Week 4 NFL Game Predictions – He Said/She Said

Last week, we got three games complete wrong, but overall, got 12-15. We don’t pick Thursday games because it’s too far out to predict Sunday/Monday games. Week 4 NFL Game Predictions may be another miss. On the season, Jay is up three wins as Jules tends to pick a long shot each week.

What a crazy season this has been. The NFL wants parity and boy do they have it this year…so far. Which makes picking winners a tough feat, one we’ve been striking out on, averaging a tick under .500.

1:00 Games

Bengals (2-1) vs Falcons (1-2)  CBS

Jay: Beware of teams coming off of long overtime games, especially losses. Close game, but I think Cincinnati pulls off a minor upset here.

Jules: a year ago, who would think this would be a good game? The combo of Ryan still struggling without Kyle Shanahan and no Devonta Freeman has continued to stress their offense. I have no clue who wins this as good Andy has been playing well. Home team. No Freeman, again, think I’ll swap to Bengals.

Buccaneers (2-1) vs Bears (2-1) FOX

Jay: Bears defense will be the best that Tampa has seen. Bears win at home.

Jules: I’m thinking Bears regardless of who plays. We started to see cracks with Fitz last week and Winston is rusty. I could see him either playing conservative or slinging stuff everywhere to match Ryan and some of them are intercepted.

Lions (1-2) vs Cowboys (1-2) FOX

Jay: Cowboys are truly a weird team that is a .500 team that will win some games it should lose and lose some games it should win. I’ll take the Cowboys at home.

Jules: I think the Cowboys are a mess and am going to believe that Matt Patricia and his defense keeps Dak in his conservative ways.

Bills (1-2) vs Packers (1-1-1) CBS

Jay: Green Bay needs this. Buffalo is still Buffalo. Green Bay is better. Wins the game going away.

Jules: Packers. Sure, Josh Allen pulled off a win; however, he’s playing in Green Bay…watching Aaron Rodgers win.

Texans (0-3) vs Colts (1-2) CBS

Jay: This is a regress to the means game. Texans will win this one.

Jules: What a bleh game. The Colts are really beat-up and tough to see the Texans going 0-4, so giving them a thumbs up, to tighten up the AFCS.

Jets (1-2) vs Jaguars (2-1) FOX

Jay: I’m not sure what to make of the Jags after last week against Tennessee. Was that same old Jags who play up then play down? Was that an abberation. I think the Jags will win this one.

Jules: DUUUVAL. There is something about the Titans and Jax that makes them powerless. That won’t be the case this week with Fournette playing and getting back two of their three O-Line that was missing last week. If Bortles has time, he can be good.

Dolphins (3-0) vs Patriots (1-2) FOX

Jay: Right now the better team resides in Miami, but I think we have a regression to the mean here and the Pats win a squeaker.

Jules: if this was in Miami, I’d say the fins without blinking. This year, it’s a coin flip. The Pats* lack of speed across the board gives them losing by a FG. It feels to weird to pick them losing three weeks in a row….caveat—if the refs act like they always do in Foxborough, then NE*, if it’s a fair game–Miami. (Myles Jack wasn’t down)

Eagles (2-1) vs Titans (2-1) FOX

Jay: Philadelphia in a tough, defensive battle.

Jules: Eagles. Titans have fallen into wins and that ends on Sunday. They hold no voodoo doll in Philly or have a healthy QB.

4:05 Games

Seahawks (1-2) vs Cardinals (0-3) FOX

Jay: Seattle gets to .500 to keep their Wild card hopes alive.

Jules: Can a rookie QB pull off a win against a sorry looking Seattle? No clue, but the magic ball says, no.

Browns (1-1-1) vs Raiders (0-3) FOX

Jay: The Browns are the better team (I just shuddered as I typed that). Hue Jackson gets revenge

Jules: yuck. Very little game film for the Raiders to dissect Mayfield, but playing in the Black Hole isn’t a simple excursion for a team on the cusp. I can’t stand Oakland, but this may the win they need to crawl out of the dumpster where they live.

4:25 Games

SF (1-2) vs Chargers (1-2) CBS

Jay: Chargers. Enough said

Jules: Unless Uncle Phil gets hurt, Chargers in a romp. Not even their beat up defense can be that bad to lose against Beathard. Can they? I believe CJ went 0-6 as a starter last season which is why they traded for Jimmy.

