The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off yet another brutal loss this past Sunday, one in which they let the Tennessee Titans score 42 points on and ruin the coming out party of quarterback Blake Bortles and wide receiver Allen Robinson.
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Bortles and his second year counterpart catching the ball both had monster days, with the young signal caller throwing 3 of his 5 touchdowns to Robinson. On any other day, the 39 points put up by the offense would have been more than enough to ensure a victory, but every other facet of the team didn’t perform well and the result was a discouraging loss.
While there is plenty of blame to go around for the loss (special teams, coaching, etc.), the brunt of the loss has to be put squarely on the shoulders of the defense. Against a rookie quarterback with limited weapons on the outside, the Jacksonville defense had their worst performance of the season – yes, worse than the punt-free game against the New England Patriots.
Marcus Mariota strengthened his rookie of the year resume with his best performance of the year last weekend, carving up the Jacksonville defense with both his arm and his legs. Mariota played almost-mistake free football, an accomplishment aided by the non-existent Jacksonville pass rush. Chris Clemons and Andre Branch have been arguably the two worst edge rushers in the entire NFL and Pete Prisco even said they are the worst pass rushing duo ever on the Jaguars Monday radio show.
"“They might have worst set of pass rushing ends in the history of the NFL.”– Pete Prisco on Jaguars Monday"
Since trying to get pressure with 4 hasn’t been working, head coach Gus Bradley and defensive coordinator Bob Babich decided to dial up some more blitzes to manufacture pressure. It worked a few times, but the Jaguars still don’t have guys who blitz well along the front 7. They got home a few times, one of which resulted in a Telvin Smith sack-fumble, but they paid dearly when they didn’t get to Mariota. The most costly blitz resulted in an embarrassing touchdown run:
Gus Bradley tends to be reactionary when it comes to weekly adjustments, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Jaguars rely more on 3- and 4-man rushes again as they get ready to face the Indianapolis Colts.
They shouldn’t. They should blitz the hell out of the Colts.
Ride the offense. Rely on them. Send pressure and see if Matt Hasselbeck can handle it. He won’t beat you with his legs like Mariota will and their offensive line has been a mess. Take Clemons and Branch off the field, play Chris Smith and Ryan Davis more, and send blitzers.
The Jacksonville offense has proven they can keep up and score points if it turns into a shootout, but the Jaguars clearly need to press to make plays on defense. Don’t let one broken play against the fastest quarterback in the NFL keep you from using the only method that has resulted in interceptions and fumbles.