This is the third time I have plunged into Davon House's game film on this website. The first instance arrived at the same time House did. I used House's Green Bay film to illuminate the impact he might have on the Jaguars' young secondary.
The second article dropped when House was dropped from the starting lineup. I wrote about Davon's up-and-down performance against the Houston Texans, as well as my own argument against his benching.
As I prepare to submerge myself for a third time, I'm relieved that this opportunity arrives on the tail of a two-interception performance against QB Joe Flacco and the Ravens. Prior to his two takeaways on Sunday, House had increased his season total of passes defended to 14 -- his career best -- but still sat at zero interceptions on the year.
Then, House climbed over the hump in a big way.
With a double dip in the takeaway column, House became the first Jaguar in over five years to snatch two interceptions in a single game. House also became the only player in franchise history grab two picks and eight-plus tackles on a single Sunday.
Watching the TV broadcast, it seemed like House was everywhere at once. The 2-6 Ravens never really strayed from their initial pass-heavy game plan. They kept pushing deep, even with a suspect receiving core.
The All-22 camera angle exposes a lot of areas where House was able to take advantage of this passing attack on Sunday. Likewise, the film reveals a few situations where House fell victim to his own aggressive demeanor.
I'm going to take a look at both. Let's start from the top.
House's two interceptions didn't arrive until the third quarter, but he almost stole one on the Ravens' opening drive. This is a great play to break into -- it reveals quite a bit about the importance of trust and synchronization within a defensive scheme. House (red) is matched up with Ravens' WR Kamar Aiken (yellow). Aiken's route is drawn out.
At the snap, House pushes Aiken's route towards the middle of the field. This is how the Jaguars operate -- the cornerbacks funnel receivers towards the safety help overhead in order to maintain outside leverage. The following frames illustrate why this positioning is advantageous.
Fifteen yards down the route, Aiken tries his best to pull House with a slight fade outside. House, however, never bothers to readjust. House maintains position on Aiken's left hip, trusting that safety Josh Evans (orange) has his back on the inside.
By the time Flacco releases the ball, House is in better position than Aiken to catch the pass. With a safety on the inside, Flacco is forced to drop the pass on his receiver's outside shoulder.
The Jaguars are almost rewarded for a textbook play by House and Evans. Instead, Flacco's pass turns into yet another pass defended by Davon House.
The moments where House truly shines, however, are in man-on-man press situations. House made a name for himself in Green Bay as a plug-in, stand-alone corner. The Packers used to employ House situationally -- mostly one-on-one match-ups where he could use his physicality to his advantage. Now promoted to an every-down outside corner on the Jags, House is still uncovering success in press situations.
House is matched up with Aiken once again, this time in press coverage.
At the snap, House hesitates to allow Aiken a choice in direction. House is reading the receiver's route.
Aiken jumps outside, taking his route upfield. It's a nine route. House attaches to Aiken's left hip.
House never loses grip, eventually making a beautiful play on Flacco's pass.
Head coach Gus Bradley, as well as a lot of local media, love to highlight House's aggressiveness and physicality. House is certainly an aggressive corner, consistently displaying an ability to hang on to coverage and finish plays on the other end. What I find most impressive about House's game, though, is his ability to get his head turned around quickly.
Several Ravens' CBs were hit with pass interference calls on Sunday because they were trailing the Jaguars' routes without turning back for the ball. In the play above, House overtook Aiken's route and turned back for the pass in an effort to play the quarterback. Winning routes while simultaneously playing the ball is something that veteran corners make a living doing.
Later in the game, winning the route finally won House the ball.
This situation is very similar to the one above. This time, Flacco shifts under center. House presses up to the line again.
Once again, the receiver takes the outside nine route. House recognizes the route -- he had won it before.
Davon beats the receiver on his own release. He's in perfect position, running step for step.
Down the field, House is still stride for stride. The ball is released. The safety begins to make his way over, but House is pretty much on an island.
Flacco under-throws his receiver. House gets his head around and earns his second interception of the day.
House was built for those nine-routes. He plays with a determined aggression that is unmatched by the other Jaguars corners. House will fight even the most physical receivers the entire way down the field.
Unfortunately, this untamed aggression can also lead to untimely mistakes. This idea was very well illustrated in House's play against Houston -- the game that led to his benching.
Of course, House shouldn't have been benched. I stand by this. But there are times -- sometimes strings of plays -- where it appears that House gets lost inside his own assertive mentality. The next two plays aren't awful mistakes, but they do help illuminate this point.
Here's a play that looks a lot like the two plays above, especially when the receiver leaves the line of scrimmage.
By this point in the game, House has seen this route -- and won it -- twice. He has the receiver locked up. Even the safety gets deja vu -- he reads Flacco and makes a decision to make his way over to the top of the route pretty quickly.
Flacco, however, throws back-shoulder this time. It's a beautiful pass. House's momentum is still carrying him down the sideline.
It's hard to place too much blame on House here. A good back-shoulder throw is extremely difficult to defend. You'd like to see House in a little better position than turned 180 degrees from the play, though.
In the play below, however, it's pretty easy to place the majority of the blame on House.
Pre-play, it's pretty easy to pick out the region that House is supposed to defend in the Jaguars base zone coverage. The Jaguars are on run alert -- strong safety Jonathan Cyprien steps up into the box.
But Flacco takes the snap and fakes the handoff. The play-action pulls House in like a magnet.
Meanwhile, the receiver (orange) slips out behind House. Flacco starts to roll out to the right. When the quarterback starts to roll out, it is the flat-zone guy's responsibility to turn around and find the crossing route. House is that guy, and he's way too late.
House tries his best to make up ground, but he reacts too slowly. The receiver has enough real estate in front of him to build an aquarium, so you better believe he's going to catch the football.
These technical issues have always plagued House's game. They are the reason why he was used situationally in Green Bay, and they will continue to be areas that House needs to work on as he continues his implementation into the Jaguars secondary.
Nonetheless, House had as impressive a game on Sunday as he has had all season. Davon maintained his knack for getting under passes, taking this ability to the next level by finally taking advantage of opportunities and picking off a couple of balls.
Moving forward, you'd like to see House continue to grow into his role. He's not a rookie, but it's important to remember that this season is, for all intents and purposes, his first season with a starting gig. House's flashes are very promising, and his interceptions finally gift him with a benchmark of sorts -- something he knows he can do and will continue to improve on.
Meanwhile, House needs to find a way to play more consistently. The pass rush isn't doing the secondary any favors right now, so "locking down" becomes a huge priority for the cornerbacks.
Perhaps House's two-interception game will kickstart the rest of his season -- the same way you hope an ugly Jaguars win might give the entire team a boost.
Just don't bench House again. That was a mistake.