Jaguars Defense Continues to Rank Among Best in the NFL
By David Levin
The Jacksonville Jaguars continue to boast a defense that is one of the best in the NFL through three games this season.
Abry Jones, the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle, told me during training camp this defense won’t be happy until it is recognized as the best in the NFL. So far, through three games, his words seem to prove prophetic.
The Jacksonville Jaguars defense continues to turn heads. It may not be perched atop the league’s rankings – yet – but the effort on the field is still amongst the best units in the NFL, so far.
"Per Jacksonville Jaguars public relations department and their weekly game release ahead of the team’s home game against the New York Jets, “The Jaguars defense continues to rank among the NFL’s best in several categories.”"
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As of writing this story, Jacksonville is amongst the leaders in total defense (fourth; 286.3 yards allowed per game), passing defense (third; 171.0 passing yards allowed per game), red zone defense (tied-first; allow TDs on 16.7 pct. of their opponents’ red zone drives) and third down defense (seventh; allow first down conversions on 31.5 pct. of their opponents’ third-down attempts).
For those of us (myself included at times) who have been critical of the 11 players who make up what was the second best defense in the NFL last season, I guess there is plenty of time to make believers out of the naysayers.
As a fan, I am learning that a total defensive effort does not always mean multiple sacks – which Calais Campbell had two of them this past weekend, or a defensive touchdown in every game, which Myles Jack had in Week 1 against the New York Giants. Third-year defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is playing some of his best football but has not registered a sack to date.
The loss on Sunday to Tennessee was difficult to take for many of the Jaguars. Ngakoue said when asked by the media how he felt about his improved play in run defense.
The former Maryland standout said it was still a loss that affects this team in the standings.
"“It’s good, but at the end of the day, we lost so none of that matters,” he said. “At the end of the day, we have to learn from this and come back next week.”"
Jacksonville does have seven sacks so far this season with Campbell leading the way with three. Linebacker Telvin Smith has 20 tackles so far.
Smith echoed the same sentiment after the loss on Sunday. The main objective, no matter how good the defense looked in holding the Titans to three field goals and
"“We wanted to win,” the Pro Bowl linebacker explained. “That was the number one goal. We didn’t do it. We didn’t get it accomplished. We wanted to make sure we showed them we could stop the run and towards the end they had couple of runs on us and they ended up getting a field goal on us on the last drive so we have some work to do..”"
The New York Jets come to town with a rookie quarterback in Sam Darnold and a running game that ran through the Jaguars last season. Bilal Powell ran for 163 yards while Elijah McGuire had 93 yards of his own.
It’s something the Jaguars will look to correct this week in preparation for Sunday’s matchup.
The Jaguars are 6-6 all-time against the Jets and look to gain their first home victory in the series since Oct. 8, 2006, a 41-0 win.