We all would have liked to come out with a win this past Sunday, but there isn't much time for a bad taste in our mouths. We've got the Colts and Peyton's forehead to contend with in a mere 48 hours from now. The game is sold out, Mathis and Big John should be back, and this is a great team to get the run game going again.
What I took away from this game was that the defense is squarely Del Rio's. We all said at the beginning of the season, that we had to see the Defense play well, or it was an indictment of Del Rio's ability. He came out and basically said, "I'm a defensive coach, and I am going to take a more hands on approach."
Well, thirteen games into the season, we're seeing what a year of coaching-up by Jack has done. Let's look at what he's had to deal with while re-crafting this defense.
- As many as ten new players have seen some kind of playing time on defense this year. R. Allen, G. Peterson, D. Cox, T-brack, "Pot Roast", M. Stanley and A. Ellison, J. Williams, G. Alexander, and S. Considine (Yes, I know some were acquired late last season, but none saw action in any games)
- He's done it with no-names, UDFAs, and cast-offs from other teams.
- He's had to deal with trying to craft a defense to fit his personnel, while losing critical cogs, for long durations.
The defense against the Dolphins was without its two best players, Mathis and Hen. However, they still managed to play solid and disciplined football. No big runs were allowed by the defense, as there were no breakdowns. Tackling was much improved, and we saw very few YAC, especially by the WR's. Top it off with the fact that there were so few penalties. The game smacked of disciplined play by the defense.This is encouraging for such a young squad, and is something seen typically only when dealing with seasoned vets.
The defense played very well given the circumstances. They stopped the Dolphins on their first drive, forcing a punt. The offense responded by going three-and-out and putting the defense back on the field, sans rest. The Dolphins took their next drive down the field and scored a TD. Think the defense might have played a little better with a few minutes respite? The Jaguars got the ball back, and went three-and-out again, forcing the defense back on the field yet again. The Jaguars came back out in the second-half, and proceeded to play lights-out defense, forcing turnovers, sacking the QB, and shutting-out the Dolphins in the second and third quarters.
There is a lot to build on as we head towards the final home game of the season, and I for one, am glad we stuck with Del RIo. The patience is paying off, and our defense is slowly returning to prominence.