Ravens (2-1) vs Steelers (1-1-1) NBC

Jay: This is one of my favorite games to watch every year. I don’t know. Give me the Steelers 27-23z

Jules: This should be a great game, a real slugfest. Whichever QB throws less interceptions wins…the question is do we see good Ben or flukey Flacco? Going out on a limb that the Ravens defense can make Ben take chances he shouldn’t.

Monday 8:15

Broncos (2-1) vs Chiefs (3-0) ESPN

Jay: All aboard the Mahomes train

Jules: Denver hasn’t beaten the Chiefs since September 2015 and their two wins this season were by a combined 4 points. Tough to pick Denver since they most likely will need to score 5 TD’s for a chance.

The Buzz about the Jacksonville Jaguars from around the NFL

the buzz about the jaguars

The Buzz about the Jacksonville Jaguars

Each week we will give you a look around the NFL on where they rank/grade the Jags. Today, the Jaguars are the cream of the AFC crop. Sports Illustrated is at the bottom. Enjoy!

He obviously didn’t watch game because that interception went off his receiver’s hands. If he means he Bortled because it was dumb luck (like one off a cleat), then yes, he Bortled.

#2 Previous rank5

The Jags authored a freaking statement in Florida on Sunday. Jacksonville dominated the first half against the Patriots, then suffocated Tom Brady and the offense when it had to, i.e., when Blake Bortles— who was otherwise quite effective — pulled a Bortles with an ill-timed turnover. Following Bortles’ interception early in the fourth quarter, New England was threatening to claw within one score — when the AFC’s deepest defensive group showed up. Dante FowlerJr., who missed all of his rookie year with a knee injury and who is often viewed as an afterthought among his uber-talented teammates, tore around the edge, pulling off the pass rusher’s hat trick: the sack, the strip and the recovery. People had better start giving Doug Marrone the same kinds of props the Sean McVays of the world get.

The Washington Post

#2. Last Week’s Rank: 5

The Jaguars clearly were the better team Sunday against the Patriots, signaling that they are here to stay as a top AFC contender following last season’s playoff run. When QB Blake Bortles plays like he did Sunday, the Jaguars are next to impossible to beat. But can he play consistently well?

USA TODAY

#1 Previous rank: 5

1. Jaguars: Took NFL royalty to the woodshed — their 11-point defeat of New England wasn’t really that close — without injured Leonard Fournette’s help.

ESPN

2. Jacksonville Jaguars

2018 record: 2-0
Week 2 ranking: 5

The Jaguars knocked off the defending AFC champion Patriots at home, and they now have won six straight games in Jacksonville by an average of 15.7 points per game. That is their longest home win streak since winning six straight in 2005-06, and they get to host the Titans in Week 3. — Joey Koontz

Bleacher Report

#3, Last week 5.

There’s no question which NFL team had the most impressive outing of Week 2.

It’s not just that the Jacksonville Jaguars avenged last year’s AFC Championship Game loss with an 11-point win over the Patriots at home. It’s how the Jaguars did it—and the fact that the game wasn’t as close as the score indicates.

With Leonard Fournette sidelined by a bad hammy, the Jaguars went with a pass-heavy approach that featured lots of quick throws. The result was a huge outing for Blake Bortles, who scorched the Patriots for 377 yards and four scores.

Jacksonville’s defense was, well, Jacksonville’s defense. Tom Brady was held to 234 passing yards with two touchdowns and a lost fumble, and Jalen Ramsey relegated star tight end Rob Gronkowski to milk carton status—two catches for 15 yards.

This was a statement game in every sense of the word, and the statement it sent was clear…

The Jaguars are the best team in the AFC.

Sporting News

2. Jacksonville Jaguars 2-0 (last week: 5)

The Jags dropped a big statement in dragging down the Patriots. They are the new AFC heavyweights with an offense and defense built to go at least as deep as it did last season.

CBS

 A grade

Jaguars fans were probably having flashbacks to the AFC Championship game when Jacksonville took a 24-10 lead into the fourth quarter on Sunday, but unlike January, the Jags didn’t blow it this time thanks to Blake Bortles. The Jaguars quarterback threw for 377 yards and four touchdowns and arguable outplayed Tom Brady. One big reason the Jags were able to pull off the upset is because they converted 10 of 14 on third down, which kept Brady and the Patriots offense off the field.

