The Jacksonville Jaguars are in the midst of a four game losing streak and don’t have a lot going for them. One thing the team does have going for them however, is their defense. Outside of two games this season, it’s been bordering on elite. The team was whipped by the San Diego Chargers, but we all knew that would happen. Phillip Rivers is the king of killing Cover 3 base defenses and he did it once again, so nothing really there. The Tennessee Titans game on Thursday Night Football however seems to be the defense’s one anomaly, but otherwise they have been suffocating against other teams, especially the last three weeks.
The Jaguars defense held the Houston Texans to under 100 yards passing, but the Jaguars still lost. On Sunday, the Jaguars defense held the Detroit Lions offense to just 13 points and 14 rushing yards, but the team still lost. Clearly the Jaguars are losing because of their offensive output and special teams, but the Jaguars defense has progressed to “good enough to keep you in a game” to now being “good enough to win you a game as long as the offense doesn’t screw it up,” which is what has happened the past four weeks.
There are still areas the Jaguars need to get better defensively, but overall the future looks bright going forward for whatever coach ends up replacing Gus Bradley at the end of the season. The big thing still missing from the defense is that consistent pass rusher off the edge, which can make everything else that much better. It would help create more turnovers, it would make the defense even more suffocating than it has been. You can see what it can do when a guy like Yannick Ngakoue is having a good game, like on Sunday against the Lions, but when he’s not on his game and Dante Fowler, Jr. is ineffective as he has been most of the season, you can see how that has a domino effect on everything else.
The team still gets sacks, but like I tried to explain all offseason when the Jaguars failed to sign a veteran edge rusher, sacks don’t help as much when you’re not bringing consistent pressure on the quarterback. That consistent pressure is the ultimate thing you need on a defense, because if you’re bringing consistent pressure, the sacks will come. But, so will everything else.
A lot has gone wrong, even defensively, for the Jaguars in 2016 but the defense still deserves it’s props, even if the team is sitting at 2-8 and staring potentially 2-14 in the face.