FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 11: Stevan Ridley #22 of the New England Patriots scores a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second half of a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
On Thursday night, Jacksonville Jaguars fans got to see their new look defense after free agency on the field in live action. It was a mix of both good and bad. The first defensive unit wound up forcing three fumbles, recovering one, and didn't really allow the Patriots to do a ton offensively... at least early on.Much of what plagued the Jaguars poor defense during the 2010 NFL season looked to still be plaguing them on Thursday night. While new additions like Clint Session flashed what the team like, big hitting ability forcing two fumbles, others like Paul Posluszny had a few cringe worth plays blowing a coverage. Some of that is new players adjusting to the new scheme and having been only in practice for a week, but some if it is a real issue.
For instance, the play where Posluszny blew the coverage on a long pass to tight end Aaron Hernandez looked mostly like Posluszny was confused on his coverage for the play, so it was adjusting to the new scheme. The problem is however, is Posluszny isn't great in coverage unless it's a short small area. He's going to get beat often if his asked to cover a deep zone, like it looked like he was responsible for in that instance.
I thought the safety play overall was just OK. Landry looked fine, Greene was out of position on a play, but for the most part it wasn't the trainwreck it was last season. Well, at least until Don Carey was on the field getting truck-sticked. Rashean Mathis played just fine, as he has all camp, but despite forcing a fumble David Jones was still... David Jones.
The biggest concern still however, was on the defensive line and the lack of pressure. From what I can recall, the only player who really got any pressure was Aaron Morgan. He got pressure on a nice inside move and made Brian Hoyer get the ball out, but that was it. Training camp all-star Austen Lane was completely shut down in the game, posting the "Derrick Harvey Special" on the stat sheet. Rookie right tackle Nate Solder shut him down. Jeremy Mincey got a little pressure off the edge, but like Lane he was stonewalled much of the night. The line was without starters Aaron Kampman, Terrance Knight, and new addition Matt Roth, but we've seen some of these players in camp have good days.
On the interior line, the only player I thought had a good game was Tyson Alualu, who looked like he has all camp, on the verge of being a dominant defensive tackle. D'Anthony Smith, who's coming back from an Achilles injury, seemed to lack explosion he had as a college player, but that's to be expected off an Achilles injury. Veterans C.J. Mosely and Leger Douzable got pushed around and didn't do a whole lot.
It was only the first preseason game, so a lot of this stuff is just kinks being worked out with the lack of contact. Well.. hopefully it gets worked out.