JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Inconsistent, is the best way to describe the Jaguars defense. During a two game winning streak in November they allowed a total of 33 points. In the last two weeks, both losses, they’ve given up 31 and 42 points respectively.
“It’s very frustrating,” said defensive coordinator Bob Babich. “It’s an emphasis of us. We’ve been talking about it, so you know what we’re not doing. To me, it’s something that’s very hard to evaluate, our guys are good guys. They go out there and they work hard. They do the things we ask them to do. The struggle the last two weeks; last week, there was some inconsistency with the tackling and things like that. I can’t put a finger on it. I don’t know what to tell you. It’s discouraging.”
On any given week it’s hard to determine which version of the defense is going to show up. At the beginning of the season they had a tough time causing turnovers. With 14 takeaways on the season the Jaguars are ranked in the bottom third of the league. When it’s not turnovers, its lack of pressure on the quarterback, missed tackles or simply getting beat in coverage.
“You’re hoping for more consistency throughout,” said coach Gus Bradley. “There’s going to be times where a defense might play better some games than the other, but the wide variety; 13 points here and then 50 points I think that’s the problem the more disappointing thing. How we bounce back I would think the passing game we’d like to have a little bit more effect on that. I’m pleased where the run game is but more consistency in the passing game putting the two rushing covers together.”
The Jaguars issues on the defensive of the ball have been heightened on third downs and the red-zone. Last week the Titans went 8-of-13 on third down and scored on three of their four trips inside the red-zone.
“First and second downs, we’ve been doing fairly good and we’ve been putting ourselves in position too,” said Babich. “I just addressed this with the defense. We’ve been putting ourselves in position to get off the field. Starting with me, we need to make sure that we put ourselves in position to get off the field. That’s the big thing. It’s disappointing that it’s not where we want to be or where we expected to be. Just two weeks ago, we gave up just one touchdown. The last two games have been disappointing."