The Jacksonville Jaguars have a new defensive scheme and for the most part an entirely new set of players across the defensive line. Even the old players coming back have new roles, which has led to some confusion on what player roles actually are, such as Tyson Alualu at defensive end.
Jaguars defensive line coach Todd Wash joined The Bold City Football show on Wednesday evening to talk a little bit about the new positions, roles and some of the players along the defensive line.
A lot of people don't understand the five-technique end role, can you explain what you expect out of that position?
A five-technique lines up on the outside shade of the tackle and it will always be in our defense, when he lines up on the offensive tackle he will also be to the tight end side, which is usually a run surface. We need a bigger, stronger guy who can take on the double-team, set the edge on the defense and also give us a little bit of pass rush. We're not asking for a lot of pass rush on first and second down.
This system that Gus [Bradley] and I have been a part of for the last couple of years, he's more of a run stopper on first and second down and then if he's able to he moves inside is where we get the pass rush. But, he's a guy who's got to be able to beat a tackle in the run game one-on-one and just be physical at the point of attack. Obviously Tyson does that, he's 300-some odd pounds, plays with great pad level and has good length so he can give those tight ends and tackles some real issues in the run game on first and second down.
Is Tyson Alualu's build and size going to be something that's difficult for offensive tackles to handle?
That and not only for us will he line up as a five-technique but he'll line head up on a tight end and he plays with such good pad level it's hard for them to move him. He's very, very strong handed. He plays a lot bigger than he is. Some people weigh 320 pounds and play like they're 285, whereas Tyson is about 305, 310 and he plays like he's about 330 just because he's so strong handed and plays with good knee bend. His physical attributes really help him out in this position.
Does Tyson Alualu have some of the best hands out of all the defensive lineman?
There's no doubt. He can get them from the ground up to the chest plate of an offensive lineman very quickly, and what he does so well is his hands are real tight. Very seldom do you see him on the outside and parts of the shoulder pad, he usually wins the inside hand battle and he has to. He plays with such good hands and how tight they are, he can control and offensive lineman. He is one of the best guys with the hands we have upfront, you bet.
What has Sen'Derrick Marks been able to do that has allowed him to give interior lineman fits?
With him, he has the ability to get on the edge of the guard, he's got really good short space quickness, so he can get right on the edge of the guard and that causes some trouble inside. So then he'll start getting some soft sets so they can cut the edge off and then he can come with power. We were very surprised when we got him, we didn't see the physical skills, the short space quickness on tape at Tennessee, we saw a run stopper. Once he got here getting in his position as a three-technique, he can't be wrong on what he does in the pass rush. That's the way our system is built and his physical skills give these guards some issues in the pass game and run game.
What are some things T.J. Barnes has done and what does he need to improve upon to get more snaps?
Right now, T.J. just has some issues with his footwork and that kind of stuff because the game was just so fast for him compared to where he came from. He's slowly getting better, but once he gets his hands on another guy it's tough for them to move him and he does a tremendous job once we get into our 3-4 concepts of playing people head up and that kind of stuff, they just can't move him. So we're slowly working on his foot quickness so he can play that zone scheme we're starting to see a lot of. That's the area he needs to improve on, but he's getting better and better every day and you'll see some more flashes of him this weekend.
Do we have something with Paul Hazel, or is it smoke and mirrors?
I think we definitely have something. He's obviously still extremely raw coming from Western Michigan and right now he's a pass rush specialist only. He struggles a little bit in the run game, but that's because he is 230-pounds. He really fits that LEO position for us, where we line him with width and he uses his speed. He understands his leverage on these offensive tackles, he sets them up with speed and he comes back with his speed to bull rush that's been very effective so far in camp. We just gotta get that consistency out of him, he's still thinking a lot, but he has a great burst, understands how to get on an edge and the biggest thing we've seen like you've seen is he can come to power and he is explosive. He comes out of his hips and he's very long, he can explode right down the middle of someone and put them on their back in a pass rush drill. We're very excited to see him develop through training camp.
Andre Branch looks the part, what are some of the things you're trying to work on with him?
He's got a great first step, he plays with his length really well and he's physical. The first thing is he's got good speed and that's what we're looking for at the LEO position, to get to the edge on these offensive tackles. You're seeing him get better every day, as you see his development and stuff. He's kind of a one trick pony where we're trying to get him so he has a variety of moves, and once you play against an offensive lineman over and over a bunch of times our offensive lineman are figuring him out. He's still doing a good job of still trying to put stuff in his tool box to allow him to rush consistently better. We've seen the strides, we're excited to see him against more competition this weekend. He didn't have a lot of ops this last week, he either had the turn to or he got chipped as the game went on, but I think this week is going to be a real good evaluation to see exactly where he's at and we're excited to see him be productive.