Lost in the Jaguars forgettable 2018 campaign is just how good the defense was for the Big Cats this season. Earning just five wins on the year, after making it all the way to the AFC Championship in 2017, it's hard to blame fans for not being more excited about the Jaguars defensive performance this year. But when you take a look back at what the Jags did on that side of the ball, they were truly impressive.
Before we get started, yes, I do realize that this group gave up 30 and 40 points in consecutive weeks to the Chiefs (the defense really on gave up 23 points in this one, but I digress) and Cowboys. But even the most dominant defenses in NFL history have had a stinker or two. The 2000 Ravens gave up 36 points to the Jaguars. The 1985 Bears gave up 38 points in a loss the Dolphins. I'm not putting what the Jaguars defense did in 2018 up against those two dominant groups, I'm just saying it should be remembered as one of the best defenses in the league this season and in franchise history.
I found some of the numbers this group put up quite shocking, in a good way. They definitely didn't force as many takeaways this season and while there was a ton of pressure applies by the front seven, they didn't hit home on as many sacks as they did in 2017. This is, in large part, due to the lack of offensive success. The Jaguars were playing from behind for most of the season, which made it difficult for the Jaguars to force teams to throw the ball.
With all that said, let's take a look at some of the defensive stats.
The Jaguars finished fifth in total defense, surrendering just 311.4 yards per game. This came as no surprise to me.
In terms of scoring defense the Jaguars were tied for fourth, allowing just 19.8 point per game. This too came as no surprise.
Against the pass the Jaguars were the second best group in football. They gave up just 195 yards per game through the air.
In 10 of the Jaguars 16 games this year the defense gave up 20 points or less. With a half way decent offense that should easily be a recipe for a playoff run.
Historically this is probably a top five defense in team history. But it wasn't enough to overcome the Jaguars ineptitude on the offensive side of the ball. Had the Jaguars just been decent on offense, it would helped the defense create more sacks and turnovers. The Jaguars should be looking at a major overhaul on offense in 2019. This offseason the Jaguars must rebuild their QB position and get as many playmakers at WR, TE, and RB as possible. The O-line — that was absolutely decimated by injuries in 2018 — doesn't need too much work, but a new starting right guard will be required.
With any luck the Jaguars should be able to field a more competitive offense in 2019. If they're able to do so, this defense will do more than enough to keep this group competitive. Don't be surprised if the Jaguars are able to make a run at a division title or wild card birth in 2019.
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