clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jaguars vs. Titans: Titans offensive line will be quite the challenge for the Jaguars

The Titans have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, so putting pressure on Marcus Mariota and stopping the run is going to be tough for the Jaguars.

NFL: International Series-Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It certainly looks like the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defensive line is going to be tested tonight against the Tennessee Titans.

I’ll start by going in depth with how the Jaguars’ defensive line has done this year. The run defense has been average, ranking at 18th in the NFL by allowing 109.8 yards per game.

As for the Jaguars’ pass rush, although it has improved since last year, it;s still got a lot of consistency issues and has yet to take the next step in being a great pass rush.

Yannick Ngakoue and Malik Jackson have been the best pass rushers this year, while the rest of the group has been mediocre. While Ngakoue looked great in the stretch of week two through week four, he’s been quiet since — He had one sack against Chicago but relatively no impact otherwise. Versus Oakland, I’m not sure if I heard his name get called once.

Malik Jackson has had a pretty consistently good year, but as a 3-tech, his job is to apply pressure to make it easier for the edge rush to accumulate sacks and extra pressure. He’s done very well, but the edge rush isn’t taking advantage of his good play nearly enough.

Otherwise, it’s all been eh. Dante Fowler Jr. has been average at best, but is being used improperly. He’s just not fit to play a hand-in-the-dirt end role. He needs to be put in more of an OTTO role (as dumb as the OTTO is), because he’s a solid standing, stunt pass rusher.

All in all, the “Big Three” group of Jaguars’ pass rushers have put together 7.5 sacks and 26 QB hurries — just about average.

And average ain’t gonna cut it tonight against the Tennessee Titans.

The Titans own one of the best offensive lines in the league this year — something I never thought I’d ever come to say. However, it’s true, and it’s going to seriously prevent the Jaguars’ pass rush from dirtying Marcus Mariota’s jersey.

The starting left tackle is Taylor Lewan, who’s playing the best ball of his three year career this year. According to PFF, he’s the highest graded tackle in the entire NFL. The starting right tackle is Jack Conklin, who, although he was labeled as a bad pick for Tennessee at the 8th overall pick, was recently rated the 7th best tackle in the NFL, also per PFF.

So, it’s pretty fair to say the Titans have one of, if not the, best offensive tackle tandems in the NFL. What makes it even worse for Jacksonville is that center Ben Jones, who was signed away from Houston in the offseason, has had a very solid year as well.

It’s hard to grade an offensive lineman. They either play great, average, or poorly in most people’s books, and they base those grades just by watching the tape. There aren’t many stats you can use to grade an individual lineman.

However, as an offensive line as a whole, they’ve been incredibly efficient, and there are stats* to back that up. The Titans running backs, DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, have only been stuffed on 16% of plays when they get a hand-off. That stat ranks 8th in the NFL. Within two yards of a first down on 3rd/4th down, the Titans have an 81% power success rate, meaning they successfully ran for a first down in the situation. That ranks 4th in the NFL.

As for their pass protection as a whole, the Titans rank 5th in the NFL with only 13 sacks allowed. To put that into perspective, the Jaguars have allowed 25. Granted, not every sack falls on the offensive line, as the QB can run his way into a sack, a missed block by a running back can occur, etc., as seen a lot in Jacksonville, but that just narrows down how many sacks the Titans line has allowed as well.

According to, the Titans attack the middle of the offensive line in the running game 53% of the time. Although center Ben Jones is having a good season, like I said above, the Titans are without starting left guard Quinton Spain this week, and are starting Sebastian Tretola, their 6th round draft pick this year who has yet to play a game.

If the trend continues where the Titans attack the middle of the line in the run game, the Jaguars need to abuse Tretola into closing gaps across the entire middle. When it comes to running the ball near the edge, if the Titans pick up on that, I’m afraid they will be very successful.

Having Sen’Derrick Marks and Malik Jackson, as well as Abry Jones rotating, as the starting interior defensive line should bode well for the pass rush if they are to expose the Titans’ guards. However, like in the run game, it will be tough for Ngakoue, Fowler Jr., and players such as Jared Odrick and Tyson Alualu to generate edge pass rush pressure.

It’s certainly going to be tough for Jacksonville to apply pressure tonight versus one of the leagues’ best offensive lines, so it looks like the Jaguars’ linebacker core and secondary will have to be playing top notch in order for the Jaguars’ defense to be effective towards the outcome of the game.

* - Stats via