JACKSONVILLE – The storyline remains all too familiar.
Todd Wash met the media Wednesday, and a primary topic for the fourth-year defensive coordinator unsurprisingly remained a Jaguars run defense that has struggled for the last month and that in a sense is defining the season.
“We just have to do a better job of executing, and then when we get in position to make plays, we have to make plays,” Wash said Wednesday morning as the Jaguars (4-7) prepared to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) at TIAA Back Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Jaguars have allowed more than 200 yards a game rushing in each of the last three games and four of the last six. They lost the last three games in the AFC South – to Houston (26-3), Indianapolis (33-13) and Tennessee (42-20). The Jaguars also allowed 285 yards in a loss at Carolina Week 5.
Wash said the issue in recent weeks continues to be gap accountability, with players out of their gaps on run plays enough to have allow long runs. Wash said the issue on that front is “fundamentals.”
“We’ve been on that for about the last three weeks,” Wash said. “When you’re supposed to be in the B-gap, or you’re supposed to scrape off the defensive end, whatever it may be, we have to make sure that we do our job. We’re creating some angles so the line can’t get up to the linebackers, and when that happens, we just have to make sure we read our keys and fall back.
“We’re an eight-man front spacing, and when you don’t play your gap, you’re going to give some stuff up. And then it’s one-on-one with the safety, that’s probably the toughest tackle in football. So, our front seven if we’re in nickel, or our front eight in base, we have to make sure that we control our gap or responsibility for us to stop the run.”
Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, a key to the team’s run defense, has been out since sustaining a core-muscle injury in Week 7 at Cincinnati and has missed the last four games on injured reserve.
“We went out and got Marcell [Dareus] two years ago to really sturdy up our run defense,” Wash said. “He came in, and he’s done a really nice job. When he played earlier in the year, he wasn’t a great disrupter of the quarterback, but he did a nice job of stopping the run for us.
“So, obviously he’s missed, but at the same time, it’s next man up and we have to be able to obviously play better and stop the run.”
Also around the Jaguars Wednesday:
*Safety Ronnie Harrison (concussion), linebacker Myles Jack (knee), center Brandon Linder (illness) and tight end Seth DeValve (oblique) missed practice for a second consecutive day. Harrison and Jack sustained injuries in a loss to Tennessee this past week, and DeValve has missed the last two games with the injury. Harrison and Jack both have started all 11 games this season, with rookie Andrew Wingard playing for Harrison this past Sunday and Jack never having missed a game in four NFL seasons. “We have a plan,” Wash said. “We have to get 11 out there, so we have a plan with some of the guys obviously. The linebackers may be possibly moving positions. Some safeties, we brought in a safety (veteran Marcus Gilchrist) yesterday (Tuesday), so we have a plan and we expect those guys to go out there and play well.” …
*Wash on the injuries at safety and linebacker: “To me, it’s not an excuse. We have to go out, we have to play better, and we have to coach better regardless of the 11 that are on the grass. …”
*Wide receiver Chris Conley (hamstring) was limited Wednesday after missing practice Tuesday, as did defensive end Calais Campbell (back), defensive end Josh Allen (knee) and defensive end Dawuane Smoot (knee). …