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FILM ROOM: Sidney Jones and Dawuane Smoot deserve more playing time

Despite the score, the Jaguars defense played well. Smoot and Jones were major reasons why

NFL: OCT 11 Jaguars at Texans Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Another game, another loss.

The Jacksonville Jaguars went into NRG Stadium shorthanded on defense. But despite the 30-14 loss to the Houston Texans, they played pretty well on that side of the ball. When you get two turnovers, you expect for the offense to capitalize on them. The defense held up their part of the bargain for most of the game, a big part of that due to defensive end Duwane Smoot and cornerback Sidney Jones IV. Both were filling in for injured stars (CJ Henderson, Josh Allen), but once those to get back, Smoot and Jones deserve a significant uptick in playing time.

Dawuane Smoot

We’ll start with Smoot here. What I enjoyed from how he played was he played under control, and with high effort. His recorded sack is an example of playing under control. The Texans leave him unblocked, and try to leak the tight end Darren Fells out behind him. Smoot does a great job here of not crashing inside as soon as he’s unblocked. Now that he’s done the first part, now comes making the play on Watson.

The most impressive thing here is that he stays on the outside shoulder, not giving up contain. This forces Watson back inside, where Smoot makes the play.

This is actually made more profound because the Texans showed a look similar to this to Smoot very early in the game, this time under center. Fells doesn’t go into the flat, however. He stays to block the unblocked end, which is Smoot. Smoot feels that he’s unblocked, and sees Fells coming to block him. He takes advantage of the mismatch and puts pressure on Watson, forcing the incompletion.

This final play for Smoot is all about effort in the run game. He crosses OT Laremy Tunsil’s face on the run fit, and it looks like Tunsil has him blocked. But Smoot keeps running his feet and fights through to make the tackle for no gain. If I were being nitpicky, you would want Smoot not to stand as high immediately off the snap, and keep his center of gravity low, but this is a great effort play here.

Sidney Jones IV

Jones was the best player on the field for the Jaguars defense on Sunday. He brought an energy and a burst to a Jaguars secondary that was lacking speed and playmaking once CJ Henderson got banged up.

On this first play, it looks like the Jaguars are in man coverage, with Jones giving a large cushion to wide receiver Brandin Cooks. One thing I noticed about Jones is he trusts his eyes — once he sees the break, he attacks.

This concept of “trusting your eyes” is evident on the interception he recorded. The Jaguars are playing the Todd Wash Classic quarters coverage, with all four DB’s playing the deep route. The corners are in trail coverage, not allowing anything to the outside. Will Fuller is going to run a dig route across the middle, and Jones sees this, and breaks on the ball.

This quick break allows him to come back into the play and get the interception.

This play by Jones is the most impressive play he had in the game, however. The Jaguars were playing another Todd Wash classic — Cover 3.

In Cover 3, the outside cornerbacks have the deep third of the field. Again, he’s going up against Will Fuller-who runs a post corner. Jones gets turned around by the post, and by the time the ball is released, here’s what it looks like (the arrow is where the ball is):

There’s no way Jones should be making a play here, but he recovers quickly enough to tip the ball to Jarrod Wilson, who makes the interception.

The Jaguars weren’t the 1985 Chicago Bears, the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, or even the 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars, but they made plays to give the team a chance at winning.

The offense has to hold up their side of the bargain going forward.