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Scouting the Jacksonville Jaguars Defense

Just who are these Jaguars that come into Mile High as 27 point underdogs?

Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

The Basics

Jax ranks 23rd in the league giving up an average of 379.8 yards per game to opposing offenses.  Against the pass they rank 10th (219.2 yards per game) and against the run they are dead last (160.6 yards per game).  They are 31st in the league in points allowed per game giving up an average of 32.6 per contest.

If pressure is the name of the game, Jax is also lacking there.  Their 10 sacks over 5 games is tied with Detroit for 27th worst in the NFL (The Broncos are 7th).  They have intercepted two balls and forced 4 fumbles on the year.  Jax is allowing opponents to convert 38% of their third downs (27/71).  That number is good for 18th overall.

The Front 4

Their starters are Tyson Alualu and Jason Babin at DE, Roy Miller and Sen'Derrick Marks at DT.  Behind those guys, you'll see Andre Branch and Mincey rotate at the ends and Brandon Deaderick rotate at DT.

Of these players, only Andre Branch (1.3) and Jeremy Mincey (2.1) have graded out positively against the run.  Sen'Derrick Marks (4.3) is the only defensive lineman to record a positive overall grade and that is due to his good production in the pass rush department.  Marks has 1 sack and 16 total pressures in 164 pass rush opportunities this year.

The LB's

Your starters are going to be Geno Hayes, Paul Posluszny, and Russell Allen.  Allen is the only linebacker in the green who's excelled mainly against the run (2.1).  He's your SAM and Geno Hayes is the WILL.  The trio has two combined sacks and 6 combined pressures, so this isn't a team that is going to use it's linebackers to blitz very often.

The DB's

Your starting corners are Will Blackmon and Alan Ball.  When they go to nickel, Mike Harris (no relation to Chris Harris will be the man in the slot.  Blackmon graded out positively.  On the season he's been targeted 28 times leading to 15 receptions and 193 yards.  His season long is 35 yards.  He has 7 passes defensed to go along with 1 INT and 3 TD's allowed.  Ball has not been targeted much, but when he is, it usually means a reception.  On the year he's allowed 9 receptions on 12 targets to go along with 2 passes defensed and 1 TD allowed.

In the slot, Mike Harris has allowed 12 receptions on 19 targets for 152 yards and 3 passes defensed.  He's struggled the past couple of weeks against Hilton and Tavon Austin.

Your starting safeties are John Cyprien (SS) and Josh Evans (FS).  Cyprien has an overall grade of -14.5 and Evans has an overall grade of -4.9.  Cyprien has allowed 10 receptions on 13 targets for 127 yards (about half coming after the catch) and 2 TD's.  He has yet to record a pass defensed.  In significantly less snaps, Josh Evans has allowed 10 receptions on 13 targets for 147 yards and 3 TD's.  Safety play is rather suspect.

My Take

I think the numbers they have given up so far are indicative of the lousy offensive support they get.  I don't see a lot of undisciplined play or missed tackles from them.

Taking a few looks at their nickel defense, they are comfortable leaving #24 Will Blackmon without safety help over the top.  In several instances against St. Louis, they effectively bracketed TE Jared Cook with FS Josh Evans and MLB Paul Posluszny top to bottom.  They are more content to play their linebackers in zone coverage.  I doubt you will see much man to man from Geno Hayes.

In these obvious passing situations, they used John Cyprien over the top opposite of Will Blackmon's side.  On one instance the slot corner played zone and Cyprien was slow to react to comeback route which allowed a 3rd and long conversion. Not only that, Cyprien then took a bad angle and allowed big yards after the catch.  I know some Broncos fans were enamored with his size coming out of the draft but I don't see the matchup capabilities in action.

Blackmon will play some press coverage but outside of that their other corners will give some cushion presnap.

If the Broncos choose to play some 12 personnel, they can exploit the zone coverage of the linebackers and the questionable play of the safeties down the seam.  This is definitely a week where I could project some big plays in the middle of that Jaguar defense.  I'll bring you an offensive breakdown tomorrow, that is if I can stay awake while I'm watching the film.