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Notes and observations: Coordinator Thursday


JACKSONVILLE – Nathaniel Hackett was as surprised as anyone.

A goal-line defense in the middle of the field? In the middle of the game?

That essentially was how the St. Louis Rams' defense played much of a 27-17 victory over the Jaguars this past Sunday. And while the approach surprised the Jaguars, their offensive coordinator on Thursday said it shouldn't be surprising moving forward.

"We now have to be prepared for that stuff," Hackett said Thursday as the Jaguars (3-3) prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts (2-4) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. "We're running the ball pretty good, and we have to be ready for them to officially put everybody down there."

Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette through six games has rushed for 596 yards and six touchdowns, and the Jaguars lead the NFL in rushing. That has led to teams stacking the line much of the season, but Hackett on Thursday said what Head Coach Doug Marrone and quarterback Blake Bortles said early this week – that the Rams' approach of five or six linemen and two or three linebackers in the "box" was a more extreme approach than what the Jaguars had previously faced.

"It kind of stunned us at first," Hackett said. "We were like, 'Wow, is that really goal-line out there versus 21 (two backs, one tight end, two wide receivers]?'"

Hackett said the Jaguars ideally would have thrown more passes downfield in those situations.

"That's why we amped up the pass game as that went on," Hackett said.

All three Jaguars coordinators – Hackett on offense, Todd Wash on defense and Joe DeCamillis on special teams – spoke to the media Thursday. Notes and observations from Coordinator Thursday:

*The Jaguars lead the NFL this season with 23 sacks, with all but three coming from defensive linemen. The Jaguars' success in getting pressure with four linemen has enabled them to avoid blitzing, something defensive coordinator Todd Wash said Thursday is a positive in this defensive scheme. "I'm not a big blitz guy if we don't have to, obviously," Wash said. Defensive end Calais Campbell has eight sacks, with ends Dante Fowler Jr. and Yannick Ngakoue registering four each. Safety Barry Church, linebacker Telvin Smith and linebacker Myles Jack all have one sack each for the team's only sacks from the back seven. "If we can just rush four and try to take care of the passing game that way, we will," Wash said. …

*Thursday was first coordinator access since the special teams allowed two touchdowns in a loss to the Rams: a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the game, and another touchdown on a six-yard return of a blocked punt late in the second quarter. "A pitiful feeling," DeCamillis said of the punt-block touchdown. A 16-yard punt by punter Brad Nortman also led directly to a Rams field goal. "It was a rough one," DeCamillis said. "Hopefully, we can get past it and get going for this week. Both of them are correctable. The bad thing is both of them were really more a physical play than a mental play. You have free hitters and you have to make the tackle; you have a free player and you have to make the block." …

*DeCamillis called releasing kicker Jason Myers Tuesday "hard," saying "it's a disappointment, but hopefully we made the right decision." The Jaguars signed Josh Lambo Tuesday to replace Myers, who missed two 54-yard field-goal attempts Sunday. Myers converted 11 of 15 field-goal attempts this season with three misses from more than 50 yards; he also missed two extra-point attempts. Lambo played the past two seasons with San Diego, making 52 of 64 field goals and 70 of 78 extra points. "He had a good workout for us, and we felt comfortable with him," DeCamillis said of Lambo. "Some of his misses I think were protection-related. We think he's got a bright future. Hopefully, we can get him going in the right direction. … I feel like right now it's the best thing for the organization. We'll see where it goes from here." …

*Fournette (ankle) was one of three Jaguars players not practicing for a second consecutive day Thursday with the others being wide receiver Marqise Lee (knee) and center Brandon Linder (illness); Fournette told reporters while his status will be determined by coaches, he believes he will be able to play Sunday. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey (calf) and tight end Marcedes Lewis (shoulder) practiced limited for a second consecutive day and cornerback A.J. Bouye (hamstring) and safety Tashaun Gipson (neck) practiced limited after not practicing Wednesday. Bortles (right wrist) practiced full for a second consecutive day. …

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