At Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, Don Carey and Courtney Greene will step into the starting jobs at the two safety positions with the hope of stabilizing positions that have been a veritable turnstile of player movement.
In the last 54 games, 10 different players have started at the two safety positions: Sammy Knight, Gerald Sensabaugh, Reggie Nelson, Brian Williams, Pierson Prioleau, Sean Considine, Gerald Alexander, Brian Russell, Anthony Smith and Greene have all taken their turns. Sunday, Carey will make it 11.
We're talking about the most problematic place on the Jaguars team. If the free safety is the "quarterback" of the defense, then the Jaguars defense is the equivalent of the Cleveland Browns offense.
Just since the start of this year's preseason, the starters at the two safety positions have included Nelson, Alexander, Smith, Considine and, now, Carey and Greene. Nelson and Smith were traded and Alexander was cut, twice. If continuity breeds consistency, then the lack of continuity at safety may be considered one reason for the Jaguars' overall lack of consistency.
Carey and Greene have been installed at the two positions with the intent of developing them for the future. Maybe, just maybe, they'll become fixtures at the position. The last time the Jaguars enjoyed such stability at safety was for the few years that Donovin Darius and Deon Grant patrolled the back line.
Greene is a hitter. He's got strong safety written all over him and he's already forced a fumble with a big hit. Carey's a thinker. He's got the smarts to make the calls a free safety has to make, and Carey has the coverage skills of a borderline cornerback to stop defenses from throwing the ball over the top of the Jaguars defense with ridiculous ease.
"Take advantage of my opportunity; that's what you practice for every day. I played safety in college more than I played corner," said Carey, whose expectation for himself is to "do my job, nothing more or less."
Maybe these guys will be the answer. If not, the turnstile count will grow.
Here are 10 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the Chiefs.
1. Slow down the tempo—The Jaguars are not going to win a high-tempo game. The fewer the plays, the better.
2. Get off the field—The Jaguars are 26th in the league in third-down defense. That won't work in any league.
3. Stop the run—The Chiefs are number one in the league in rushing. We'll find out on Sunday just how good this young Jaguars defensive line really is.
4. Find a way—Yeah, I know, given the state of the quarterback position, this isn't a good time to have to make plays in the passing game, but the Chiefs are 27th in pass-defense and fifth in rush-defense and the Jags may have no choice but to throw to win.
5. Play harder—Because playing hard isn't good enough.
6. Beware specials teams—The Chiefs' "teams" are good, too.
7. Block Hali—He's a big-time pass-rusher.
8. Know what's at stake—At 3-3, this is a crossroads game. A win would guarantee being a playoff contender into the middle of Nov.
9. Catch the ball—There were too many drops in the last game.
10. Atone—The Monday night performance cast the franchise in a terrible light. The lights won't be as bright for this game, but critics will be watching.