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Jaguars Defense Gets Pressure, Still No Sacks

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When I was watching the game on Friday, I joked with my friend that we might see another game where the Jaguars don't score a touchdown. I noted there was about 6 minutes left, and from what I could remember they'd be the only team to go a full 8 quarters and not get in the endzone. Luckily, Luke McCown dinked and dunked down the field for an easy touchdown. Then my friend said however, "Do they have a sack?"

No, no they don't.

While the Jaguars having no sacks yet looks bad, it's not really all that bad. If the defensive line had performed like they did against the New England Patriots in the first preseason game, then it might be time to hit the big red "OH NO" button. The Jaguars defensive line however, improved markedly against the Atlanta Falcons. There were two players who were notably disruptive all night while they played, defensive tackle Tyson Alualu and defensive end Jeremy Mincey. Both players were able to generate pressure in different ways. Alualu continuously beat his guy on the inside and would either make Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan rush his throw or flush him from the pocket. Mincey, who watched film on tackle Sam Baker, knew certain rush moves that gave Baker trouble.

Mincey was also lined up on the inside on some third downs, using his quickness to beat the guard and get pressure from the inside. I'm still not sure if Mincey will wind up the starting defensive end opposite Aaron Kampman, but in the Jaguars rotation is doesn't seem like it matters who the "starter" is. The defensive ends are rotated heavily.

Newly signed Matt Roth was able to blow up some running plays in the backfield and generate pressure from different positions. As I mentioned when Roth was signed, he was used a few times as a stand up linebacker in what looked like a variation of a 3-4 look. The defensive line would line up as a 3-man group with Austen Lane, Terrance Knighton, and Tyson Alualu as the down lineman. At linebacker, you had Matt Roth and Jeremy Mincey standing up, with Kyle Bosworth and Daryl Smith on the inside. On some plays, Smith would line up as the blitzing outside linebacker in the same look. This shouldn't be much of a surprise, I mentioned all summer with Mel Tucker the team would likely use some hybrid fronts with their defense to generate pressure.

For the time being, the team doesn't have any sacks yet but the positive sign is they're getting pressure. I've long said pressure is more valuable than sacks. Pressure leads to sacks. Pressure leads to rushed throws. Pressure leads to turnovers. Sacks are great, but consistent pressure on the quarterback is better.