Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Offense Vulnerable to Delayed Blitz

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Offense Vulnerable to Delayed Blitz

Article excerpt

Byline: Ryan O'Halloran

The Atlanta Falcons enter Sunday's game against the Jaguars with an NFL-low 15 sacks. They've yet to get more than two sacks in a game and have no sacks in three games.

But all coach Dan Quinn and his staff have to do is watch the Jaguars' tape to discover a way to kick-start their dormant pass rush.

Use the delayed blitz. A lot.

Use it until the Jaguars prove they can consistently block it.

Eight of the Jaguars' 39 sacks allowed this year (20.5 percent) have come from linebackers or defensive backs who have been unblocked on a delayed blitz because the Jaguars were fooled or a running back stayed in to protect and blocked another defender.

"That's something we prepare for and now we have to execute when we see that," offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. "We see it all the time and [quarterback] Blake [Bortles] would say, 'I have to react, I have to throw the ball away in that situation, change the protection if I see it coming.' There are a number of things available to him."

Carolina (Week 1) and the Jets (Week 9) had two sacks apiece when using the delayed blitz. The Panthers used linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, and the Jets used safety Marcus Williams and linebacker Demario Davis.

Getting one sack apiece were Tampa Bay (linebacker Kwon Alexander), Buffalo (safety Duke Williams), San Diego (safety Jimmy Wilson) and Indianapolis (safety Mike Adams). Adams sacked Bortles in 2.72 seconds and forced a fumble the Colts recovered.

"As a coaching staff, we need to put [Bortles] in more situations like that in practice so he'll react the right way," Olson said.

React the right way and the Jaguars should be able to exploit an Atlanta secondary that is without safety William Moore (ankle).

LAST HOME GAME FOR LEWIS?

Sunday's game against the Falcons will be the 142nd of Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis' career, which ranks fourth in franchise history. Will it be his last home game?

"I haven't given it a thought - now that you brought it up, we'll see," Lewis said.

Once the Jaguars signed Julius Thomas in March and Lewis re-worked his deal in April to take a believed-to-be $4 million pay cut, I would have never guessed Lewis would return in 2016. But it might happen.

Lewis' personal goal entering the year was to stay healthy - a calf injury cost him five games in 2014 and a high ankle sprain cost him eight games last year. He has started all 13 games and played 65.3 percent of the snaps (576 of 882), partly because of Thomas' hand injury (he missed the first four games) and partly because of Olson's desire to use two-tight end groupings.

Lewis' 13 catches are tied for the fewest of his career with his rookie year, but the Jaguars feel he is still a strong run blocker. …

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