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.
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 the sack Smoot recorded during this game, a routine play, but an exceptional job by Smoot of not letting up outside contain. pic.twitter.com/ybQ1qPxG2L— JP Acosta (@acosta32_jp) October 16, 2020
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.
On this next play, Smoot records a pressure on an incomplete pass by taking advantage of the mismatch. Let's stop having TE's block DE's, shall we? pic.twitter.com/Cdbvj24DMB— JP Acosta (@acosta32_jp) October 16, 2020
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.
This play against the run is all about effort for Smoot. Going up against a premier OT in Laremy Tunsil, he just outworks him on an inside rush to get to the ballcarrier. pic.twitter.com/gMEPiQJ7Ye— JP Acosta (@acosta32_jp) October 16, 2020
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.
Sidney Jones IV was the best defensive player on the field on Sunday for Jacksonville, and has earned a spot across from CJ Henderson once he gets healthy. Jones played fast, and gave that secondary the juice they were missing. pic.twitter.com/eG62fgTl9y— JP Acosta (@acosta32_jp) October 16, 2020
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.
The interception by Jones is an impressive individual play. The Jaguars were playing quarters coverage (the Todd Wash Special), and Jones makes a great break on the ball. pic.twitter.com/wUEoW8vfpl— JP Acosta (@acosta32_jp) October 16, 2020
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.
However, this was the most impressive play to me. There's no way he should've caught up to this ball, but he tips it and makes a play for Jarrod Wilson, who gets the second INT. pic.twitter.com/Wyd4Aoe0Yw— JP Acosta (@acosta32_jp) October 16, 2020
The offense has to hold up their side of the bargain going forward.