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FILM ROOM: A Whole Bunch of Problems

How the Texans exploited an unprepared Jaguars defense with stack and bunch formations.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Ladies and gentlemen, the Urban Meyer Era has begun in Jacksonville! So much fanfare and jubilation(sorta), and the coronation of a new dynasty will begin against the lowly Houston Tex—yeah no that didn’t happen.

On Sunday, the Jaguars went into NRG Stadium and simply got their heads kicked in. The Texans beat the Jaguars 37-21, and quite frankly it wasn’t even that close to begin with. The Texans had their way on both sides of the ball, which made me wonder which side of the ball to do a film room on. So, I left it up to the people.

Well, you all have answered, and before we get started I wanted to thank you for that. I didn’t think I would get so many responses. However, we have a Film Room to open, so let’s down to business (to defeat...the...Broncos? It works kinda, so I’m leaving it.)

What On Earth Happened?

As a whole, that was one of the worst coached outings I’ve ever seen from a Jaguars team. To simply put it, they were unprepared. Illegal formations, missed assignments, tackling issues, drops: all those are fixed in practice and preparation. Having to burn two timeouts in the first quarter because you can’t get set on offense is unacceptable, at any level.

Defensively, I think their performance was really bad. Mainly from a communication standpoint. When you play a lot of man with zero help, it’s important to communicate, because if a team gets you into formations they like, you have to be able to communicate to pass routes off or get out of traffic. Much credit to the Texans, however. They came in with a great gameplan, and knew they could beat the Jaguars using stack and bunch receiver formations. They would use their backs out of the backfield and create natural pick routes to get them wide open in the flat, and the Jaguars couldn’t recover.

On this touchdown to Danny Amendola, the Texans motion out David Johnson and Myles Jack goes with him. This means the Jaguars are in Cover 1 defense, and Rudy Ford (5) is the “Rat” defender. Meaning he has the hole in the middle hook area. In the event of the first outside receiver (Amendola) running a route five yards or under, his man (Tyson Campbell) would call “Rat”. This call would make Ford run with Amendola and Campbell becomes the “Rat” defender. However, Pharaoh Brown runs an over route designed to occupy Campbell, and Ford doesn’t recover quickly enough. Andrew Wingard also takes himself out of the play by opening up the wrong way, when there are two receivers to his immediate left. Easy run in touchdown.

There is a way to remedy this, however. I believe Campbell and CJ Henderson were in what’s called “Top Hat” coverage, where the nickel CB presses the first receiver in the stack, but takes the first receiver in.

This disrupts the timing on the route while maintaining man-to-man coverage. I think if Campbell gets a better press on the top receiver, it’ll mess up Amendola’s timing, allowing Ford the ability to work over/under the route by Brown and get to Amendola.

On the first long completion to Brandin Cooks, it was another route out of bunch, but this time it came in the form of a motion into it, and the Jaguars are going to stay in “lock” coverage-everyone stays on their man, and Campbell presses Cooks because he’s the up man in the bunch route. Campbell doesn’t get a clean press and Cooks has him beat by a few steps, but Campbell is in a great position to force a PBU or an interception. Just...look at the ball.

If Campbell trusts his speed, he can turn his head to the ball and make a play. Jenkins is in a good spot over the top, but if he reaches through Cooks, it probably ends up as pass interference. Campbell has to learn to make plays on the ball, soon. It’s why he was drafted 33rd overall.

On the second long pass to Cooks, I think Shaquill Griffin thinks the play is dead. The Jaguars are in Cover 3, and have everything relatively covered (the seam is a natural weak spot of C3). K’Lavon Chaisson gets a free shot at Taylor due to a well-timed blitz and...he just whiffs. His aiming point was way too high, and he came in at too round of an angle to make a play. It allows Taylor to step up and find Cooks, who was literally just jogging to the middle of the field. This play should’ve gone down as a sack, but it ends up as a huge gain.

Overall, I think this was a rough start, but a lot of problems can be fixed by making personnel changed. For starters, Andre Cisco should be the absolute starter at safety opposite Rayshawn Jenkins. Wingard is too slow laterally and can’t play the pass like Cisco can. It also doesn’t help when he misses tackles like this:

In addition, I think Joe Cullen can confuse the offense a bit by not always showing zero coverage. Rotate from two high, bring Jenkins down as the “Rat” defender in C1. Ultimately, this all comes down to execution. The Jaguars couldn’t execute anything very well, and that has to be solved before Sunday against Denver.