 

And now a quick spin around the internet to see what people are saying about YOUR Jacksonville Jaguars:

ESPN’s Michela DiRocco wrote about how Tony Khan enjoys finding free agent gems

“The Jacksonville Jaguars‘ senior vice president of football administration and technology was calling cornerback Tre Herndon and his agent, hoping to convince the former Vanderbilt player to sign as a free agent. Even though it would be an uphill battle to make a roster that already included All-Pro cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye and former first-round pick D.J. Hayden, Herndon agreed.  Herndon eventually made the 53-man roster and has played 33 snaps on special teams, with one solo tackle and an assist in the Jaguars’ victories against the Giants and Patriots.”–Michael DiRocco

Gene Frenette from Florida Times-Union wrote about greater media presence around Jags nowadays

“Myles Jack was returning to his locker Sunday after getting a shower following a 31-20 victory over the New England Patriots. He scanned the chaotic room full of reporters, and began talking out loud so everyone could hear.
“We got a lot of new media in here,” said Jack, the Jaguars third-year linebacker. “You weren’t expecting to be in this locker room, huh?” Then he paused, adding: “They weren’t here last year. They weren’t here two years ago either. But they’re here today.”
Jack’s spot-on assessment of the Jaguars’ locker room scene — in the aftermath of their first victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots’ dynasty — was a telling sign of how much the narrative for this previously ignored franchise is changing.”–Gene Frenette

Keelan Cole has quickly become the Jags’ go-to receiver now

“Now, in his second season, Cole has the confidence of a savvy veteran and is quickly becoming the go-to receiver for the Jaguars (2-0).

Cole had seven receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown in the team’s 31-20 victory against New England on Sunday. He delivered the most impressive catch of his career and quite possibly the best one in the NFL this season, a one-handed grab down the sideline that prompted TV analyst Tony Romo to compare him to Odell Beckham.”–via Associated Press and USA Today

Sports Illustrated

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-0)

Last Week’s rank: 6
Points in poll: 250
Highest-place vote: 1 (3)
Lowest-place vote: 3 (1)

 

AFCS Scouting Report Week 2- checking out the Enemy

AFCS Scouting report week 2

AFCS scouting report

Considering the Jacksonville Jaguars will not only play their divisional rivals twice, but also face the NFCE teams, staying up to date on them, informs you, the reader. Must say up front, the first four games shouldn’t be viewed as much more than a measuring stick.

For QB’s on new teams (or with new coach/new system) or new starting QB’s the first games can either be their savior as defenses have only pre-season game film or they’re learning games and they get better as the season goes on. Therefore, offenses with the above, should be judged lightly, good or bad.

In the first divisional match-up of the season, the Texans/Titans is a must watch for Jags fans. While our offense is nothing to write home about, these two teams were on CPR last week. The reasons are fairly standard.

  • as often happens with QBs returning from injuries (Watson) and one who is barely more than a rookie, fear of re-injury combined with defenses having more game film equals Deshaun Watson struggling.
  • Marcus Mariota is banged up (thumb) and has another new coach and system. The combo of both can be the death knell for young guys.
  • when an offense has QB’s on shaky ground and have issues with their O-line, little good comes from it.

For right now, I think the Texans have a better team, so in this match-up, they may have the leg up. The key for both teams is to go after the QB. Whomever has the best pass rush, wins. Oh, and Blaine Gabbert could be playing, again. Insert the OMG face.

Mark Vrabel is a first time head coach with a defensive background, so the Titans defense should improve; however, many times we’ve seen the reverse. either way, don’t see a big turn around this week. This game should help Watson improve a little with more playing time.

Texans 0-1 @ Titans 0-1 CBS 1:00

 

Colts 0-1 @ Redskins 1-0 CBS 1:00

Another game with QB issues from above; however, Washington has a better offense. Add the putrid Colts’ defense and it’s tough to see how they get a win on the road against this team.

The only way Indy has a chance is to force Smith to throw intermediate throws to the middle of the field and hope like hell their safeties with a gimpy Clayton Geathers can intercept one.

