The first weekend of the 2020 NFL playoffs are in the books, which means as Jacksonville Jaguars fans we had a lot of time to kill to think about the team going forward since they once again were not in the playoffs. One of the most common questions we get when we do our mailbags or that I get on Twitter is about the Jaguars defensive scheme and if it should change.
More specifically, should the Jaguars move to a 3-4 defensive front in 2020?
Not with Todd Wash
If Todd Wash is to remain the Jaguars defensive coordinator, which is still up in the air, I would say the team is highly unlikely to move to a 3-4 front, nor should they. Wash has always worked in 4-3 schemes and it wouldn’t really be in the best interest for him to completely re-design the defensive scheme, even though the team already runs some hybrid fronts.
Do they have the personnel?
For the sake of discussion lets assume Wash ends up being let go and the Jaguars bring someone in who runs more of a 3-4 defensive scheme. The next question is do they actually have the personnel to run a 3-4 front? The answer is a resounding: Sort of!
The Jaguars defensive front seven is in a weird spot right now and might actually be the perfect time to commit to a new front. We’re not sure the future of Calais Campbell, but he fits in both fronts at defensive end. Josh Allen played in a 3-4 in college at Kentucky, so he’s familiar with playing as a stand up linebacker and he fits in either front. Yannick Ngakoue, who I believe the team will hold on to, might be a better fit as a stand up linebacker considering his size in a 4-3 front and Abry Jones is a fit at nose tackle.
After that is the big question. Can Taven Bryan handle being a 3-4 defensive end? I think so, personally. It’s almost a given that Marcell Dareus is cut due to his cap savings, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the team brought him back on a cheaper deal and he could be a fit across a three-man defensive line.
You still have the issue of Myles Jack, who is not a true inside linebacker, but perhaps he can play more of a WILL role as an inside backer with a true thumper next to him. I don’t think too much changes as far as the back end of the defense.
Even if the Jaguars end up sticking with a 4-3 front going forward, with or without Todd Wash, there is going to need to be some shuffling along the defensive line and linebacker corp. The biggest lean to going towards a 3-4 going forward, is if you can sign Ngakoue long term you’re set at the outsider backer position for the next few years, which is often the big struggle for 3-4 teams.