The Jacksonville Jaguars defense is playing out of its mind. There’s no other way to say it — this is shaping up to be an all-time Jaguars defense. Can they stop the run? Not really. And yet somehow that doesn’t matter. They’re on pace to set records for sacks, takeaways, scoring differential, and more.
While this defense is made up of some Pro Bowl-caliber players like Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Jalen Ramsey, and A.J. Bouye, defensive coordinator Todd Wash certainly deserves some of the credit.
And head coach Doug Marrone knows it.
During his postgame press conference on Monday afternoon, Marrone credited Wash’s ability to adapt his scheme to his players — not the other way around — as to a big reason why the defense is flourishing.
“In my opinion what I try to get out of the coordinators, don’t ever put yourself in a bind where ‘nope, this is what we do’ or ‘this was the philosophy or the strategy of this defense when it was first created we’re not going to do that.’ I have problems with that. I think what Todd has done is he’s opened up to a lot of things that will fit what our philosophy is and trying to do things that are going to make us better and help us win. So in my experience when you have coordinators that are that way then you have a chance because you can play to the strengths of the players. Some other things like –- and I’ve been through this before with coordinators— we got to get that guy some help and then ‘well, that’s not what we do, we play this coverage and that’s what we do.’ I think Todd has done a good job of that.”
Focus on what your defense does well, tailor your schemes to what you have on the roster, and let the strengths outweigh the weaknesses. Like I said, the Jaguars can’t stop the run. They don’t have a run-stopping nose tackle like in years past. But it’s not affecting the team’s ability to win because Wash has a defensive line that knows how to rush the passer. He’d rather see them bend but not break, giving up first downs on the ground until the other team makes a mistake in the passing game. Sure, you gave up 40 rushing yards on the last drive but it doesn’t matter because your secondary just intercepted the ball and returned it to near midfield.