Minus key injures, it’s tough to come up with any way to scheme against Washington. Especially if you look at this passing chart from Luck. 53 passes, rarely do teams win with that kind of lopsided production. 68 rushing yards (minus Luck’s 7) compared to 319 passing. That’s not a formula for success.

Indy allowed 101 rushing yards against the Bengals; however, Houston gave up 122 vs NE*. The skins had 182 rushing (wow) vs the Cards. These two QB’s are accurate short passers, so more than likely the game will come from rushing and defense. TO make matters worse, 4 Colts players are out, two being on the O-line, the last thing Luck needs. While the skins look pretty healthy.

Only Troy Apke is out for Washington. Alex Smith will also be down an OL. Every team has issues with health on the OL except the Texans. Even so, Smith is a better athlete than Andrew Luck, this match-up should go their way.

Patriots* 1-0 @ Jaguars 1-0 CBS 4:25

Like the Jaguars, the Patriots* have two RB’s who are banged up. However, it’s the Patriots* and more times than not, Belichick always finds a way to work around his roster.

Let’s address Leonard Fournette right from the jump. NE* gave up 167 rushing yards to the Texans last week. That’s a lot and if Leo was healthy, this match-up would be leaning heavily towards Jax; however, a hamstring injury shouldn’t be rushed. Read here as to why.

This means Jax will need to lean heavily on TJ Yeldon, but he’s not a power runner. What Doug Marrone ought to do is pull a NE* and motion him around so they have a linebacker on him. In addition, they should play rookie DJ Chark. He’s big, he’s fast and can block well.

With no film on the rookie, he could give NE* a headache especially if they use him as a quasi-TE. They won’t know if he’s blocking or running a route. Not to mention, that receiving corps needs help. Hopefully, last week it was the rain that gave them the drops.

To beat Brady*

  • rush him up the middle, so the pocket is gone. He’s usually good against the blitz, so they should only rush three.
  • have Leon Jacobs and Myles Jack take on Gronk
  • play man
  • hit him as often as possible

I believe I saw a stat that Brady* has only won one game with the heat over 90°. With the humidity, it will feel 102°. That will help Jax since they practiced all summer during the heat of the day. The warmth may be the deciding factor, the 12th man. The hottest I’ve ever felt was during a Jags game in September, the ambulances couldn’t keep up with those suffering from heat stroke.

As an aside, air travel increases dehydration.

Half of the 122 rushing yards NE* had last week came from Burkhead, so if he’s out that could even things a tad for the run games of each team. If NE* can

For the AFC South teams, the only thing left to wonder is which 46 will dress out on Sunday. This concludes the Week 2 AFCS Friday injury report. We will post game day rosters as they come in.

NFL week 2 viewing areas for the Jaguars game

Malik Jackson, DJ Chark, Niles Paul and Allen Lazard gave back to the community

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. On their “day off”, several Jacksonville Jaguars players used their time to give back to the community. For Malik Jackson it was important to him to meet and show his appreciation first responders.

DJ Chark, Niles Paul and Allen Lazard stopped by the Jericho School for Children with Autism and spent time the students.

Jericho School for Children with Autism

 

AFC South Week 1 Review: Read the latest on our enemies.

AFC South Week 1 Review

AFC South Week 1 Review – Each week, I’ll be previewing and reviewing the other teams in our division. The road to the Play-Offs and Atlanta go through them. Starting this week, look for Injury reports for the four teams and the teams they play.

NE* 27 vs Houston 20

As it often happens, some rookie QB and/or first year starter rips off a few wins in a row and the NFL crowns them the next Brady*. Almost without exception, these narratives are false because the “pundits” and fans overlook their newness is why they win.

Last season, Deshaun Watson was given about ten plays, eight of them deep and Bill O’Brian let him rip. Deep balls work because in a 50-50 match-up, the receiver wins far more than he doesn’t against the cornerback (unless he plays for Jacksonville or LA Chargers).

This can work for a time, but soon defenses get enough tape and simple plays and deep balls start getting picked or batted. Add to this, QB’s who come back from injury are notoriously skittish in the pocket and panic. With a weak and injured OL, Watson was in trouble. He looked like a typical rookie.

