JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines the Monday that was around EverBank Field the day after a loss to the Green Bay Packers in the 2016 regular-season opener
Controlling the rush
The Jaguars' pass rush registered just one sack Sunday.
Still, Gus Bradley didn't blame the defensive line for that statistic – and the Jaguars' head coach said the pass rush generally went according to plan in the 2016 regular-season opener against Green Bay.
"We decided to go with more of a controlled pass rush," Bradley said Monday, a day after a 27-23 loss to the Packers at EverBank Field. "That's tough on the defensive line. We did not turn them loose. It was not a game like that."
The Jaguars' defensive approach Sunday focused on limiting "explosive plays" by Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who excels at creating such plays after avoiding pressure and extending plays. Bradley said the Jaguars therefore chose to rush to contain Rodgers in the pocket rather than rushing heavily and providing lanes to escape.
"One of the things we looked at was the number of explosive plays, and a lot of their explosive plays came off extended plays," Bradley said. "It was more of a detailed pass rush. We really tried to constrict him, to keep him in the pocket.
"Even when we did that, there were times we got up the field too far and he extended the play."
One such play came on the Packers' first score, when Rodgers found an escape lane and ran for a 6-yard touchdown. The Jaguars' lone sack came from defensive end Jared Odrick, who chased Rodgers down from behind for a loss of zero yards.
"To put it on the D line and say, 'We just didn't feel ya …' I have to take a lot of the blame for that because of what we were trying to do," Bradley said.
Bradley said the Packers had one explosive passing play when Rodgers extended the play.
"That's what we were hoping, that we could control that and keep those explosive passes down," Bradley said. "It wasn't enough."
Running back Chris Ivory remained hospitalized Monday after being admitted Sunday with a "general medical condition" that forced him to miss Sunday's game. The team announced Monday that his status for Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers is "in question." Bradley said he learned of Ivory's situation early Sunday morning. "He was down, obviously, not being able to play in the game," Bradley said. "He just wants to get better. I know he's feeling a little better. To what degree, I'm not really sure right now."
View player reactions to Sunday's battle against the Green Bay Packers.
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey sustained a sprained left ankle Sunday and tight end Julius Thomas sustained a sprained right ankle. Both returned to the game. Ramsey's status will be updated Wednesday and Thomas will be evaluated during the week. Cornerback Prince Amukamara reported hamstring soreness Monday, and the team will update his status later in the week.
Bradley said fourth-year veteran Luke Joeckel played well in his first regular-season game since moving from left tackle to left guard. "I think it's what we anticipated," Bradley said. "He showed up and did some really good things. In a lot of areas, he played better than we anticipated. There are things he can work on, but playing the position for the first time … pretty good, pretty solid play. He didn't grade out the best of all of them [the offensive linemen] nor was he the worst."
… NOTABLE II …
Defensive end Tyson Alualu was inactive Sunday, breaking a streak of 96 consecutive games played to start his career. Bradley said the decision was because the Jaguars wanted pass-rush oriented defensive linemen active in an effort to contain Rodgers. "It's tough," Bradley said. "I don't think he's ever been down. It's by game, what we looked at, what we needed. We had an idea they were going to come out in a lot of three-wide looks and to have the rushers up more than we would against a heavier run team."
… AND NOTABLE III
The Jaguars took their third and final timeout Sunday with 7:29 remaining in the fourth quarter. The first timeout came with the Jaguars on defense late in the third quarter and the second two came on a 14-play, 37-yard possession that ended with a 50-yard field goal by Jason Myers.* "*There are situations that come in a game and we tell [quarterback] Blake [Bortles] if there's a look that he doesn't like and doesn't feel comfortable with and he can't get out of it, he has that freedom [to call timeout]. Those things happen." Bradley added of timeouts, "They're precious. You want to be able to have them at the end of the game. It's not the ideal situation."
"I thought for the most part our coverage was pretty tight. There were a couple where we let some guys loose. But he [Rodgers] is a great quarterback. Some of the throws he made were perfect throws. You can't fault our guys. They just made great plays. That's part of the NFL."
"He's learning both positons, the Mike [middle linebacker] and the Will [weakside linebacker]. We're trying to do everything we can to speed this process up. This was a tough game mentally going into it. He's made great strides and we're going keep pushing him, but he has to be able to know what his responsibilities are at all times. You saw it yesterday [Sunday]. If you're not on it all the time these quarterbacks will make you pay."
--Bradley on rookie linebacker Myles Jack