JACKSONVILLE – Todd Wash isn't worried about talent. Or big plays.
The Jaguars' defense has plenty of the first, and the unit got plenty of the second a year ago. That left another focus for Wash entering the 2018 season.
"The biggest thing with our whole unit is we have to have consistency, down in and down out," Wash, the Jaguars' defensive coordinator, said Thursday.
Wash discussed multiple individual Jaguars players when he met with the media Thursday before the fifth practice of Jaguars 2018 Organized Team Activities at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Fields, calling rookie third-round safety Ronnie Harrison better than the Jaguars expected and also lauding the offseason play thus far of free-agent nickel corner D.J. Hayden.
"You see him growing within our package," Wash said of Hayden.
Wash also said rookie first-round defensive tackle Taven Bryan has picked up the defensive scheme "extremely well."
"He's a sharp young man," Wash said. "We draft smart players, which is very important in our process. Where we're at now, we can draft good and intelligent players."
When Wash discussed the defense in general, maintaining a high level from game to game and play to play was the overriding theme.
"We have to do it down in and down out," Wash said.
The Jaguars finished second in the NFL in fewest yards allowed last season with a talented unit that included six Pro Bowl selections: ends Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue, tackle Malik Jackson, linebacker Telvin Smith and cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. The unit also finished second in the NFL in sacks (55) and interceptions (21) and led the NFL with seven defensive touchdowns.
Wash focused Thursday on areas that must improve.
"We have to eliminate some of the big plays," he said. "If we play consistent, fundamental football obviously with the players we have we have a good chance of being successful."
Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone when discussing the defense earlier this week mentioned defending third-and-6 situations as an offseason priority. Wash also said Thursday that is an offseason focus.
"We practice third-and-3 and [third-and-6]," Wash said when asked about improving the area. "It's simple. We work on that down and distance. We study a lot of teams in the league. We figure out what we did well and what we didn't do well and see what schematic changes we have to make and what other people are doing.
"That was a big offseason study. We have to do some things schematically and we have to do to a better job coaching."
Wash also on Thursday discussed third-year All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey, whose absence during OTAs has been a topic among observers despite the voluntary nature of the practices.
"One thing you don't have to worry about is Jalen working," Wash said. "He's an extremely prideful man. His drive is very similar to [defensive end] Yannick [Ngakoue] and [linebacker] Telvin [Smith] in that he wants to be the best in the league and he's going to do whatever it takes to get there.
"We don't worry about it. Obviously we've been in conversation with him. I'm not worried about him coming back and not being in shape; that's the last thing on my mind. We know how he prepares. When he comes back, he's going to be ready to go."