Jaguars' defensive coordinator Todd Wash met with the media on Thursday and made one thing very clear: the Jaguars defense is not changing, not even a little.
Todd Wash's defensive scheme is a 4-3. That means the base package sees four down lineman, three linebackers, and four defensive backs. Wash's version of the 4-3 was a point of criticism throughout the 2018 campaign. One of the biggest critiques of his scheme is the way he uses his cornerbacks. Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye are two of the best cornerbacks in the game. Since Todd Wash became the defensive coordinator in 2016, cornerbacks have lined up off the ball the vast majority of the time, which has negated some of their natural ability to play a physical brand of football closer to the line of scrimmage. That strategy has allowed opposing offenses to dink and dunk down the field in many crucial instances.
Media members, opponents, and even players on the Jaguars roster have noted that if a team knows how to attack that style of defense, it's like taking candy from a baby.
But Todd Wash has been bullish throughout his tenure as the Jaguars defensive coordinator in his belief that his scheme will work. That continued on Thursday.
When asked if the Jaguars might employ some 3-4 concepts in 2019, Wash took a hard line: "No we're a 4-3. It's what we always have been, and as long as I'm here, that's what we'll be."
Many, including myself, inferred that the selection of Josh Allen, who played both linebacker and defensive end in college, was a sign that the Jaguars might throw some new wrinkles into their defense.
Wash also put that notion to bed: "Josh Allen was drafted to be a defensive end." He went on to say, "I don't know how much we move him (Josh Allen) around; he's a defensive end."
Wash was once again asked about Allen dropping into coverage. His tone did not change: "He did a real nice job dropping in college. I can't honestly say as a D-Line coach that I get real excited about a 15 sack guy dropping into coverage. So hopefully you won't see too much of that."
Some will undoubtedly criticize Wash's unwillingness to be flexible when it comes to his scheme and how he utilizes his players. And that may be fair, to an extent. The Jaguars star-studded defense finished just 14th in third-down defense, allowing opposing offenses to convert on 37.7% of third downs last year.
But it's important to remember that the Jaguars have been one of the best defenses in football under Todd Wash's direction. The Jaguars finished 5th in total defense in 2018, second in 2017, and sixth in 2016. Jacksonville is one of just two teams (Minnesota) to finish in the top six in total defense in each of the past three seasons.
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