After a satisfying, much needed win against the Indianapolis Colts, the Jacksonville Jaguars head to the Windy City to take on the 1-4 Chicago Bears. In order to take advantage of the weak division and keep pace with the rest of the division, here are seven things the Jaguars must do this week.
Keep Myles Jack on the field during nickel situations
Paul Posluszny is a good linebacker when given in-the-box responsibilities. Outside the box, I would argue that Jack is a better player based off of his superior physical traits and limited played time last week. In my opinion, linebackers must be athletic, physical, and fast. Jack is the more athletic linebacker; he's a better option than Poz in nickel situations. The most important trait in a linebacker is their athleticism. Look at Telvin, who is perhaps the most athletic linebacker. He plays at a high level; he's perhaps the best player on our defense. Similarly, if we keep Jack on the field for nickel situations, we should be able to contain the Bears' sneaky, potent aerial attack.
Experiment with the defensive line
The six-sack performance against the Colts is equal parts due to the abysmal Colts offensive line as well as the play of Yannick Ngakoue, Malik Jackson, and Dante Fowler. Ngakoue is a serious Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate, while Fowler has shown promising glimpses when asked to stunt. Odrick's absence unintentionally upgraded the Jaguars' defense, as Ngakoue and Fowler were forced to be on the field at the same time. This unleashed the pass rush -- part of this is due to Ngakoue's surprisingly good run defense. The Jaguars should explore this avenue, and experiment to see whether this was a fluke, or whether the Jaguars are better off with their two LEOs on the field. I'm not saying that Odrick is a poor player, or that he should be cut, but rather the Jaguars should adopt and evolve their scheme and experiment with getting rid of the big end. If this move works, great. If not, that's great too.
Throw it to 15... but don't forget about 88
Hurns reminded us against the Colts of just how good he is -- and how underutilized he's been this season. He was only targeted four times last week, and had two catches for 47 yards and a touchdown. Up until deep into the fourth quarter, he only had one catch for five yards. Hurns has been used on bubble screens and short, quick passes, for the most part. That should change, as he is a very good player across the middle of the field on intermediate routes and double moves. I don't recall many double moves called for him, but this is clearly something that needs to be fixed. Allen Robinson should continue to get his fair share of targets, but don't forget about Hurns.
Run behind Patrick Omameh
As mentioned in a previous article, Omameh is a bully, plain and simple. He's strong at the point of the attack and is an underrated athlete. He did well against the Colts, and with a full week of practice next to Beachum, I expect improvement and success with him at guard. The thing with guards is that strength is perhaps the most important trait, so it's my hope that we don't notice much of a drop off from Luke Joeckel. That being said, the Jaguars should look to run downhill and in a straight line manner, behind the guards and center. It worked against the Colts, and should help wear down this Bears defense.
Blitz with Aaron Colvin
Aaron Colvin had four sacks last year, tops among NFL defensive backs. Look for the Jags to try some blitzes with him manning the slot. He was an effective disrupter and could wreck havoc on Brian Hoyer, who has picked apart his opponents to the tune of 1,094 yards, six touchdowns, at a clip of 71.4%. Those numbers are ridiculous, even if you factor the relative weakness of his opponents.
Put Jalen Ramsey on Alshon Jeffrey
Stop Alshon Jeffrey, period. Force Hoyer to go to his second and third read, buying time for the pass rush to get there. Make the Bears win with Eddie Royal and Cam Meredith.
Run, Bortles, run
Blake Bortles has admitted that scrambling and running with the ball calms his mind and allows him to have fun. Honestly, the Jaguars should call more read option plays and designed scrambles in order to loosen Blake up, as he seems to be hesitate and gun shy. It worked against the Colts, with Blake running for a touchdown on a really good play call by Greg Olson. Bortles' legs give the Bears defense another thing to scheme for, and the stress put on the defense will benefit the Jaguars' offense immensely.
If the Jaguars do these seven things, they should escape the Windy City with a win. In all honesty, this is a game the Jaguars should have no business losing. It's clear that we have more talent than the Bears, but with such a poor coaching staff that has proven incapable of adjustments so far, no lead is safe, and no opponent easy.