals. Missed tackles accounted for over 70 yards allowed per game. Cutting those in half would change our defense ranking from 28th to 17th, and eliminating those misses would place us in the top five in the NFL. While there will always be missed tackles, his message on the importance of decreasing these mistakes was clear.
In closing, I hope that you all, as fans, are appreciating the effort that the Jacksonville Jaguars are putting forth during the lockout. Last year our team was number one in the league in new ticket sales, and we were able to prevent any blackouts at Everbank Field. Please do not be afraid to renew your season tickets or buy new ones due to a fear of missed games. Wayne Weaver has assured the fans that a full season will be play in 2011, but even if there is not, and funds will be returned for missed games plus interest! Keep our momentum going, and lets keep this team in Jacksonville.