Doug Marrone believes the Jags issues against the pass boils down to fundamentals, something they haven’t shown since Week 1 vs. Indy.
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense has mostly struggled against the pass all year and that once again was the case Thursday against the Miami Dolphins. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was able to complete 11 consecutive passes against the unit in the first half and the second half was pretty solid as well.
Such a showing from a Dolphins roster who many feel belongs somewhere near the bottom of the league has caused many questions for the Jags and it was one of the many key topics brought up to Doug Marrone Friday. After going over the film, Marrone expressed that he thought a lot of the Jags’ issues against the pass were technique related as the defensive backs allowed a lot of catches in the range of 12 yards.
“I think when you look at it, a lot of the passes are not really getting behind us, from a standpoint of over the top throws,” Marrone said to the media. “Most of these throws are in this under 12 or 13-yard radius, so I think it’s a combination of we have to do a couple things better.”
“I feel comfortable because they’re more technique, fundamental things that we need to do to disrupt the passing game and try to do a better job there, so I see it as that. I think last night we pressured quite a bit, but you could see at times when max protection comes into play, now all of a sudden, and you’re not getting to the quarterback, that’s a long time.”
These statements are some that Todd Wash can’t help but hear loud and clear and it appears the Jags will be stressing fundamentals in practice a lot, especially to the defensive backs.
“We’re in position, but we haven’t defended many balls,” Marrone added. “We’ve got to get our hands on more balls. In the first game, we did. In the last two, we haven’t at all. Those are the things we’re trying to improve upon.”
When evaluating the defensive backs, even the player who has been a star for the Jags’ secondary, CJ Henderson, had a rough night, allowing five targets for 62 yards against the Dolphins. He also had a mental lapse early in the game where he allowed receiver Jakeem Grant to catch a pass on him without tagging him down, which allowed Grant to get up a run for extra yardage.
Meanwhile, the Jags’ other cornerback, Tre Herndon, has had a lackluster showing to open the season. As a result, many fans have been expressing their hope to see Sidney Jones on the field in his place soon.
There have also been frequent changes at safety as Jarrod Wilson had to go on injured reserve Week 1. Andrew Wingard was inserted in his place, but it appears he may be suited more to be a special teams player than consistent starter at safety. On top of that, he exited Week 3’s game with a core injury in the second quarter, causing the staff to move to their third option at safety Brandon Watson.
While Marrone did say Wingard would return Monday, the safety play might not improve significantly based off what we’ve seen from Wingard. Still, Marrone clearly wants them to put up identical results to what fans witnessed Week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts. During that game the Jags were able to acquire two picks and five pass breakups (three of which were from Henderson).
Up next for the Jags’ defense will be first overall pick Joe Burrow and receivers A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, and John Ross III. While many will categorize the Cincinnati Bengals as a bottom tier roster the fact of the matter is they’ve been extremely competitive in all their games. That said, it could be another long day for the Jags next Sunday, and hopefully, we see the defense clear up things fundamentally.
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