While it was week one and a lot can change in a few weeks, the Texans D-line wasn’t great and JJ Watt looked rusty. Combined with a leaky door O-line that allowed 12 hits on Watson and it wasn’t pretty.

Points to take away for the Jags in future match-up:

  1. Brady* did better than he should have because Houston’s front 7 was pitiful. Belichick also used some creative ways to create mismatches by motioning running backs and slots changing who covered them. The Texans often found their defense caught off guard.
  2. Watson will be meat to a starving Jax line
  3. NE* pass rush will give the Jags fits

Jags 20 vs Giants 15

This game was one missed tackle by Calais Campbell, 112 yards of penalties given to the Giants in the form of 3 FGs and dropped passes. The drops can’t be overlooked and if you think so, you didn’t see the Chargers vs Chiefs game. Philip Rivers could’ve had a 600 yard day if not for drops. His passes weren’t bad, they were on the money dimes.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs had gorilla glue on their gloves, they caught everything and that was the difference in the game — catches vs drops.

Bortles isn’t Rivers and if you’re not a great QB, you’ve got to have some help. No Leonard Fournette and the dropsy triplets isn’t a good recipe for continued success. The defense being on the field that long, will take its toll. In a game and in the season.

No doubt if you’re reading this, you saw the game, but did you see how well Myles Jack made the switch to middle linebacker? Very impressive, as was rookie Leon Jacobs. Neither guy faced some plebe QB, but a longtime savvy vet. Kuddos.

Jacksonville played a lot of zone which worked, except against OBJ. This is to note as the Pats* don’t have a WR like OBJ, but rather utilize an array of different receivers/catching backs that tend to surprise.

Takeways:

  1. penalties can fixed
  2. Hackett needs to use DJ Chark against the Patriots* and if there’s a drop repeat, bring in a vet and pronto
  3. hoping that barely using FB Tommy Bohanon and the RPO being absent was Jax wanting to keep some surprises for this Sunday

Bengals 34 vs Colts 23

Indy’s defense is bad and the sun is hot. I take that back, their D-Line pass rush is ok, but the secondary and run stopping is bleh. They were no match for the weapons that the Bengals have in Joe Dixon, AJ Green, Tyler Eifert and John Ross.

Andrew Luck showed why fans marked off days on the calendar in anticipation, his accuracy is something special. He’s not the same daredevil he once was as a dual threat, but his arm is just fine in the short game.

Their run game though? Not great. It wasn’t because of Cincy being All-Pro worthy on their line, more that their stable is a little weak. I also believe they went heavy on pass protection personnel over road graters. Against a secondary as good as Jacksonville’s, Luck may not see the same the production.

Neither team has front trenches that’s making people drool.

Takeaways;

  1. Luck is the Colts. If he can’t throw, game over.
  2. he had six completions over 10 yards out of 9 passes. 5 of them within 12 yards. Of the 4 over 12 yards, a comp at 16, incompletes at 20 and 32 and a TD at 25. He threw 9 screens, was 7-9. He was lethal inside the five at 20-22. This should be stowed away for later. 20 of his 53 attempts were completions inside the 5.
  3. the way to beat him is with linebackers and a pass rush

Titans 20 vs Dolphins 27

First off, hand clap to anyone who watched the game live. I’m thankful for the NFL Game pass which boils games down to no commercials or only the plays (plus A-22) because this was an ugly game to watch.

Titans scoring summary: 2 FG’s, a 4 yd run and a kick off return. Those 20 points were ugly scores and as a Jax fan, we know ugly scores. One run points are not sustainable for a successful season.

To note* Derrick Henry is fast, he was clocked at 21.46 MPH. Jax couldn’t run down Shaquon Barkley at 19.82…Lewis averaged 4.7 yards a carry; however, he ripped one off for 26 yards which skews things a bit.

I figured the Titans would lose with a new Head Coach and staff, but didn’t think Mariota would stink so badly they’d bring in Blaine Gabbert, who didn’t do much better. The two combined for 3 interceptions, 0 TDs, 220 yards and a rating of 37.2. What’s worse is neither was sacked.

Their receivers had one catch that resulted in yards over 20. Now, it’s not like the Dolphins were burning the world, their offense was almost as pitiful, but the turnovers are what killed Tennessee. Minus that and the stats between the two teams were very close.

