Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars - LIVE: 'D' focused on improving interceptions


JACKSONVILLE – One half of the number was A-OK.

The number is the Jaguars' takeaway total, a number that includes interceptions and fumbles recovered. As Jaguars defensive coordinator Bob Babich saw it, the second part – fumble recoveries – was fine this past season.

The first number?

Well, the interception number was a bit of a mystery much of the season, and when Babich appeared on LIVE Wednesday he said a big focus as coaches review the 2014 season is finding good answers to legitimate questions in that area.

"As far as takeaways … good and bad," Babich said Wednesday. "We were (third) in the NFL in caused fumbles and No. 2 in recovered fumbles. That's a good thing. That's a real good thing because that's taking the ball away.

"Interceptions? Not as good, so we need to evaluate and find out exactly what we can do to help our players make more plays on the ball and get more interceptions."

The Jaguars (3-13), who ranked No. 26 in the NFL in total defense this past season, not only led the NFL in sacks/forced fumbles with 12, they were third overall in forced fumbles with 21 and second with 14 fumble recoveries. They also finished sixth in the NFL with 45 sacks.

But they also finished with six interceptions, which tied Kansas City and the New York Jets for the lowest total in the NFL.

"We have to take a look at everything we're doing from a coverage standpoint," Babich said. "Do we need to do possibly more man coverage? Do we need to zone better, where everybody's breaking to the ball? How many opportunities did we have to get interceptions and did we take advantage of them?

"One of the things we do talk about is catching the ones that are thrown to you. Defensive players always think they have great hands, but there are a lot of different things we can look at to try to get that better. But it's definitely something we're aware of."

As much as any statistic, Babich said what he liked about the defense this past season was a professional approach that remained consistent no matter the circumstance.

"The No. 1 thing that sticks out in my mind good about the defense was their energy, effort and attitude throughout the whole season," Babich said. "No matter what the situation was, they came out to do what was best for the team. We couldn't ask anything more from them in that regard.

"The year before was good in that regard, too, but they really did a good job this year with that."

With Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley continuing the search for an offensive coordinator, the rest of the coaching staff is at EverBank Field this week preparing to coach the South team in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, next week.

The Jaguars on Wednesday reportedly met with former Buffalo Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone, though it wasn't immediately clear for what position. They also reportedly will interview Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson for the offensive coordinator position. The latter spent the 2012 season as the Jaguars' quarterbacks coach under then-Head Coach Mike Mularkey.

The Jaguars previously reportedly have interviewed Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson and former 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman, the latter of whom took the same position Tuesday with the Buffalo Bills. They also reportedly made an inquiry into Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator/line coach Bill Callahan and reportedly planned to interview former Chicago Bears Head Coach Marc Trestman.

The defensive staff isn't expected to change, with Babich entering his third season as the coordinator, Todd Wash entering his third season as defensive line coach, DeWayne Walker entering his third season as secondary coach and Robert Saleh entering his second season as linebackers coach.

"We really like our staff," Babich said, adding of the continuity, "It's a good thing for sure."

Following the Senior Bowl, coaches prepare for the offseason program to begin in mid-April, and also evaluate film of college players and potential free agents. Babich said a critical part of the process is the evaluation of the team's defensive personnel and defensive system.

"In all the years I've been in coaching, during the spring you're able to find out good things and bad things that have happened to you during the past season," Babich said. "As the season goes on, maybe you don't have enough time to tear it down like you do in the spring.

"You'd like to think the things that are obvious you pick them up during the season but there are little things here and there that as you watch the whole season maybe they keep showing up – and they are things that maybe can help us get better."

Also around the Jaguars Wednesday:

*The team announced it will hold a press conference Thursday at 2 p.m. to celebrate the retirement of former fullback Greg Jones. A second-round selection from Florida State by the Jaguars in the 2004 NFL Draft, Jones played nine seasons with the Jaguars before signing with the Houston Texans as an unrestricted free agent before the 2013 season. …

*Defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks underwent reconstructive surgery on the torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained in the regular-season finale. Marks led the Jaguars with 8.5 sacks this past season. …

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