Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

The facts about the defense

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Dane from Gainesville, FL:
When asked if his team had quit, Jack Del Rio demanded any evidence of a lack of effort. On fourth and goal, on the play where Garrard was tripped up and he heaved a prayer into the end zone, the replay showed Matt Jones standing at the line of scrimmage, even after the play was over. He was jammed at the line, but it appeared that he didn't even attempt to run a route. Looks like picture-perfect quitting to me.

Vic: Why are you picking now to make this point? You could've done this after a win because Matt Jones has always been accused of being too casual. What you've done is taken one play from a game in which Jones turned in one of the best performances of his professional career, and you're using that play to indict a whole team. Jones has always been a player about whom I've said I need to see more grit and determination. I don't think the Jaguars' effort on Monday night should be judged by what Jones did on that one play. How about Maurice Jones-Drew refusing to go down and breaking several tackles on a run late in the game? Should I use that one play to judge everybody else's effort?

Mark from High Springs, FL:
It looked like the center stepped on Garrard's foot twice in Monday's game, causing him to fall down each time. Was this because of technique or was Houston's defensive line just that overpowering? In other words, could that kind of mistake be fixed by coaching?

Vic: I don't know what the answer is. Maybe Brad Meester got pushed back or got sloppy with his footwork, or maybe David Garrard was a little slow in his drop. That's the kind of fine details that losing teams seem to encounter late in the season, and it causes more losing.

Kylan from Jacksonville:
Huge Jack Del Rio fan here but I can't help but ask why every time the camera shows his face he looks in awe and "lost." I have watched him during home games and it's the same thing. Where is the fiery Jack from the past? Teams mirror their head coach's actions and I think this is another great example of that.

Vic: I don't think it is. I think you're just looking for something you can use to vent your frustration, so you've decided to cite a certain sideline expression you don't like and then use it to represent the personality of an entire team. What a bunch of crap. Hey, they got old, OK? It's not the look on their coach's face, it's the step some of his players lost. I don't expect you to believe that because it doesn't allow for much angst, but I believe it to be true.

Ryan from Mineville, NY:
With all this talk of the Hall of Fame, what about Dick LeBeau?

Vic: You mean a guy who played in the league 14 seasons and has 70 career interceptions, and then went on to become arguably the greatest defensive coordinator of all-time? No, you can't put a guy like that in the Hall of Fame. We gotta get Kurt Warner in there first. By the way, what happened to all the Matt Cassel questions? Suddenly, they've disappeared.

Mike from Jacksonville:
Please stop ranking the Jags 24th or 25th every week. We should be ranked 30th, period. The only teams we could beat right now are Detroit and maybe Seattle. Get real, Vic.

Vic: I do get real. I get real every Tuesday morning when I do my all-important power rankings and provide you with an accurate representation of where I think each team in the league fits in the order. Do your own rankings. I promise, I won't complain about where you rank the Jaguars.

Todd from Beaufort, SC:
I can show you an example of the Jaguars not quitting. Many coaches on fourth and goal, down by 13 late in the game, would take the field goal. The Jaguars went for the touchdown. A team and a coach that has quit takes the field goal. There are coaches around the league that do that. The Jaguars are not that team.

Vic: We're perseverating on this quit thing. Folks, losing has settled in. It does that to a significant faction of the league every year. If it was as simple as try harder and you'll win, then nobody would lose. There are reasons for losing that go beyond effort. Tony Pashos is a guy whose effort you would never question. He's as attentive and dedicated to his profession as any player I have ever covered but, frankly, he's not playing very well right now. Why? That's what has to be determined and fixed, but I guarantee it's not about his effort. This team's performance has fallen and it needs to get up, but the biggest mistake this team could make is to think that all it has to do is try harder. It would be lying to itself. In my opinion, this team needs a shot of youth and a big dose of speed. If Monday night's game showed us anything, it's that the Jaguars lacked speed.

John from Neptune Beach, FL:
Once again the college football national champion is going to be decided in part by the same group of people who picked LSU, Clemson and Georgia in the top 10 to start the season. I guess we should trust their judgment.

Vic: Why not?

Charlie from St. Augustine, FL:
Mike Smith left for Atlanta, which he has turned around. Gregg Williams came and our defense has gone downhill. Our offense has struggled because of injuries. Do you think we will see some coaching changes in the offseason?

