Is the Jacksonville Jaguars defense better than it was in 2018? We are soon going to find out.
The Jacksonville Jaguars had a top-five defense last year despite a 5-11 record. It was evident, despite the lofty ranking, this was a unit that slipped a bit from its dominance two seasons ago.
Russell Baxter of FanSided.com agrees with this assessment. In his most recent rankings of NFL defenses, he sees the Jaguars unit just cracking the top 10 before the beginning of the 2019 season.
Maybe that number 10 ranking will provide some bulletin board material, as Baxter points out the obvious – numbers don’t lie in stating how this defense wasn’t the dominant juggernaut as it was in 2017.
"“The unit that was the main cog in the team’s playoff run one year earlier slipped a bit in certain aspects. While the Jaguars were still able to pressure the passer, the numbers dipped a bit,” Baxter explains.More from Jacksonville Jaguars NewsJacksonville Jaguars should welcome Derrick Henry into the kingdomJaguars Rumors: Trent Baalke seems to be getting respect nowJaguars News: This division rival might be making a big moveFormer Jacksonville Jaguars S Johnathan Cyprien: “New Profession, Same Standards”Jacksonville Jaguars TE Evan Engram officially gets the franchise tag: 3 takeaways“After rolling up an impressive 55 sacks in 2017, Jacksonville defenders managed just 37 quarterback traps. Conversely, Doug Marrone’s team wasn’t nearly as opportunistic in ’18 as the team saw its takeaway total drop from 33 in 2017 to just 17. Meanwhile, this unit continued to have its issues vs. the run, allowing 116.9 yards per game on the ground.”"
Those are areas defensive coordinator Todd Wash and his staff have looked to address this offseason and in training camp.
The team has made some changes to its roster, releasing both Tashaun Gibson and Malik Jackson after the season, but added Josh Allen to the pass rush. Many regarded the former Kentucky All-American one of the best defensive prospects in the NFL draft and potentially the best player on the board. We don’t need to go into specifics and rehash how it’s a blessing that he slipped to No. 7 in the draft where the Jaguars grabbed him.
After watching Allen and his first-half performance against Miami Dolphins last week, it looks like that’s just a sample size of how good he could be in Jacksonville’s system.
The team still has a number of very good players on the roster from last year, with Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue and Jalen Ramsey all leading the charge. It will be interesting to see whether A.J. Bouye can return to his Pro Bowl form from 2017.
"“This defense obviously fell off in numerous categories a year ago after a big-play showing in 2017. But if the Jaguars are to really take the next step when it comes to this side of the ball, the team has to be much more efficient when it comes to handling the run,” Baxter adds.“In a division that has a few teams that like to stress the ground attack, the Jaguars need to up this part of their game. All of those sacks mean little when the running back has the ball.”"