While watching the CBS Jaguars show last night, Jeff Lageman discussed some of the defensive break downs that lead to the successful running attack the Texans had. It concerned me, and made me question if this was a player or a coaching problem.
On about three occasions, Jeff used his big screen to show where the defense had lined up in the wrong spot, almost killing any chance of success in stopping the play. The trouble seemed to be more focused on the linebackers and the secondary than the front 4, which supports the general consensus that those two areas remain problems for the Jags defense. The question that popped into my mind was who's fault it was that our defense was not lined up properly.
I am not a big fan of the Head Coach having any coordinators responsibility. Both positions are a full time job, and the direction of the position coaches is the coordinators task. These position coaches should work with the players to identify the various looks they will see, and how to line up against those looks. Its back to the old adage of Jack (no pun intended) of all, master of none. For this very reason, I applaud Wayne Weaver's decision to take the DC responsibility off of Jack, but do not know that Mel Tucker is the answer. I might suggest that we shop around for some help there.
It is not entirely the responsibility of the coaches though. As embarrassing as this is for me to say, my biggest downfall while playing o-line in college was not recognizing the different defenses, and thus, not making the correct blocks all the time. Many of my team mates did not have this problem. That being said, obviously the information was made available to us players to know what we were to do. My guess is others just put a more time into their personal mental preparation. I question if some of our players on both sides of the ball need to take a long look in the mirror and assess if they are mentally preparing as well as they are physically preparing. I do not think that it is the coaches responsibility to force players to do this, but I do think this personal prep can make all the difference in the outcome of the season.
I am happy Mr. Weaver decided to keep Jack around for one more year. I do see the Jags as a team on the rise, and I think the playoffs are a definite possibility next season, but the team needs to get much better. The Titans will fix their problems at coach / QB, and probably not be afflicted by the terminal disease know as Randy Moss. The Texans have already parted ways with their DC, so I would assume they will have some improvement on that side of the ball. Mix that with the potential the Houston offense has, and they could be very tough. And finally, the Colts will undoubtedly be more healthy next year. The only plus will be that Peyton, and many of the star players, will be that one year older, and one more year past their prime. I am sure they will still be in contention for the division.
Last year Wayne Weaver made a direct challenge to David Garrard to improve his personal preparation. Some, like myself, saw a QB that, when healthy, seemed to be a better player and team leader than in 2009. Others may disagree. I would like to see Mr. Weaver make the same challenge of the coaches and players for this year. They all need to look inside and really decide if they have done everything they could, both physically, but even more importantly, mentally, to get ready for 2011. My guess is that they will all find room for improvement, and with out that improvement, we will be in the same place next year. I think Wayne made it clear that will not be acceptable, and I agree!