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Todd Wash: "We've got to get it fixed"

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash (left) and linebackers coach Mark Collins during pregame warm-ups against the Miami Dolphins in an NFL preseason game Thursday, August 22, 2019 in Miami Gardens, Fl. (Rick Wilson/Jacksonville Jaguars)

JACKSONVILLE – Todd Wash was clear and pointed.

Wash, the Jaguars' defensive coordinator, left little doubt Thursday when discussing a defense that struggled in the regular-season opener and faces another tough test Sunday in Houston:

*There were no excuses for Week 1.

*What happened then can't happen again.

"There shouldn't be a pass; we didn't play well," Wash said Thursday as the Jaguars (0-1) prepared to play the Houston Texans (0-1) in AFC South game at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

"I have to take ownership in it. The players have to take ownership in it. We've got to get it fixed. There are 15 more games. At the same time, we need to respond."

Wash added, "One game ain't going to determine the outcome of this damned season."

The Jaguars' defense, which ranked in the top six in the NFL in total yards the past three seasons, allowed scores on the first seven possessions of a 40-26 loss to Kansas City this past Sunday. The Texans have one of the NFL's most talented offenses, a unit featuring quarterback Deshaun Watson and All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

"We're going to make some plays, and they're going to make some plays," Wash said. "We can't give up the stuff we gave up on Sunday."

Wash outlined multiple reasons for the Jaguars allowing 491 yards against the Chiefs:

*A lack of self-control leading to penalties. "That's something we damned well need to eliminate," Wash said.

*Missed tackles.

*Busts in coverage.

Coverage breakdowns hurt and contributed to six first-half plays of at least 20 yards, and the lack of self-control – which has been an issue for several seasons with the Jaguars – contributed to linebacker Myles Jack getting ejected Sunday for fighting and to a second-half taunting penalty on safety Ronnie Harrison.

Wash said the Jaguars are placing a "major, major" emphasis on tackling this week, including tackling live in practice. Though Wash emphasized that the Jaguars won't "tackle to the ground" in practice, any mid-week tackling is rare in an NFL era that emphasizes player safety.

"We have to be able to tackle, and that's our job as coaches – to get them into position and be able to tackle," Wash said.

When discussing the coverage breakdowns, Wash on multiple occasions Thursday said the game plan against the Chiefs got "too cute" – i.e., trying too many new coverage schemes to combat the Chiefs' exotic, talented offense and Head Coach Andy Reid.

"I think that was some of the problem, and that's on me," Wash said. "I think I tried to get a little too cute and not give them looks that they want. At times, that did bite us in the hind end a little bit. We are who we are, and that's a big thing I talked to the staff this week about – and to the players.

"Were going to be who we are. If they beat us then, then let it be. We have to play our brand of football and I think we have a chance to be pretty good."

Wash also said the Chiefs ran several schemes and plays they hadn't used previously, and he credited Reid for that.

"If you're in new stuff, I don't think you have a real solid foundation for how to react to things you haven't seen," Wash said. "That's where I said we think we got too cute. … You see new stuff all the time. You don't go in as an offense and run the same 12 plays. You see different stuff, but you hope you can fall back on your base fundamentals. …

"We just did not play well. That's a fact of life. At the same time, we have to figure out why in the world we didn't play well and address that."

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