Jacksonville Jaguars: Todd Wash must adjust his defense to fit his personnel
The changes the Jacksonville Jaguars defense will make in 2020 will once again place coordinator Todd Wash under a large microscope this season.
Can Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash make the necessary adjustments to suit his players? Is he able to make changes during games when his defense is not working? How will the changes that will be implemented make the defense better in 2020?
There are two types of coaches. One will adjust his philosophy to suit his players and the other will put players into situations that don’t match their skill set because that is HIS philosophy. In other words, some put a round peg in a round hole and others try to force a square peg into a round hole.
Sadly, Wash has been the square peg guy. One example is his insistence that Myles Jack play middle linebacker for not one but two years even though he was obviously not suited for that position. Jack was an All-Pro caliber outside linebacker and very good at that position. Another example was his inability to change philosophy during the Jaguars’ AFC title game against the New England Patriots.
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We watched with horror as the Patriots easily drove down the field against a prevent-style defense with no adjustments. (By the way, Myles Jack wasn’t down!)
A new year and a new chance. Wash has the opportunity to grow as a coach and become more flexible. He will have a wonderful role model on the offensive side in Jay Gruden who knows how to suit the scheme to fit the players. Wash has proven to be successful when he has high-level personnel that matches up to his style. Now he has a chance to be successful with a style that suits his personnel. The big question is, can he do this?
Wash came to the Jacksonville Jaguars with Gus Bradley and is a strong proponent of the Bradley-style of defense. It proved to be successful in Seattle a few years ago with the proper personnel to make it work. It was successful for the Jaguars in 2017 and to some extent in 2018 but the wheels came off the bus soon thereafter. Even in the glory days of 2017, there were inexplicable lapses in stopping the run and allowing teams to score with ease due to a lack of adjustments.
Back in February, I wrote about Wash and his defense and it needed to be fixed.
"“The players who work in this scheme must be fast athletic linebackers, dynamic edge rushers, great aggressive cornerbacks, and a safety who covers the field… This is called a 4-2-4 defense (4 defensive linemen, two linebackers, and 5 defensive backs) but can be played as a 4-3-4 defense as well.”"
We just don’t have that group now.
The Jaguars are amassing the talent to play a 3-4-4 defense. In fact, many draft choices and free agents were on the defensive side of the ball this offseason. The team now has two very dynamic edge rushers in Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson and possibly Yannick Ngakoue as a third.
They are all capable of playing linebacker or defensive end. This allows the Jacksonville Jaguars to have two linebackers in the middle backing up the three-down linemen to defend the run. A linebacker and defensive back are lined up wide on each side of the line and can collapse to the middle or defend against receivers and wide running plays.
Jack will be ideal in this system back at his outside linebacker position. The Jaguars don’t have the ideal personnel yet but are working toward that goal.
The Jaguars will be capable of playing a 3-4 or 4-3 defense depending on the opposing team’s offensive scheme and talent. Fans can only hope that Wash will embrace this opportunity to run a dynamic defense suited to his players and the opposition.