Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JAGUARS NOTEBOOK; Defense Recalls Week 1 Troubles

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JAGUARS NOTEBOOK; Defense Recalls Week 1 Troubles

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL C. WRIGHT

The second half of the season can't start in the same manner as the first.

That's what resonates loudest among the Jaguars' defensive players preparing for Sunday's rematch with the Tennessee Titans, who torched them for 282 rushing yards in an embarrassing season-opening defeat for Jacksonville.

"We know for a fact that until we stop the run, they're going to run it," Jaguars linebacker Clint Ingram said. "That's what they did so well against us last time."

The Titans did it by employing a tactic seldom used thus far by the Jaguars' opponents.

By going with three and four-receiver sets in the opener, the Titans spread out the Jaguars' defense, which operated out of its nickel package most of the game. With defenders (four down linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs) spread out because of the high probability for passes from the multiple-receiver formations, the Titans punched the ball through the middle of the Jaguars' defense.

Tennessee also used man-blocking techniques that neutralized the ability of defensive tackles Marcus Stroud and John Henderson to occupy multiple blockers, which usually frees up the linebackers to make plays. So with one-on-one blocks on the tackles at the point of attack, Tennessee's remaining linemen were able to reach the second level to occupy the linebackers.

Once the flow of the play took Jacksonville's linebackers one direction, Tennessee's running backs cut back the other direction, giving themselves open-field matchups against the defensive backs.

The Titans' game plan allowed unheralded running back Chris Brown to gain 175 yards on 18 carries. LenDale White contributed 66 yards.

"Jacksonville's defense, I've always felt, is one of the top defenses in the league, and every once in a while, you're going to have an off day," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. "I just think they had an off day."

Jaguars defensive end Bobby McCray agrees. In the seven games since the opener, the Jaguars have allowed just 83 rushing yards per game.

"Anytime we get a loss, we come back and play better," McCray said. …

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