The Jaguars are making changes to their defense ahead of the game on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard an NFL coach talk about “calming things down” this late in the season because the personnel he is working with has changed so much. That was the message Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash delivered when he spoke with the media Thursday afternoon at TIAA Bank Field.
As the Jaguars prepare to face the Oakland Raiders this Sunday on the West Coast, the roster is still adjusting to change. Injuries have played a huge part in how porous the defense has been this year, most notably in the middle of the field with the team’s linebackers.
"“If we get too creative, we ain’t going to execute,” Wash said. “You almost have to go the other way and try to calm their world down as much as you can.”"
The Jaguars face running back Josh Jacobs, who returns to action. The rookie has run for 1,061 yards for the season, and the Jaguars during their five-game losing streak have allowed opposing offenses to run right through them.
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It could be a long afternoon if Wash’s defenders fail to tackle effectively.
The staff here at black and teal had a chance to talk with the staff at Just Blog Baby, the website on FanSided.com that is dedicated to everything about the Oakland Raiders. Here is what they had to say about Sunday’s game.
What have been your impressions of this season so far? What has been better than expected?
I believe the Raiders season has been better than expected for sure, as they got started off on a bad note with the whole Antonio Brown thing through the preseason, and right before the regular season kicked off. He was supposed to play a big role in this offense, and based on the fact we still do not have a true WR1, his loss has been a bit devastating for Derek Carr and this Raiders offense.
Still, it has been a great year in terms of where the franchise is headed, as the rookie class has been excellent, led by running back Josh Jacobs and defensive end Maxx Crosby. These are the guys who are going to be the faces of the franchise heading into Las Vegas, so to be hovering around eight wins after a four-win season with a ton of new faces is definitely encouraging entering the final few weeks of the season.
Will the Raiders focus more on the run this week than the past in trying to beat the Jaguars?
That is a hard question to answer, as we still do not know whether or not Josh Jacobs will be available on Sunday. The smart money is that no matter who is at running back, we should attack the Jaguars defense via the run, as it is one of the worst units in all of football, allowing over 140 yards per game.
Then you look at last week, where the Jaguars were absolutely shredded by Philip Rivers and that Los Angeles Chargers offense. I think the Raiders will be able to move the ball on the ground, and through the air against Jacksonville, but our issue is whether or not we will be able to get any stops against your offense, as our defense has been atrocious in recent weeks.
Assess Derek Carr’s performance this season?
I think Derek Carr has been fine all season long, as he has had to play without a true WR1, and has had basically a new set of wide receivers all season long. Carr is a guy that I believe will be the starter when the team heads to Las Vegas next season, as he has put up good statistics, and is still regarded as the leader of this franchise.
Carr has had some head-scratching moments this season, that is for sure, but he is still an above-average quarterback, and far from the Raiders biggest concern heading into the offseason. He has made it work with little weapons in the passing game outside of tight end Darren Waller all season long.
Who has been the biggest surprise on your roster?
I think the biggest surprise on this roster has been rookie defensive end Maxx Crosby. This is a guy that the Raiders took in the fourth round out of Eastern Michigan this past draft, and he has been nothing short of fantastic all season long. Whether he is racking up sacks, or just getting pressure, he is a guy who has been consistent from Day 1 at the NFL level.
Crosby was the second defensive end the Raiders took in the 2019 NFL Draft, behind fourth overall selection Clelin Ferrell. Oakland has used Ferrell in a number of different roles this season, and he does not have the stats Crosby has, but he has been solid as of late. Overall, these are two bookends that have improved this pass rush, which was the worst in football last season.
The Raiders win on Sunday if….
The Raiders can win on Sunday if they can actually get some stops on the defensive side of the ball. Last weekend, the Tennessee Titans were able to do whatever they wanted to against us, as they eclipsed the 500-yard mark, and put up 42 points. While the Jaguars offense is not great, neither is our defense.
Oakland also has the advantage of playing in from of the Bay Area faithful for the last time, so you can expect the Coliseum to be rocking this Sunday against the Jaguars. Despite the losses, this is a very proud franchise and fan base, and I expect the team to play well inside their building, as they have for most of the 2019 season.