Sep 7, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) tries to avoid a tackle by Jacksonville Jaguars free safety Josh Evans (26) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
2) Can the defense limit mistakes?
For being a defensive guru, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley has struggled to turn the defense into a team strength. With 144 missed tackles (per Pro Football Focus) in 2014, the Jaguars are clearly limited by their own propensity for mistakes. One of the biggest culprits, linebacker JT Thomas, is now with the New York Giants and free safety Josh Evans, also a missed tackle master, could find himself riding the bench in 2014. That should help strong safety Johnathan Cyprien and the other linebackers improve on ending plays when they get to the ball carrier.
Another year of experience, even if it was rife with missed tackles, should help the young Jacksonville Jaguars defense to progress. Players like Evans, Cyprien, and cornerbacks Dwayne Gratz and Demetrius McCray were all in their second years. Entering year three, the Jaguars are expecting big things from their first draft class.
The Jags aren’t just relying on development from their young players, though. Four of the seven free agency signings thus far have been defensive players. Safety Sergio Brown is competing for the free safety spot, cornerback Davon House expects to be a number one receiver, and both defensive lineman Jared Odrick and linebacker Dan Skuta figure to be key role players. GM Dave Caldwell knew that he needed experienced players added to his defense and he went out and got them. They should help immensely in bolstering the defense for 2015.
We won’t know how the new defense will work together until the start of the season, though, and if the mistakes still remain then the Jags may have to look at the guys on the sidelines for answers. I think the Jags have done a good job of addressing the mistakes already, but I’m not going to count the chickens before they hatch here.
Next: Will the Jaguars address special teams?