Takeways:

  1. the Titans are in trouble. They only had 220 passing and 116 rushing, 15 was from Marcus. If you can’t pass and you can’t run and your defense doesn’t sack or can stop Ryan Tannehil who was 20-28, you are in trouble.
  2. Mark Vrabel is a defensive coach, one could think that unit will get better.
  3. Mariota is in a bad spot and faces an uphill battle. There’s not much worse than having a parade of coaches, schemes and playbooks to ruin a quarterback. Plus to suffer and injury. I think only Cleveland and Denver has screwed up worse when developing first round quarterbacks. Shameful.

Myles Jack switching from Outside Linebacker to Middle Linebacker isn’t simple.

Myles Jack switching to middle linebacker

With the retirement of Paul Posluszny, the Jaguars drafted Leon Jacobs and moved Myles Jack (wasn’t down) to middle linebacker. How he does could determine how Jax does on defense. Yes, it’s that big of a move.

Little is said about the nuances that come from switching from being a Sam to being a Mike. It’s manyfold. The first factor in this is the Jags must feel very confident that Jacobs can handle the SLB position.

Before getting into this, know that moving Jack to the MLB means they think they’ll be playing with a lead most the time. 65% of time, teams with leads play sub packages. Hence, the last thing a team would want would be Jack riding the pine 35% of the plays.

Often when teams go from base to nickel, they usually sub a DB for the SAM. Since Jack is a hell of an athlete and strong enough to hang with tight ends, plus stop the run, they want to keep him on the field as much a possible.

How will moving change how he plays?

If a player is the Sam or Elephant, not only does he have a different responsibility, but how he sees the field, reads the entire offense, changes. Not only is he viewing plays from a different perspective, but his timing is affected, as well.

In a 4-3 defense, the SAM is a bit slower, but stronger. They time their first step, their tilt to arrive at the quarterback or whomever is on the edge to hit him with maximum force and the right height. With so many rules in place, they’re like a pitcher trying to throw a strike in a small area.

What they think, how they react is stems from the C gap. Quick twitch guys.

Moving inside changes everything. Besides making them cover Y’s/TE’s requiring them to cover more area, they also have to stop the run up the middle if the back gets past the tackles.

OLB in a 4-3 predominately tackle backs around the edge where speed is a big factor. When backs power up the middle, one arm tackles won’t get it. Their shoulders need to be squared up. They’re also looking at the play with more bodies in front of them.

4-3 defense (under)

The first step they take instead of barreling toward their target, is now one that requires a different technique and the ILB is who quarterbacks are looking to exploit with ins, slants, etc. Hence, he needs to be smart.

The short passing game goes through the ILB. Stink at stopping them and it’s going to be a long day. While a Mike has the DL to help stop runs up the middle, they’re often alone in the passing game. Sure, the safeties can and do move up, but if they’re involved, often it means the ILB didn’t do his job.

Fans should understand that it will take Jack a little while to nail this position because he needs to retrain his muscle memory on how to react to each play. Most likely, quarterbacks will throw in his area to challenge this. Don’t be surprised if he’s a little inconsistent until he’s had a few games under his belt.

Why the Jaguars

I’m writing this to be up front and honest with the readers. While my family and I have lived in the Jacksonville area since 1994 and have been to many games in the following 22+ years (see my t-shirt with the outlawed logo), my first love was for another team.

I grew up in South Florida to Dolphins’ season ticket holders; however, I picked my team 40 years ago and didn’t look back…until 2015. That’s the year Denver fans boo’d Peyton Freakin’ Manning.

We’ve been to Jags games when Bortles threw interceptions and even had one go off a cleat, but never heard a boo. In fact, in 22 years, the only boo’s we’ve heard from the fans was towards the other team and once at Jack Del Rio (deserved). Yes, 22 years of games because while Denver was my first love, the Jags were a close second. In fact, my brother is a first year season ticket holder, a loyal fan through a couple decades of misery.

Which leads me to why I dumped the Broncos, a team I wrote about for a couple of years, loved, sweated and cried over. Professionalism. Integrity. The Jaguars, their media and fans have it, the Broncos don’t.

After having an up-close encounter with Denver, their coaches, team make-up, their in-house media and fans, it became apparent they make the Bills fans at the play off game look like nice people. I won’t address the appalling media surrounding Denver.

