The past two weeks the Jacksonville Jaguars have won games passing the football only 41 times, total. The Jaguars had the benefit of going against the Colts and the Bills, two teams who struggle at stopping the run.
Monday night the Tennessee Titans come to town.
They're 11th in the NFL currently at stopping the run.
The Jaguars are currently 4th in the NFL rushing the football. This should come to no surprise, as they've been predominantly run heavy in most of their games. They've got three capable runningbacks in Maurice Jones-Drew, Rashad Jennings, and a healthy Deji Karim now. They've won their games the last two weeks with a simple game plan.
Pound the football, and it worked.
I'm not so sure it's going to work on Monday Night Football.
The Titans are a divisional rival and they know what to do and what to expect. Jeff Fisher knows to stop the Jaguars offense, he's going to have to force David Garrard to beat them. The past two weeks, Garrard's been given a simple game plan that he's executed virtually flawlessly.
End-arounds and options likely won't work on Monday, however.
Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is going to have to work with Garrard to form a game plan passing the football to keep the Titans honest on defense. There is an issue with that direction however, the Titans have the 5th best passing defense in the league. David Garrard hasn't fared well this season when he's been asked to do a lot in the passing game, but he'll need to do that this week.
If I were Dirk Koetter, I'd work in plenty of 3-wide looks and speed the tempo up. This is going to sound like a backhanded compliment because in a way it is, but Garrard is much better passing the football when he's not required to think. When he runs an uptempo almost no huddle offense, he's very efficient. Currently in a 3-wide set, David Garrard has a QB rating of 91.1 and a rating in 4-wide of 106.3. In the shotgun he's got a rating of 95.6.
So, what's that tell me?
Spread them out.
The Jaguars can spread the Titans out by flexing guys like Zach Miller and Marcedes Lewis off the line. They also have the runningbacks who can do damage catching out of the backfield and run out of a shotgun set.
Monday Night will be a very trying night for the Jaguars offense, and should be able to give us a good gauge of exactly where they're at.
I gaffed and didn't change the sorting. The Titans are 27th against the pass, not 5th. They were 5th because of how I had it sorted, which was 32-1 instead of 1-32. I'll do another write up today/Friday correcting this since I wrote this on the thought they were 5th in passing. Apologies.