The Jaguars snapped their six-game losing streak that extended back to the 2015 season this weekend against the Indianapolis Colts by winning 30-27, and quite frankly, it’s about damn time. While we still remain suspect in some areas on the field, overall, the Jaguars turned out a pretty good performance at Wembley Stadium. In the game against the Colts we saw both encouraging signs and a continuation of positive trends for our rookies.
Jalen Ramsey: We’ve confirmed the hype is real about our first-round pick. Ramsey had 4 solo tackles and is quickly becoming our most reliable corner in coverage. Ramsey has been tested and passed. Randall Cobb, Steve Smith Sr., T.Y. Hilton, all we’re for the most part locked down by our promising rookie. The Jaguars defense is ranked fifth in the NFL in passing yards allowed per-game, which is an impressive stat considering our defensive-secondary added several new members this offseason. The only mistake, which wasn’t really Ramseys’ fault, was the blown coverage on Phillip Dorsett that led to a long passing touchdown in the fourth quarter. From watching the play it’s clear that Jalen was trying to jump the underneath route and allowed Dorsett to run his deep route under the assumption that the safety was back protecting against the deep ball. This can sometimes happen in a single-high-safety scheme and can be fixed with better pre-snap communication.
Josh Johnson: Although Johnson is not technically rookie, (he was an undrafted free agent in 2013 and didn’t make a team), this is his first season on an NFL roster. Johnson, in his first career major role on defense, had 5 tackles, a combined sack with Poz, and a pass break-up on fourth down that sealed the game. The Jaguars front office should really look to make a permanent roster spot for Johnson. If you can remember, Johnson also had a couple of interceptions in preseason, and one actually went for touchdown. Even if he isn’t getting a large number of snaps he can at the very least continue to contribute on special teams. Aaron Colvin will likely be getting most of the snaps at nickel-back when he returns from suspension this week and his return will require the Jaguars to move a player down to the practice squad. After Johnsons’ game against the Colts, my vote would be for the Jags to cut Dwayne Gratz.
Myles Jack: We finally got to see Myles Jack playing meaningful snaps in place of injured Dan Skuta and he did not disappoint. Jack racked up four combined tackles and had a pass break-up but unfortunately we saw his snaps dwindle toward the end of the game. For some reason when the game gets close, Todd Wash and Gus Bradley don’t seem to fully trust Jack on the field and this trend makes me wonder if the rookie is struggling with the mental responsibilities associated with where they want to plug him into our defensive scheme. Whatever the reason for his late game absence, it’s obvious Myles Jack remains the better option over Dan Skuta in coverage.
Yannick Ngakoue: Through four games Yannick has been the Jaguars most consistent defensive lineman. The Jaguars 2016 third-round pick had his third game with a sack and now has three forced fumbles. Ngakoue also had four solo tackles, not to mention his first career interception off a tipped pass by Dante Fowler Jr. That’s quite the stat sheet for the rookie out of Maryland and it seems the Jags may have gotten a steal on draft day. Even if Yannick isn’t actually getting a sack he’s seemingly always in the backfield, moving and disrupting the opposing teams’ pocket. I want to see more packages with both Yannick and Dante on the field going after the quarterback.
Sheldon Day: Day had about the same amount snaps as he did last week but after his performance against the Colts, I wouldn’t be surprised if he saw more playing time in our next game. Sheldon Day also came up with a clutch tackle for loss in the fourth quarter and provided consistent pressure in limited snaps. Just like the rest of our defensive line, Day is getting better every game.
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