Remember when Tom Coughlin was fired and Wayne Weaver seemed to check out as an owner? How the Jaguars became stale, the media became belligerent and there was this sense that the Jags were being left behind? That’s Broncos Country times ten. When Shad Khan bought the team, that all went away.

The Khans brought fun back to Jacksonville. They brought professionalism, cutting edge thoughts, technology and while they needed to go through two head coaches, they found their men in Doug Marrone and Coughlin. Plus, props to Dave Caldwell who’s done a good job drafting.

While some may say I’ve jumped on this bandwagon because of last season’s winning, the truth is, the wins came from the above paragraph. What I love, why I kicked a lifetime team to the curb, is the way the Jaguars operate. As a longtime Navy wife, that leadership style gets my blood going.

In May, I had a gruesome injury that could have killed or left me without a lower leg. That’s when I realized that life is too short and fragile to waste it on dysfunctional things and people.

Even during the dark times, one thing the Jags fans never lost was their sense of loyalty, fairness and honor. Maybe it’s because there are so many veterans here, but fans know there is something wrong with booing a player and booing one before he takes the field. I find it difficult to believe that the Khans, Tad Dickman, Coughlin, Caldwell or Marrone would ever allow that to happen. Or allow local media to destroy a player.

Call me a bandwagon fan, I will own it, but know this, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be my last team because this is home. This is where I belong. In the South, with southern fans, southern charm and writing about a franchise that is run with military precision and leads the NFL in innovation.

HOORAH and Go Jags!

 

 

I’LL ALWAYS CHEER, NEVER BOO A JAGS PLAYER OR THE TEAM! 

4-3 formation, Cover 2 and other Defensive terms: Football 101

Jacksonville uses what is called a 4-3 formation. It employs four guys on the line called, Defensive Linemen, and four Linebackers. What formation a team uses, is determined by the personnel. In order for the tougher 3-4 to work, it needs a really good Nose Tackle and four superb linebackers. Most teams don’t have both.

Below is a base 4-3 Defense (under) in a Cover 2. This is a standard formation, for a standard play, usually on downs one and two against an average team. The defensive backs are in a Cover 2 (2 cornerbacks and 2 safeties).

To avoid saying generally and usually fifty times throughout the piece, please assume almost everything is a ‘usually’. This is about covering the Basics. Football 101. Just know that defenses use many formations that are based on down, distance and offensive formations, etc.

Going to put current names for positions to give you an idea of who plays where and why.

In case you were wondering, football diagrams always have the defense on top, so while it looks like the L should be R and vice versa, the players are facing the offenses; therefore, the diagram is correct.

Defensive Linemen (4-3)

*Both Ngakoue and Campbell do switch sides dependent on different factors*

The Right Defensive End is currently Yannick Ngakoue. DE’s are big guys, but also agile because the best ones can get to the QB and hit him, but also stop running backs.

Left Defensive End That’s Calais Campbell. Great ends like Campbell, can read the offense and know it’s a pass play and bull doze his way through the line to sack or break up the pass. He is a rare breed because he’s huge, bigger than most DE’s, but has the quickness of a smaller guy.

In a 4-3, ends are tasked with stopping the pass and harassing the QB. In a 3-4, the outside linebackers are predominately who do that because the ends (or at least one of them) is focused on stopping the run.

Defensive tackles (4-3)

There are two types: Nose Tackles and Tackles. They line up side by side.

Nose Tackle – Marcell Dareus and Abry Jones. NT’s are tasked with lining up based on the center.  NT’s are usually the biggest mamajamma of the starters. NT need long arms and superhuman strength, they set the tone, keep teams from running up the middle and force running backs to the edge. The Jags want teams to abandon the run and pass the ball because they have the best secondary on the planet.

In addition, forcing the run to the edge gives more time for the defenders on that side to get there to make a tackle. They’re also easier to see. When you have eight HUGE bodies on the LOS, a small RB can be tough to spot.

Defensive Tackle. Malik Jackson He takes on a Guard along with either a offensive tackle or the center depending on the play. The NT & DT work together to stop the run. Teams can and do swap out the NT for two DT depending on the play. In another article, I talk about techniques and that determines how these guys line up.

