Jaguars defense looks to get its swagger back in 2019

Calais Campbell, Jacksonville Jaguars. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Calais Campbell, Jacksonville Jaguars. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

By adding Dom Capers to the defensive coaching staff the Jacksonville Jaguars have taken a huge step toward getting their swagger back in 2019.

Last week I said signing pick up Calais Campbell’s option for 2019 was the biggest offseason move the Jacksonville Jaguars would make. I might have been wrong in my comments. If the addition of Dom Capers to the team’s defensive coaching staff helps get this team’s swagger back, then the 31-year NFL coach will have taken the place of Campbell as this offseason’s biggest move.

Forget signing a quarterback for right this moment. Forget the NFL Draft. Forget the idea of several veterans being released to free cap space. If Capers, who was the team’s defensive coordinator from 1999-2000, can find the magic elixir that can carry this franchise back to the playoffs, he will have done his job and then some.

The Jaguars already have a core of players to build this defense around in Campbell, Jalen Ramsey, Yannick Ngakoue and possibly Telvin Smith and Myles Jack. Capers’ knowledge, along with defensive coordinator Tod Wash’s scheme, could mean this defense reaches the lofty perch of being the best in the NFL that was set as a goal in 2018.

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The move to bring Capers in is just as important for Wash as it is for anyone else.

"“Wash doesn’t need Capers to be a micro-manager. But if the former Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator (2009-17) can provide valuable input on bringing more creativity to how the Jaguars attack offenses, it’ll be worth whatever the team is paying Capers,” write Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union."

“The 2018 defense might have been top-five in yards and points allowed, but its impact as an NFL force took a significant dip from the previous year. The Jaguars had 18 less sacks and 16 less turnovers.”

This year’s defense will look different, with as many as five starting spots open before free agency. While the focus has been on the offense and lack of productivity, the Jaguars must find and balance and plug in players who can pick up Wash’s scheme and contribute right away.

That’s why this year’s free agent class is as important as ever if the Jaguars want to make another run toward the playoffs and possibly a Super Bowl berth in Miami.

Expect Wash to continue to use the same scheme on defense with some changes that play toward his players’ strengths. Also, look for him to count on Capers’ as a sounding board for advice.

I really like the addition of Capers, who coached during arguably the most successful time in Jaguars history. Should he be able to help recapture the dominance of the 2017 season, this defense will have gotten its swagger back.

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And with it, 30 other NFL teams will once again be wary of how outstanding this Jaguars defense is.