All throughout the off-season, pre-season, and first four games of the regular season, probably the most common thing typed by me was "the defense is fine". I truly believed it, and for a while, it seemed like most others on this blog did as well. Times were good, the arrow on the Jags was pointing up, and the defense would just develop as time went on. We had an average defensive line, sure, but not all that many teams have great ones, and they still get success, right? We have a supposed "pro bowl" group of linebackers, and if you have great linebackers, your defense jumps at least two letter grades, right? And our secondary sure has a lot of talent. If you have a good secondary your going to be hard to pass against, right?
Myself and others who I had persuaded found out on Sunday, that we were... well, just wrong.
Flat out wrong, and nobody, those who agreed or disagreed with me about the defense, can argue this point with me. On Sunday the defense showed me something I haven't seen in person in a long time. And that is epic failure. Failure so epic, maybe someday they'll show a picture from that game and make one of those "epic failure" posters out of it like that shown above. I'm not too sure which picture they will use. Maybe they'll use a pic of the anemic pass rush rushing six men but being held up by five offensive linemen, three of them backups, one of those backups being a third stringer. Maybe they'll use Rashean Mathis two hand touching Nate Burleson, a receiver, as Gerald Alexander, who is playing strong safety by the way, getting run over by said receiver. Maybe they'll use Brian Iwuh laying out for a pick, only to tip it to tight end John Carlson for the first down. Maybe they'll use one of those three touchdowns Rashean gave up to a slow Houshmanzadeh over the top. I just realized something, they have a hell of a lot of photos to chose from.
The defensive line was just flat out sorry against the pass. They held the run up okay, not allowing any of those stable of backs to run the ball consistently. Against the pass, they were horrid. They couldn't collapse the pocket against a patchwork offensive line, and several times they broke contain allowing Hassellbeck to run for positive yardage. Something or somebody needs to change along here, because what we have right now isn't working. Gene needs to take a good look at this unit.
While the line as a whole performed putrid, I have to give a shout out to Derek Landri. He was all over the field, and the only playmaker on defense. He got a sack, and several times got great penetration into the backfield on running downs.
The linebackers weren't horrible, but damn close. When the rest of the defense isn't performing, it is usually the linebackers who are looked up to for leadership and plays. As a unit, this group did nothing of the sort. Seattle ate the middle, short section of the field alive. Dink and dunk was the gameplan, and boy did they pull it off. The tackling out of this group was nothing to write home about, the pass rush was non-existent, and pass coverage was mediocre to say the least. Justin Durant was injured, but the group should be able to overcome one injury and perform. I love this teams linebackers, but they did nothing but disappoint.
Nobody in this group really deserves a shout out. None of them were horrible, but none of them could get to the quarterback, make a play on the ball, or tackle in the open field.
The secondary was, well, let me find another word. Okay, unacceptable. Rashean Mathis probably turned in his worst game as a pro, giving up three touchdown passes and who knows how many yards. Derek Cox was picked on, as usual, all game. Brian Russell was out of position, and Gerald Alexander didn't play with the authority I would want my strong safety to play with. I'm going to stop talking about this unit before I get myself into trouble.
A shout out, while a very small one, has to go to Reggie Nelson. He appeared to be the only secondary member who could actually see the ball. He made a few plays on the rock, breaking up two passes, and seemed to play well at corner. I have to wonder if moving him to second corner and Cox to nickel wouldn't be a bad idea.
I tried to control my anger here and find some positives. But truth be told, there just weren't all that many. I've kind of come to that point were I have surpassed any looking at the bright side I had left in me. It's obvious the whole draft next season needs to go to the defense, unless somebody breaks out in the second half of the season. I really can't express how much of a letdown this game was for me. I thought this team had a sliver of playoff potential, but I was proved wrong. For the rest of the season I refuse to allow myself to believe that an upcoming game will be an easy one. I'm worried as hell about St. Louis next week, and I'm not giving us a W against the Browns just yet either.
Thanks Jags, I look up to you all at my young age. But what I saw was quit and unacceptable play for NFL players. Thanks for ruining my weekend with this horrid game. Obviously we have some players who aren't who we thought they were.