The Jacksonville Jaguars defense should be the center of attention on Sunday when the team hosts the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It’s hard not to look at the current state of the Jacksonville Jaguars linebacking corps and not be concerned about Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While Ronald Jones doesn’t strike fear in terms of being one of the elite running backs in the NFL, the last thing this defense needs to do is send their opponent home was another 200 yards rushing under its belt.
"“We just have to do a better job of executing, and then when we get in position to make plays, we have to make plays,” defensive coordinator Todd Wash said when he spoke with members of the media on Wednesday."
The biggest issue facing the Jaguars is protection over the middle and working through injuries that have besieged this team this season. Wash and his staff have had to deal with several injuries this season and will continue to do so this week as well.
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If middle linebacker Myles Jack cannot play tomorrow, it creates an even bigger hole than the one the team faces at the moment. Jack, who still looks to be playing at a position, was listed as questionable for today’s game. Even with the possibility of the Jaguars having to play without Jack or Ronnie Harrison, who has been ruled out with a concussion, his players must still perform at a high level.
"“To me, it’s not an excuse. We have to go out, we have to play better, and we have to coach better regardless of the 11 that are on the grass,” he said."
On a positive note, the team did announce on Saturday that linebacker Jake Ryan has been added to the 53-man roster, which means he could see action for the first time this season against the team’s in-state rival.
What concerns me even more than potentially the state of the linebacking unit, is the secondary. Harrison has been a much better player in his second season and looks like a budding star. Andrew Wingard may see his first start of the season as a result. Wingard got his feet wet in a “trial by fire“ situation when Harrison went down last week. The Buccaneers defense should target him early and often.
While the wide receivers Tampa Bay possesses are dangerous, playing against Inexperienced Wingard could mean trouble for Jaguars last line of defense.
Also, with the chunks of yardage given up the past three games, the loss of Marcell Dareus continues to prove costly for this front seven. Wash talked about if again on Wednesday.
"“We went out and got Marcell [Dareus] two years ago to really sturdy up our run defense,” Wash said. “He came in, and he’s done a really nice job. When he played earlier in the year, he wasn’t a great disrupter of the quarterback, but he did a nice job of stopping the run for us.“So, obviously he’s missed, but at the same time, it’s next man up and we have to be able to obviously play better and stop the run.”"