The Jacksonville Jaguars look like a team on the rise after three straight weeks of competent play. A majority of the team’s recent success is a direct result of the improved play on defense. Despite the lack of an elite pass rusher, the Jaguars have pressured the quarterback as a result of terrific run defense and putting opposing offenses in obvious passing downs. Consequently, the young secondary has stepped up and played outstanding football against some mediocre quarterbacks.
Let’s take a look at the grades provided by our friends at Pro Football Focus. Here’s how week 12 played out according to PFF:
Best Overall Offensive Grades: Maurice Jones-Drew (+3.4), Chad Henne (+1.7), Cecil Shorts (+0.3)
After an underwhelming first half of the season, Maurice Jones-Drew has really come on and provided solid play at running back. Half of his rushing yards came on a 44 yard rush (his longest this season), but his biggest contribution came in the passing game. Chad Henne kept it safe on Sunday and checked down to Jones-Drew 6 times. MJD caught all 6 of the balls thrown his way for 68 well-earned yards. Again, Henne kept most of his throws short, but he found receivers in stride and they were able to take short passes for nice gains (see Ace Sanders). Shorts saw the ball thrown his way 11 times and had a decent day, but he was credited for a drop.
Best Overall Defensive Grades: Sen’Derrick Marks (+1.8), Mike Harris (+1.5), Alan Ball (+1.1), Dwayne Gratz (+1.1)
Sen’Derrick Marks continues to show up at the top of the grades thanks to his interior pass rush. He had 3 QB hurries to go along with 1 QB hit and he was a constant presence in the backfield. The secondary is also becoming a staple in this category with great play across the board. Harris and Ball both saw few balls thrown their way thanks to great coverage, and Gratz did a good job covering both Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins.
Most Disappointing Grades: Cameron Bradfield (-5.1), Will Rackley (-4.0), Austin Pasztor (-3.6), Brandon Deaderick (-2.3), Jason Babin (-1.7), Roy Miller (-1.5),
The Houston Texans have arguably the best defensive player in the league in J.J. Watt and a pretty nice array of pass rushers at their disposal, so it’s not too surprising to see that the offensive line struggled. The entire offensive line struggled in pass blocking as evidenced by the 6 sacks given up. Rackley, Bradfield, Nwaneri, and Meester are all likely not starting next year.
Brandon Deaderick only made it on the field for 10 snaps, but he was barely noticeable. Jason Babin has found himself at the bottom of these grades several times this season and he didn’t do much as a pass rusher in this contest. Roy Miller didn’t show up too much on the stat sheet, but I thought he did a decent job holding the point.
- Johnathan Cyprien had his second straight week with a positive grade (+0.7) and has improved immensely in coverage. He’s starting to look a lot more comfortable and instinctive in the back end.
- Andre Branch still disappears too often, but he had a good game on Sunday and provided an effective albeit inconsistent pass rush.
– Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89