The Jags’ linebacking corps has been an issue all year and DC Todd Wash confirmed the main issue most fans have been pointing to all along.
The Jacksonville Jaguars team as a whole has struggled in their last two games but the fans especially have been pointing fingers at the defense, who’ve struggled mightily against the rush. Dating back to their loss to the Houston Texans in London they’ve given up 480 total yards to opposing rushers and many fans have pinned those issues on the team’s linebacking corps.
Heading into this regular season, the linebacker position was an area of concern with Telvin Smith’s retirement and Myles Jack not having a strong 2018 season. Now, the fears of the fanbase have seemingly come true, as the group is struggling with shedding blocks, which has led to some of the Jags’ issues against the rush.
Jags defensive coordinator Todd Wash pretty much confirmed what some fans were speculating about the linebacker play Thursday and admitted he has to do a better job prepping his unit in general.
“Well in our system we’re an attack front, so it’s not like we sit and try to cover up linemen and keep them off the second level, Wash said. “So, within our system that’s not what we do. Some systems they do, but for us, we’re an attack system and then when you get on a block you have to get off a block is basically the way our system is built from the front seven and nickel, or the front eight and base.”
Wash added that playing “downhill,” as some have suggested, isn’t necessarily the answer either because in today’s game that would put the linebackers out of position to help out in the passing game, too.
“Not that everybody knows, but if our linebackers just run downhill, we’re going to get killed in the passing game,” Wash added. “It’s just the way we play our system. It’s the way Gus [Bradley] plays it, it’s the way [Robert] Saleh plays it, it’s the way they play it in Seattle. Your linebackers can’t get just downhill, a lot of people don’t understand that, a lot of people don’t understand football to be honest with you. So, our scheme allows them to go east and west, but when he does see it, we need to see our linebackers getting downhill better than we have.”
Of course, all of the statements above are not to say the linebackers are solely to blame, but they’ve clearly been a big part of the defense’s issues. Add in the loss of Smith’s pursuit speed and now fans are looking at a defense that is significantly worse than 2017’s group, which led the team to the AFC Championship.
Needless to say, the Jags’ inability to get off blocks are just some of the fundamental things the team has likely emphasized in practice this week. However, with the Tennessee Titans, Derrick Henry and their powerhouse mentality up next, we’ll see just how much they have improved throughout practice as Wash’s job could hang in the balance.