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Rebuilding the Jaguars: Defense is the Priority

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Well, now that all is said and done with Jack Del Rio and the excessive rumor-mongering that came with it, let's take a much needed break and do what we're all here to do, talk football. What it means to be a playoff football team, in particular, a successful one.

Getting into the playoffs is something that any team can accomplish if the schedule allows them to do so, but winning in the playoffs takes a special kind of team. A team that can play well in more than one aspect of the game. Looking at the defensive and offensive rankings of this year's playoff teams, we can make conclusions as to where the Jaguars need to be moving towards this offseason.

Although the NFL has gone towards a more wide-open game in recent years, with more points being scored through the passing game than ever before, a balanced defense is still more important than a balanced offense to get to the postseason. No team in the bottom eight in rushing defense and no team in the bottom six in passing defense made the playoffs this season.

Compare this to the offenses and the differences are obvious. A balanced offense is not necessary if one aspect of your offense can carry the team to success. The #1 ranked rush offense of the Jets counterbalanced the #31 ranked pass offense. The Colts and Chargers used their #2 and #5 ranked pass offenses, respectively, to carry their league worst #32 and #31 rushing offenses, respectively, into the postseason.

The first thought that comes to my mind is that perhaps these teams have low numbers because they rely heavily on the strength of their offense and abandon the weakness, so the numbers are further deflated, but it isn't so. The Chargers earned 3.3 yards per rush while the Colts managed 3.5. Still #31 and #32 in the league.

The defenses, on the other hand, need to be balanced and the correlation is logical. if one area of a defense is bad, the other aspect of the defense does not get the opportunity to carry it because opposing offenses will attack the weakness.

So how does this relate to the Jaguars? The Jaguars need to bolster their defense drastically. Offensively, the Jaguars are not far from having a dominant run game that can carry the passing offense. The rushing attack of the Jaguars ranked 10th in the league in yards per game and 5th in the league in yards per attempt. An interior linemen or two could be all that is needed to bring back the strong, power rushing game of years past. But until a defense is added the Jaguars will remain on the outside looking in.

-Adam Stites

(On a side note, get those votes in for Clicks for Cans. We can still pull out some 18-0 magic.)