It seems like every time I write about how the Jacksonville Jaguars defense is actually playing really well despite the team’s record, they go out and have their worst game of the season. The first time they got boat raced by the Dallas Cowboys and then on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts they looked like they’d never played together before.
How in the world does that happen? I can understand a miscommunication and blown coverage hear and there, we saw it happen a few times last season. But this many times in the same game? Again? After the bye week?
How does that happen? That’s unacceptable.
“A lot of times there is a level of focus of formation or where something has to be that has you locked into a coverage. We will communicate a call, but there still has to be an awareness to the formation. We missed that,” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said on Monday when he was asked if players are freelancing and not running the coverages they should be running. “We missed another where we were worried about a split that was giving us an issue. Then all of a sudden he is not in that split, but we are worried about the issue and they gain separation. We were in a zero coverage. There was one tight end on the field. We know exactly who has that tight end, and we don’t get on him. Those are the things that happened. When you say ‘willfully’ meaning are the players busting it? No.”
There were multiple plays on Sunday you should see looked doomed before the snap and multiple plays where players like Eric Ebron were running wide open, with no one anywhere close and they resulted in chunk plays and touchdowns. When you keep running into busts like that, you start to see players pressing and trying to force plays that aren’t there and it just compounds the issue.
“The problem is if you make a mistake – let’s get it corrected and let’s go on,” Marrone continued. “Let’s not push and try to get ourselves out of it. One mistake and when you push leads to another mistake and another mistake and that seems to be, in my conversations with the players, what happens. They make a mistake and try to make up for it, and they just need to go ahead to the next play and do their job.”
One of the plays the Jaguars should have been playing three deep but for whatever reason cornerback Jalen Ramsey didn’t. That resulted in the long Ebron touchdown. Another play Barry Church should have had the tight end and didn’t, which resulted in another Ebron touchdown. Then there were a few plays where someone like Telvin Smith was caught in no-man’s land trying to cover two players, which resulted in chunk plays.
Even on Smith’s interception, it appeared to be a busted play and mercifully the ball bounced to Smith and he made a play on the ball.
The Jaguars defense seemed to shore up in the second half, allowing only 60 yards to the Colts, but the damage had already been done and the offense couldn’t catch up.
The offense, by the way, did more than enough to win the game on Sunday. When they score 26 points and don’t turn the ball over (until the final drive), with this defense, you should be winning the game.
The problems on the defense seem to be becoming more frequent and they consistently seem to be communication issues. I don’t know what the fix is or if the defense just isn’t listening to Todd Wash’s message anymore or what, but it needs to be rectified fast.
Having those kinds of issues, after a bye week, is unacceptable.
It’s kind of ironic that the Jaguars season ends with a massive defensive collapse.