Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash gets a second change with the Jags following a strong year at the helm of a defense that was historically bad before.
Bob Babich was a yes-man for former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley. He was there to implement the near-carbon copy of the Seattle Seahawks defense that Bradley wanted to make.
Nevermind that the talent on the Jags roster was nowhere near the Seahawks. Nevermind that forcing the system on the Jags resulted in three of the six worst defensive seasons in franchise history. Bradley wanted a specific defense and Babich was the yes-man to implement it. Fortunately the results were so bad that Bradley had to dismiss Babich.
Elevating defensive line coach Todd Wash before the 2016 season was one of the few smart things that Bradley did during his tenure as head coach. Wash took a team with plenty of talent (which also received big free agent and draft infusions) and successfully tweaked Bradley’s defense to be successful. In 2016 the Jags had the sixth-best defense in yards allowed.
The points were still coming in droves (25th in the NFL) but the Jags were finally able to limit opponents with a stout defense. Mistakes on special teams and offense and the occasional big play were the true Achilles heel of the team, but the defense as a whole was sound.
Based on the significant growth the Jags showed under Wash, it was clear he should strongly be considered as the defensive coordinator going forward. Newly minted head coach Doug Marrone and executive vice president Tom Coughlin agreed, bringing Wash back.
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This may not have been a sexy hire – especially in light of Bradley’s terrible defensive scheme that Wash was implementing – but it is a prudent one. The 2016 Jacksonville Jaguars defense was the best the team had seen in years and Wash’s relationship with the players could yield better results with more tweaks rather than an outright overhaul.
For those worried about continuing Bradley’s disastrous “Seattle South” experiment, it has been indicated from Coughlin’s words that Wash will be changing things around, saying, “Todd will bring his own ideas and changes to our defensive unit and will make this a strength of our team going forward.”
If Wash can bring more good ideas to a defense that desperately needs them, building off of 2016, then this may be one of the better underrated hires for the Jags this offseason. It certainly wasn’t sexy, but it has some logic to it. Tweaks of a strong defense may have bigger rewards than the wholesale change of a defense that has talent added to it for some specific roles.