Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator faces a tough task of molding his roster with a younger team than he had just a season ago.
Besides the fact he is sticking to his belief in a 4-3 defense that was exposed many times during the 2019 season, he is being asked to teach his scheme to a young group of defenders who have had to learn in an unfamiliar environment as if it were a virtual school.
Wash, who also knows he is under fire as he begins the 2020 season after watching the defense crumble the past two years, will take things step by step, allowing for his players to ingest what they are being fed for the upcoming season.
Hopefully, the recipe for this defense will have a better flavor than the 6-10 team that could not stop the run and had trouble getting off the field many times last season.
“It’s a totally new roster on the defensive side,” Wash said via Jaguars.com.
That might not be an entirely bad thing as the old roster wasn’t stopping anyone and the issues off the field with player personnel slowly crept into the locker room, which is never a good thing. The change was needed and that is exactly what the front office did when general manager David Caldwell traded away key veterans, creating a new look on Wash’s side of the ball.
The veterans left on the roster must step forward. Part of the heavy lifting will fall on the shoulders of second-year pro, Josh Allen. New middle linebacker Joe Schobert will be asked to lighten the load a bit. It must be a total team effort if Wash is going to prove his doubters wrong, that the defense can work once more.
“The plan this offseason was to get young and to get real athletic, and I think we’ve done that,” Wash said.
It might be a curse and a blessing at the same time. The Jacksonville Jaguars defense could be the fastest it has been in some time. Being younger means being willing to have patience as the system comes to these players. The two first-round draft picks – cornerback C.J. Henderson and linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson – will also have to prove almost immediately how good they can be in a short amount of time.
Wash and the coaching staff expect them to have an impact once they get on the field.
The Jaguars were 12th in the NFL last year in points allowed with 24.8 per game. Considering the offense only managed 18.8 points a contest, that must improve. This team is three seasons removed from 2017, which has become the benchmark from which this unit, with only a few starters still on the roster, will be measured. It might not be fair, but it’s how this game evolves.
Wash’s plan is to keep the base of what has been the case for this team since he has been the team’s defensive coordinator. There will be some wrinkles of change, but the basics stay the same.