Jacksonville Jaguars, Def, Jaguars
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2015 Outlook:Last updated on Aug-20-2015 by Shawn Childs
The Jaguars' defense has eight games against weak rushing attacks. Their toughest ground matchups will come against the Jets, Ravens, Texans (twice) and Carolina Panthers. Their pass defense could have problems with the Saints, Falcons and two meetings with the Indianapolis Colts. The good news for Jacksonville's pass defense is that it gets two games against Houston, two against Tennessee and meetings with the Jets and the Buccaneers.
Last year, Jacksonville allowed the sixth-most rushing yards (2,033) and 15 rushing scores, mostly because their opponents averaged 31.2 rushing attempts per game. They allowed only 4.1 yards per carry, which was better than the league average.
2010 first-round draft pick, defensive end Tyson Alualu, played so well in 2013 that Jacksonville demoted him to part-time player in 2014. He was on the field for 41.1 percent of the defensive snaps and didn't do much as a pass rusher. Odrick also has no upside in sacks and is below par against the run. DT Sen'Derrick Marks suffered a torn ACL last December, and he may not be ready for the start of the 2015 season. Marks was the Jaguars' best pass rusher last season as he compiled nine sacks, nine QB hits and 20 QB hurries. Defensive end Chris Clemons is projected to start at age 33 but may find himself on the bench soon. He played poorly for the majority of last season.
Linebacker Paul Posluszny missed the last half of 2014 with a torn pectoral muscle. He is not a plus player in any area of the game. Linebacker Telvin Smith was only a league-average defender in his rookie season. Dan Skuta was brought in for linebacker depth, but he may be forced to start with Fowler out for the year. At best, Skuta is only slightly better than the league average against the run and has limited value as a pass rusher.
The Jaguars had 45 sacks last year, tied for sixth-most in the league. They allowed the 11th-most passing yards (3,899) along with 24 touchdowns and grabbed only six interceptions.
Cornerback Dwayne Gratz played well versus the run. Receivers caught 47 of 76 passes against him for 681 yards, six TDs and one INT. Cornerback Demetrius McCray allowed only one TD in his 12 starts. Receivers hauled in 33 of 57 passes while facing him for 339 yards. Safety Johnathan Cyprien was league average in run support and got picked on in coverage for a couple of games. In those two contests, opposing receivers caught 25 of 35 passes for 399 yards and three scores. Sergio Brown has pretty much been a backup safety for the entirety of his five-year career. Last year, he graded out as being slightly above average in run and pass defense.
This defense looks brutal, but the coaching staff does game plan well enough to at least take away their opponent's No. 1 option. I don't think this defense has any upside, and it will be hard-pressed to match last season's sack total.
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