JACKSONVILLE – Call it a reemphasis. Or a recommitment.
Whatever you call it, make no mistake:
Jaguars defensive players are always thinking about takeaways. And as they prepare for a key AFC South game a few days after their first game this season with none, the thinking is particularly strong.
"It's a focus of ours," defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell said Thursday as the Jaguars (2-3) prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts (2-2-1) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., Sunday at 1 p.m.
The focus typically has produced this season.
The Jaguars, after forcing an NFL-low nine turnovers in 2022, led the NFL with nine takeaways through four games. Their first game without a takeaway this season came this past Sunday in a 13-10 loss to the Houston Texans at TIAA Bank Field.
"Anytime you focus on something and it doesn't happen, you come back to work that Wednesday just like they did yesterday," Caldwell said. "They came back, and they were focused on creating turnovers, and that's what you have to do."
The area figures to be Sunday. Colts quarterback Matt Ryan leads the NFL with 11 fumbles through five games, with one of those fumbles coming in a 24-0 Week 2 loss to the Jaguars – a game in which the Jaguars sacked Ryan five times.
"That's one of the things we try to do all the time is pressure the quarterback," Caldwell said of the Jaguars, who have registered 10 sacks through five games. "He (Ryan) is a veteran quarterback, he's savvy. He understands when to get rid of the ball, so we just have to go out there and try to stay committed to what we truly believe in and go from there."
Ryan this season is also tied for the NFL lead with seven interceptions. The Jaguars intercepted Ryan three times in Week 2.
"They come in bunches, and we didn't get one [this past Sunday]," Caldwell said. "That's another thing we've got to continue to get better at, turning the ball over and giving the offense another chance.
"That's our mindset, and we're going to continue to work at it."
- Tight end Evan Engram on Sunday had his most productive game since signing with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent from the New York Giants this past March. Engram, a first-round selection by the Giants in the 2017 NFL Draft, caught six passes for 69 yards against the Texans and now has 19 receptions for 168 yards this season. "He's a guy we try to get the football to," Head Coach Doug Pederson said of Engram. "You see his physicality in the run game. He's not a big guy, but he still wants to pride himself on being physical. He does that. You Sunday how he can stretch the middle of the field. It's exactly what you want. He's everything you want."
- With left guard Ben Bartch on injured reserve and out for the season with a knee injury sustained against the Texans, veteran center/guard Tyler Shatley – the team's "swing" interior offensive lineman – will start at left guard Sunday. "I hate to see Ben get hurt," Shatley said. "I'm trying to do whatever I can to help the team win. I'll step in and hopefully we'll get this thing rolling." Said Taylor: "He's a guy as a coaching staff, we trust. He knows what's going on, he knows how the speed of the game goes, he works well with the people next to him, so we expect production out of Tyler as well."
- The Jaguars' injury report remained unchanged Thursday. Defensive end Foley Fatukasi was listed as practicing limited with a quad injury that kept him out against the Texans Sunday. The Jaguars listed three other players as practicing limited for a second consecutive day Thursday: Linebacker Foye Oluokun (calf), wide receiver Zay Jones (ankle) and defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton (foot).