Vic: Let's examine the facts: The Jaguars finished 12th in the league in overall defense last year; 11th against the run and 15th against the pass. This year they are currently 14th in overall defense; 20th against the run and 13th against the pass. In 2007, the Jaguars defense was 12th in the league in sacks. This year, it's 14th in sacks. Can we honestly say the defense has gone downhill? Yeah, it's fallen a little, but the difference isn't major. Folks, we're looking for dramatic reasons for the fall in record because we wanna put somebody's head in a noose. It'll make us feel better, right? In many cases, however, the accusations are unfair and inaccurate. As I've said before, the Jaguars defense was in sharp decline a year ago. The Jaguars were able to overcome that decline because they set franchise records on offense. That's not happening this year because the Jaguars aren't running the ball well. They've fallen from number two in rushing to number 17. That's the problem; they've lost their play-action game.

Brandon from Jacksonville:
You people are spoiled. The Jaguars have a top 10 winning percentage of all-time in the NFL, so quit complaining, hating and blaming everyone and everything, thinking that will create a quick fix to the Jaguars' problems. You all whine and cry about wasting your money, thinking the players owe you something for producing such a poor product. What about fans in other cities with struggling teams?

Vic: The last time the Dallas Cowboys won a playoff game was in the 1996 season. Between their last season with Vince Lombardi as head coach, 1967, and the team's first season in the playoffs under Mike Holmgren in 1993, the Green Bay Packers won just one playoff game; they played in only three postseason games in 26 years. Hey, I'm talkin' about two storied franchises. What makes Jacksonville so special that losing is intolerable?

Brady from Richmond, VA:
Lose, baby, lose, and get a good draft pick at this point. Would you agree?

Vic: No, I wouldn't agree. I would say watch, baby, watch, and evaluate your personnel for an offseason of personnel decisions that have to be made.

Jim from Boise, ID:
Last week you mentioned players don't quit, they lose their edge. That line of thinking would apply to coaches as well. In your opinion, has this staff lost their edge? I mean this is one bad-looking team.

Vic: Do you really believe that crap? Do you honestly believe that's the problem; that the coaches have lost their edge? Come on.

David from Charlotte, NC:
I don't believe the Jaguars got old this season. I believe the Jaguars' lines got old this season. Outside of our offensive and defensive lines, aren't we generally young?

Vic: Fred Taylor and Mike Peterson aren't young. Jerry Porter isn't young and the Jaguars were counting on him to be their big-play receiver.

Glenn from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Those same pro scouts that tell you USC is clearly the best team also thought Jacksonville was a Super Bowl contender this year. Until there is a playoff, we will never know for sure.

Vic: Don't blame the Jaguars' expectations on the scouts. They never picked the Jaguars or anybody else for anything. They just scout. They're college scouts. They're gone all year long looking at college players. The Jaguars' Super Bowl expectations were created by the fans and the media.

Adam from St. Augustine, FL:
Notre Dame has ranked in the top 15 over the past three years in recruiting, according to I would have to say in this case that it is coaching and not the players' abilities. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Vic: College coaches, and there are a lot of coaches on Jack Del Rio's staff who have college experience, will tell you that the stars increase the moment it becomes known Notre Dame is recruiting a kid. I'd get four stars if Notre Dame offered me a scholarship.

Sharon from Port Charlotte, FL:
My reasoning as to why the Jaguars have not advanced as a team is that they have remained stationary, while all the other NFL teams moved forward. Once the Jags can move forward, they will start winning. They are stuck because there has been no personal improvements in regards to character, talent and team motivation. They look very stiff and uncomfortable as a whole.

Vic: In a garden, growth has its season. There is spring and summer, but there is also fall and winter, and then spring and summer again. There will be growth in the spring.

Ryan from Jacksonville:
If this team was healthy and had been all year, would they finish better than 8-8 in your opinion?

Vic: Heading into last spring's draft, there were distinct questions about the Jaguars' offensive line depth and they were not addressed. When the team lost Richard Collier, Vince Manuwai and Mo Williams all in one week, those depth concerns became a self-fulfilling prophecy. You really don't have to go any farther to analyze this team's fall. Looking back on last spring's draft, you'd like to have kept those extra picks and used them on offensive linemen.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content