Linebackers

In a 4-3 defense, you have 3 LB’s, a Weak (Will), Middle (Mike) and Strong (Sam). LB’s can and do line up wherever they want depending on the play. For Jax’s base defense, I set it up on the offense in a 11 formation (1 RB, 1 TE). Each have certain roles: stop whatever type of body comes their way. Clog up the middle of the field, discouraging passes. Cover any passes that are to the middle of the field. In plays to the corners, back them up. Sack the quarterback.

Inside Linebackers (Will) and Inside Linebacker (Mike)

The Will  (Telvin Smith Sr. ) is usually smaller and quicker than the Mike and has better cover skills. He’s often going to get tasked to watch the slot, if there is one, but their job is to tackle any one with the ball in their hands.

Mike (Myles Jack wasn’t down) is the usually the run stopper and power tackler. DC’s (defensive coordinators) can use different skill sets to become a match-up nightmare. It all starts with the Fearsome Foursome (DL). Those men need to stuff/slow down the rush because if the Will is the ‘cover guy’, he’s not going to be great at stopping the run by himself.

*a MLB is referred to as Mike, but it is not the same as being the MIKE (read here for more info)*

Outside Linebacker (Sam), in a 3-4 there’s also a 4th guy, I call him Elephant, he’s their premier edge rusher. Leon Jacobs If you look below, you’ll see there is a TE in my typical offense. That is the strong side because there are more players on that side of the ball. If an offense uses two wide receivers on each side of the ball, the defense decides which side is more likely to be the “play” side and puts the Sam there.

Sams have two jobs: rush the QB and stop the outside runner. They typically are the LB that is the quickest with the best agility to bend under a reaching OT/TE.

Defensive Backs

The defensive players who cover the back field are called; defensive backs. They are the secondary line of defense, hence they’re also referred to as the secondary. DB’s are broken down into two types: corners and safeties. Cornerbacks tend to cover the corners of the field, the edges. Safeties cover the back and linebackers, the middle section.

Right Cornerback. A.J. Bouye. Jacksonville is blessed to have two CB’s so gifted. Shutdown corners rarely get the accolades they deserve. Players who make interceptions get the splashy news, but what’s overlooked is in order for an interception to happen, the ball has to be thrown to the player the corner is covering. The unsung hero is the guy who’s sticky glue taking away an option for the QB.

Left Cornerback is currently Jalen Ramsey The left CB lines up across from the Z WR. The Z is the quickest and fastest receiver and since he lines up closest to the QB and easiest to see, he gets a lot of action. This means his CB must be as quick and shifty.

In man coverage, if an opponent moves its WR1 or 2 to the other side, a CB will move with them. In zone coverage, he stays put and covers whomever comes into his area. A CB’s job is to not let the WR he is ‘covering’, to catch the ball, if he does, stop him quickly.

CB’s are fast, agile and must be scholars of the game. They’re in a battle of wits against the WR, and the QB. They anticipate what the play is, where the QB is going to throw the ball, stick with the WR who’s facing forward while he’s facing backward and within very tight rules of “no’s’. If you’d like t read more about corners, read here on standard, hard and soft press.

If plays get past the LB’s and the CB’s (yikes), the Safeties are there for mop duty. There are two kinds and they line up with the Strong Safety on the left and the Free Safety on the right.

As stated above, when the guys in front of them mess up, it’s up to these safety nets to keep the play out of the End Zone. The Strong Safety is the guy made to stop the run. He’s the bouncer. He’s got his eyes on the rusher and will move up to get him. Barry Church is our thumper.

SS play closer to the line. Occasionally they know a play is a pass and they will full on rush the passer. The types of attacks on the QB will be covered on another day as there are different ways. Since he’s bigger, he’s often teamed up with a LB to take on a receiving TE.

The Free Safety (Tashaun Gipson Sr.) plays further back, he is tasked with the deeper pass, either moving quickly to stop the WR who caught the ball already or break one up. He’s also the guy who reads the play so well, he calls out to his fellow DB’s what’s what.

While each safety has an expertise, stopping the run or coverage for a pass, both must be great tacklers. While the SS may be better at it, the FS is no slump. And while the FS has better hands and cover skills, the SS still must be a ball hawk, too.
Hope this was informative. Ask any questions below.