Jack Del Rio has simplified the Jaguars' gameplan for this Sunday's home-opener against the Buffalo Bills. Del Rio has made it as simple as one, two, three.
"Stop the run, run the ball, cover kicks," Del Rio offered as the keys to victory this week. Of course, not stopping the run, not running the ball and not covering kicks were the keys to defeat this past Sunday in Carolina.
The Jaguars were outgained by 129 yards in those three facets of the game, and that doesn't account for a blocked punt that resulted in a safety and a blocked field goal attempt that voided a potential game-winning kick on the final play of the game.
"It still remains at the core of playing good football," Del Rio said of the running game, run-defense and special teams. It's old-time football but "that won't change. You can get a lot of new wrinkles about football, but the bare basics of football begin with the run game … and, obviously, you've got to cover kicks."
Now, the question is: Are his players buying into their coach's strategy?
"As a defensive lineman, you have to look at yourself and say, 'What am I doing wrong?' We're going to go back to the drawing board and play the run," defensive end Hugh Douglas said.
The Jaguars went back to the "drawing board" today when they began preparations for Sunday's game against the 1-0 Bills, who stunned New England with a 31-0 shutout in week one. The Bills are being touted as the AFC's surprise team and who could argue after such a dominating performance against one of the Super Bowl favorites.
"It's fixable," Douglas said of the Jaguars' run-defense, which finished last season 25th in the league and finds itself lodged at 23 following this year's season-opener. "You change a few techniques and they can't run the ball again," Douglas added of the difference in the Jaguars' performance from the first half of this past Sunday's game to the second half.
"If you can make a team one-dimensional, that makes it easier," Douglas said.
That'll be the goal against Buffalo. The Jaguars want to stop the run and force quarterback Drew Bledsoe into a throw-only option.
"I don't know if you will ever see a better-balanced offense in the NFL," cornerback Fernando Bryant. "It's hard to beat.
"Make them one-dimensional. It would help us because you can make coverages to stop certain (pass) routes, but when they're running, you have to design eight-man fronts to stop them and that's really tough," Bryant added.
Offensively, the Jaguars want to control the ball with Fred Taylor and the running game and keep Bledsoe and company off the field. And that's old-time football, too.
"Us playing keep-away would be a good thing," said Del Rio, who will be in his Alltel Stadium debut as the Jaguars' head coach.
As far as special teams are concerned, wide receiver Jimmy Redmond, a coverage demon for the Jaguars last season, was re-signed yesterday to be a "gunner" on coverage units Sunday.
"That's my thing right now. Hopefully, I can tighten it up. I have to either make the play or force the returner to make a quick decision. It's a big part of the game and there's not a lot of guys who can do that," Redmond said.
It's old-time football and that would be just fine with the Jaguars' young coach.