The Jaguars’ coaching staff did its best to curb those pesky 3-4 rumors on Friday.
Throughout the offseason, the Jaguars have reworked their defensive personnel, using seven of their 12 draft picks on the defensive side of the ball.
Following the first round of the draft, Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell spoke about the selection of first-round outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson stating, “This is a guy that is really multifaceted, and we can play in some 3-4 looks obviously with Josh Allen and him and I think he offers a bunch of versatility on our defense with those two guys and Yannick [Ngakoue].”
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone echoed those sentiments the next day, stating the team would be using more 3-4 principles, specifically on base downs “you will see more of our SAM linebacker on the ball.”
On Friday, when addressing the local media, Marrone and defensive coordinator Todd Wash clarified how the defensive scheme will be run, making sure to indicate the team is, at its core, a four-down linemen defense.
“Systematically we’re based out of a four down linemen scheme, but we wanted to be able to increase our multiplicity and our front mechanics, meaning that there’s a lot of different things that you can do on the back end,” Marrone stated when asked about the decision to go to more 3-4 concepts.
“Coverage wise with a lot of disguise, there’s a lot of things that we can do just to maybe create that moment of indecision of you know, whether we’re pressing and bound or they’re pressing and going to cover two there’s a lot of things you can do and it’s so much easier to be multiple in your in your coverage aspect.”
The changes made to the defense are not a far-cry away from what the Jaguars have done in the past. During his tenure with Marrone, Wash has historically implemented a front which uses 4-3 over and under fronts, where the SAM (strongside linebacker) is on or off the football, now the team will be more multiple, with the SAM playing closer to the line of scrimmage more often than before.
The #Jaguars have played multiple fronts in the past, even during the team's week 17 game against the Indianapolis Colts. It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that they'll be implementing more of the multiple fronts, given their personnel. pic.twitter.com/ZbF6x9gdMD— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) June 12, 2020
“You know, we had snaps of it last year, usually that type of spacing occurs in base personnel. We’ve looked at it and some of the third down packaging, but, we played snaps of it last year, and we want to make sure that depending on how some teams play us that we have the ability to play that front, if it gives us an advantage.”
With the Jaguars playing multiple fronts, it will allow the team to confuse the offense, and create “anxiety” for the opposing offensive line, Marrone says.
Wash echoed those sentiments, making sure to slow down the 3-4 defense train as the team has already used the principles they are speaking about before. No, the Jaguars will not be using three-down linemen in a two-gaping scheme as traditional 3-4 defenses used to play, Wash cautioned.
“We’re not built to be a two gap team, if you if you’re looking at the 2 [gap], 34 stuff that you see in our league,” said Wash. “That’s not the way we’re built. So, we’re still going to be, you know, gap accountability, one gap, single high. It’s just going to be leveraged and alignments are going to be a little bit different within our scheme, but we’re not a true 34 2-gap team. That’s not how we’re built upfront, or the size of our unit to do that.”
Wash was asked today whether the media and fans were making a big deal out of nothing from the 3-4 defensive-scheme talk, stating “that would be a correct statement.”
The Jaguars will be playing different fronts, however, it will change due to the personnel they’ve acquired. With the addition of players such as Chaisson and Cassius Marsh, it will allow the team to play in a 50 front, which essentially translates to five-linemen or four linemen and a SAM linebacker at the line of scrimmage, in the Jaguars’ case.
The team’s two other linebackers, Myles Jack and Joe Schobert in their case during the 2020 season, will play off the ball, away from the line of scrimmage.
“You might not see as much over-front out of us now because of the the makeup of our personnel. And, you know, so everybody say, well, you’re a 34, or just a 50 front.”
The Jaguars defense will look different than it has in the past, but not too different. Because of the changes to personnel, the Jaguars will be able to get creative in their front seven, and as a result, should expect to be able to take advantage of the athleticism an versatility of the players they’ve acquired recently.