Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Without Pressure on QB, Jaguars Defense Is Cooked; Injuries on the Line and in the Backfield Are a Porous Combination

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Without Pressure on QB, Jaguars Defense Is Cooked; Injuries on the Line and in the Backfield Are a Porous Combination

Article excerpt

Byline: Vito Stellino

The Jaguars defense knew the task they faced Monday night when they went against San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.

"We wanted to find ways to make him uncomfortable and force him into bad throws and we weren't able to do that and he was able to put the ball on the money," said middle linebacker Paul Posluszny. "That's one of the things we need to fix coming out of that game. We've got to find ways to put pressure on the quarterback."

The Jaguars didn't sack Rivers, who passed for 294 yards and three touchdowns as the Chargers won 38-14.

The lack of a pass rush enabled Rivers to exploit the Jaguars' two cornerbacks, Ashton Youboty, who was signed on Nov. 15, and undrafted rookie Kevin Rutland. They started because the Jaguars had to put three cornerbacks on injured reserve (Rashean Mathis, Derek Cox and William Middleton) in the last three weeks.

What made it more frustrating was the fact that the Chargers had three of their original eight offensive linemen on the injured reserve list and started Jared Gaither at left tackle after he was claimed off waivers last Wednesday.

"That was the disappointing part on our end," Posluszny said. "Their offensive line wasn't healthy, but they had NFL-caliber players and were able to make plays on us and we weren't able to get there. Part of that is Rivers being an elite quarterback."

When the Jaguars face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, they don't know which quarterback they will face. Starter Josh Freeman missed the Bucs' 38-19 loss to Carolina last Sunday with a shoulder injury and was limited in practice Wednesday.

Regardless of whether the Bucs start Freeman or backup Josh Johnson, the Jaguars need to get better pressure up front. And they have to do it even though they are short three defensive ends.

John Chick went on injured reserve on Tuesday and both Matt Roth (concussion) and Aaron Kampman (hamstring) weren't on the field for practice Wednesday. Interim coach Mel Tucker said they are day to day.

"We're going to have to get creative with the guys we have," Posluszny said.

One of the ways they may get creative is to use tackle Tyson Alualu at left end on some passing plays and put C. …

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