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Rush didn't fix it all


The notion that a pass-rush would fix everything is proving to be incorrect. The Jaguars' pass-rush is fixed, but their inability to defend against the pass remains.

Philadelphia is the latest to torch the Jaguars secondary. Michael Vick threw for 291 yards, three touchdowns and a 119.2 passer rating on Sunday, but those numbers don't even begin to tell the worst of the story.

The worst of it all is that the Jaguars continue to surrender deep-pass completions as though they are checkdown passes to running backs.

DeSean Jackson made a 61-yard touchdown reception that staked the Eagles to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, and made another grab of 42 yards later in the game. Jeremy Maclin grabbed one for 45 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Vick, possibly the most elusive quarterback in NFL history, was sacked three times and would've likely been sacked another three times if he wasn't, well, the most elusive quarterback in NFL history.

So, after three games the Jaguars have seven sacks, half as many as they had all last season. They appear to have the makings of a fierce pass-rush, but their defense rooted itself even deeper in the league rankings in Sunday's lopsided, 28-3 loss to the Eagles. What's changed? Not much. Maybe sacks aren't really that important.

You want more bad news? Try this one: The next opponent is Peyton Manning and the Colts.

The obvious question is what can the Jaguars do to improve their pass-defense? Hey, the rush is there but so are the completions.

"We continue to be plagued by big plays over the top," coach Jack Del Rio told reporters following the game. "They made big plays and we didn't have any."

Yeah, it would certainly help if the Jaguars offense would make some big plays, but let's stick with the defense in this particular attempt at analysis and perspective. What about that pass-defense, coach? What can you do to fix it, especially with Manning coming to town?

You might remember that the last time Manning played in Jacksonville, he threw for 308 yards and four touchdowns. He was sacked no times in that game, which was par for the course for the Jaguars last year, and it was that specific lack of a pass-rush to which the Jaguars pointed their finger of blame as they headed into an offseason of repair.

Fix the pass-rush. It was an obsession. The Jaguars spent $11 million on Aaron Kampman in free agency and their first four draft picks on defensive linemen, and it worked. So what do the Jaguars have to do to fix the coverage?

The hard answer is: Draft, baby, draft. The hard part about that, of course, is that the next draft isn't until next April, which means: Wait, baby, wait. Ouch!

"I thought they would have trouble blocking our front and they did. Terrance Knighton played his best game of the year," Del Rio said.

Yeah, the big guy came to life with 1.5 sacks, a tackle for a loss, a pass-defensed and three quarterback hurries. The kid who played his college ball in Philadelphia dominated the line of scrimmage; too bad he can't play pass-defense, too.

"We're going to continue to work and hope to be better," Del Rio said when asked what the team can do to fix its pass-defense.

Anybody have any other ideas?

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