Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker (pictured) says the Jaguars have emphasized better tackling in practice this week and Tucker told reporters, "We're going to be better at it."
Missed tackles have dogged the Jaguars all season, but never more than in this past Sunday's 30-13 loss to the Titans. Poor tackling contributed to allowing a franchise-record 305 yards rushing, 228 of that to Titans running back Chris Johnson, who averaged 9.5 yards per carry.
"It's been an issue for us all year. Forty percent of the yards against us have been after first contact," Tucker said. "It's angles, it's leverage, it's wrapping up. It's also getting more guys to the football. Those are all things we've been emphasizing this week. I feel confident we'll be better at it this week."
This Sunday's opponent, the visiting Kansas City Chiefs, don't pose much of a threat in either the running game or passing game. The Chiefs are 21st in rushing but will be without running back Larry Johnson. Quarterback Matt Cassel has a passer rating of 73.2 on the league's 30th-ranked pass-offense.
"I'm impressed with the way we practice. We just haven't been able to carry it over to the game consistently," Tucker said.
Under Tucker, the Jaguars have made the switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense, a move that was largely necessitated by the loss of defensive end Reggie Hayward for the season. Results have been disappointing, as the Jaguars have fallen to 24th in overall defense and are on pace to challenge an all-time NFL record for fewest sacks in a season.
The good news this week is that the Chiefs are next to last in the league in sacks allowed per pass play.
"We've been around the quarterback quite a bit and haven't finished," Tucker said. "The bottom line is we didn't execute and we have to move forward. I feel like they'll bounce back and we'll play well."
Improvement, clearly, will begin with better tackling.
"We've increased the tackling drills. We've put more emphasis on it," Tucker said. "We have guys who are capable of tackling. We need more guys to the ball so when a guy misses a tackle there are others there to clean it up."