Its fair to say that the air has left the Jaguars sails. Jaguars fans across the country who were proudly donning the black and teal before the season are doing their best to explain to how we could’ve lost like we did to an average San Diego team. We have been humbled. Luckily, this Sunday we suit up against the weakest 2-0 team in the NFL. Let’s take a look at what the Jaguars MUST do better to beat the Ravens this weekend.
1. Start Hot.
Blake Bortles seemingly made it his mission to turn the ball over in the first half of the Jaguars game against the Chargers. The Jaguars have to be able get the ball into the end zone against a team that has proved in the proceeding weeks that they can close out defensive games. Bortles has 3 career first quarter TDs — The Jaguars must get on the board early.
2. Establish the run-game.
Ivory is back at practice this week and is going to get some play in this one. Yeldon has a measly 67 yards through two games and the team as a whole has 117 yards on 37 total carries. Not exactly what I’d call explosive. This may be increasingly difficult considering the Jaguars are going to be thin on the offensive line this Sunday.
3. Get to the quarterback.
We saw some life from the young members of our pass-rush in the latter part of the game against San Diego when Fowler and Ngakoue combined for 3 sacks and a forced fumble. The Jaguars must build on that effort. The Ravens offensive line to this point has been effective at protecting Joe Flacco and that has been crucial to them sustaining drives and controlling the tempo. If the Ravens are able to convert on third down consistently the Jaguars are in big, big trouble.
4. Keep Poz and Skuta out of coverage.
This was a glaring weakness in 2015 and is something Gus Bradley critics are justified in berating him about. We drafted Myles Jack because our linebackers are truthfully incompetent in coverage, yet for some unfathomable reason we still see Skuta and Posluszny on the field on third down. On one play last weekend Poz was even caught in coverage on speed receiver (perhaps, the fastest in the game) Travis Benjamin and as you can expect, it didn’t go well. The Ravens targeted tight end Dennis Pitta 12 times in their last game and traditionally we would see either a linebacker or a safety covering Pitta. Defensively, this has to be an area of concern and consequently an area of increased attention in practice this week. We used to talk optimistically about Paul Posluszny's ability to put the Jaguars defense in the right position but it has become obvious to everyone but Todd Walsh and Gus Bradley that he can no longer compete in coverage. Skuta should never be on the field on third down unless he is blitzing because he just doesn’t have the speed to keep up with most tight ends.
5. Pay close attention to Mike Wallace in the red zone.
All week, in every practice, I would be talking about and scheming against Mike Wallace. Wallace is responsible for all of the Ravens touchdowns this year and our red-zone defensive game plan has to be centered on containing him. The Ravens play-calling was heavily skewed toward the passing game in the first two weeks and I’m sure their mouths are watering for a shot at a defense that was porous against a depleted San Diego offense last week.
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