The Jags first opponent – Playing Offense against the Denver Broncos
By Terry OBrien
First of all, Mike Nolan, the 2009 Defensive Coordinator left for Miami, but Don Martindale got the job. As the former linebackers coach, we can expect Denver did not want to change the defensive philosophy. Therefore, expect the Jaguars to have negative plays throughout the game.
Elvis Dumervil will line up against Eben Britton. That is the first mismatch the Broncos will try to exploit. Expect Marcedes Lewis to line up on the right side, or Greg Jones in the backfield to watch for Dumervil.
Robert Ayers played left outside linebacker and that places him with Eugene Monroe. I think this might be a strong point for the Jaguars. Eugene proved to be a good run blocker and the left side might be open for runs. If Mario Haggen is playing LOLB, he is vulnerable to pass plays. Zack Miller on a quick slant may be the right call.
The Jaguars have an advantage against the 3-4 defense, they play double tight end formations. With Zack Miller and Marcedes Lewis lined up, the outside blitz can be minimize. With Maurice Jones Drew as good a blocker as he is, Zack Miller can go out for a pass and MJD can cover the blocking.
I don’t know the condition of Brad Meester, but he will have to handle Jamal Williams alone if any inside running can open up. Jamal Williams will want to engage double coverage and if he is successful, the 3-4 performs better. If Meester is healthy, quick hitting runs up the middle can kill the 3-4. The disadvantage the Jaguars have is they are not good up the middle runners. Great to the left side, average on the right, terrible up the middle. Brad Meester is key to a victory.
With a healthy Vince Manuwai and a strong showing by Kynan Forney, the Denver front three can be handled. Also, Elvis Dumervil is a sack monster, not a run stopper. In fact, Elvis Dumervil is a liability at times against the run. If Eben Britton can blow him out, Marcedes is free on the right and MJD can run the wheel pattern out into the flat. That will be a big play if it works.
David is going to have to throw the ball eventually to keep the safeties from playing up too tight. With Andre Goodman and Champ Bailey covering, Brian Dawkins can play as a linebacker. David is going to have to risk the sack or interception to move the ball down field over the middle. There is one good thing there, Jarret Dillard and Mike Sims-Walker both play over the middle.
There won’t be time for any Mike Thomas reverses or receiver screens. Forget spending too much time in the backfield. Denver will be parked back there too quickly. It is best to go where they aren’t, up field quickly. I expect the Jaguars to plan a “get the ball out of the backfield quickly” kind of game plan.
The offensive line will be challenged hard by this Denver defense. With the horrible perfromance they put up in the last two years, I expect Denver to lick their chops for this as a first game. They will put them to test the line early and hard. The first ten plays may be blitzes by Denver. If the Jaguars are not ready for that, it could be a lot of three and outs.
If the offensive line is stronger and holds up, I expect the running game to open the passing game. Dirk Koetter would be a fool to open the game by challenging Denver deep. This will be a man beats man in the trenches game.