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Jaguars plan to attack


Jack Del Rio and defensive coordinator Mike Smith want to install a disruptive philosophy into the Jaguars' defensive scheme this season. But do the Jaguars have the personnel capable of playing that kind of aggressive scheme?

"I think we have the secondary to be aggressive like that," cornerback Jason Craft said following this morning's "passing camp" drills at Alltel Stadium.

Craft and Fernando Bryant are the Jaguars' incumbent starting cornerbacks. They have played impressively throughout the Jaguars' two mini-camps and the first two days of this casual-atmosphere "passing camp."

"I think we've made it more competitive with the guys we've added," Del Rio said of his defensive backfield, which includes returning safeties Donovin Darius and Marlon McCree, and newcomers Rashean Mathis and James Trapp. Mathis is the Jaguars' second-round draft choice and will try his hand first at cornerback. Trapp is a veteran safety and specials team player who comes to Jacksonville from Baltimore.

"The guys have been real receptive to learning the techniques and fundamentals we want them to use," Del Rio added.

Craft and Bryant bear one half of the burden of making the defensive scheme of this new era work. The other half of the burden belongs to defensive end Hugh Douglas and the pass-rush.

"Once we put the pads on, we'll see how our front is going to turn out. It always starts up front; that means we can be more aggressive in the defensive backfield," Craft said of the pass-rush prospects Douglas and a healthy Tony Brackens would present.

"You have to have a good push up front to cover and get sacks," Bryant said.

Bryant's satisfaction has increased greatly in recent weeks. He likes the scheme Del Rio and Smith are installing, and Bryant said he has been given assurances the team will pay him the $500,000 roster bonus due on June 1 and retain his services for the final year of his contract.

"I'm secure with the fact I know they want me to have a great year and if they can persuade me to stay, then fine. I know how they want me to play this game. I know this is a business. You can't worry about off-the-field stuff," Bryant said.

"I've talked to Jack and coach Smith. For the first time since my rookie year, they want me to play ball the way I want to play ball. Any time you have that much confidence in a player, the player wants to go out and perform," Bryant added.

It appears he will certainly be given the opportunity to do that.

"They believe in attacking. Even in 'cover three' (three-deep safeties in a zone scheme), it's more of a man-type concept," Bryant said of the matchup-zone scheme Del Rio and Smith are teaching.

"Cover three" was something the Jaguars played quite a bit last season, but Bryant said the interpretations are "completely different. The way they want you to play it makes you more aggressive. They're putting more emphasis on the corners instead of the safeties.

"When you have too many reads, you can't play fast, and that's what I've always been known for, playing fast," Bryant added.

Douglas knows he and his pass-rush mates hold the key to the secondary's success.

"It does work hand in hand. If they don't work well, I don't work well, and if I don't do my job up front, it makes their job tougher," Douglas said.

"I think they're pretty good. They're young and aggressive," he added of Bryant and Craft. "It's still real early. The verdict is still out. But we have a chance to make some noise. They got a lot of young guys here who've got a lot of motor."

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