Jacksonville Jaguars: Look for Changes in Play-Calling in 2009
Last year's disappointing season can be credited with many different reasons. One of those reasons was the play-calling on both the offensive and defensive sides.
Going into last season this team was labeled as possibly the most physical team in the game. A huge factor in gaining that title was because the Jaguars were one of the first teams to establish a two man running game that had destroyed defenses in years' past.
The combination of Taylor and Jones-Drew had defenses scheming up ways to try to stop all the running plays that the Jaguars would throw at them.
Everyone thought that the Jaguars would continue on with their very physical two-man rushing attack; however, injuries to the offensive line didn't allow them to do so.
After two of their starting lineman went down in the first game of the season, a quick adjustment was made and Garrard threw the ball more during the course of the season much more than what they had planned.
Aside from starting in four more games in 2008 compared to 2007, Garrard threw the ball 200 more times in 2008 than he did in 2007. He also threw for 1,100 more yards.
Despite having a good season, Maurice Jones-Drew did not get any help from Fred Taylor who had a very poor year which eventually led to his release from the team.
The fact of the matter is that the Jaguars need to get back to their physical offensive style by running the ball and wearing down the defense. At that time they can allow Garrard to hit his new targets in Torry Holt, Mike Thomas, and Jarrett Dillard.
Expect with the offensive line healthy, and with the depth accumulated over the off-season, to see the Jaguars run the ball plenty in the up coming season.
Dirk Koetter, the offensive coordinator, is a very smart passing coach. It was obvious two years ago that when the Jaguars could control the game with their running attack, Koetter was able to pinpoint the plays that made Garrard so successful with a 102.0 quarterback rating.
After the firing of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the Jaguars hired ex-Browns defensive coordinator, Mel Tucker.
Williams is a well-known defensive coordinator throughout the NFL, but his style just did not fit in Jacksonville.
Known for his aggressive 4-3 style defense, Williams was not able to get as much pressure on the quarterback as Del Rio would have liked. Williams' disappointing coaching style showed as the Jaguars sacked the opposing quarterback only 29 times the whole season (the Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware had ended the year with 20 sacks himself).
Mel Tucker comes into Jacksonville after a fairly disappointing year with the Browns. Many questioned why the Jaguars went straight for Tucker, but also many believe it is because Del Rio is going to take over the choosing of the majority of the defensive play selection.
Del Rio was the Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator before coming to Jacksonville and did a great job with them. The Panthers had the second best defense in the league before Del Rio came to Jacksonville.
I would expect to see the combination of Tucker/Del Rio blitz a little more than what we saw with Gregg Williams. Del Rio knows, especially in a division with Peyton Manning, that you have to get to the quarterback and cannot give him a lot of time to make his throws.
We will also see a lot of plays that will change up who is in the game at defensive end. We have some extremely talented young players in Derrick Harvey, Quentin Groves and Mkristo Bruce. We also have the very talented veteran Reggie Hayward. Del Rio will change up the line quite a bit to get fresh legs in there to attack the quarterback.
On a smaller note, the Jaguars changed their strength and conditioning coach and hired Luke Richesson.
Although it won't have too much to do with their play-calling, Richesson brings a new, hard-nosed conditioning coach that is going to make these players reach a whole new level of strength and speed.
With an incredible list of players that he has worked with over the past years, Richesson just brings more talent to a coaching staff that was in need of some changes after last season.
The Jaguars made a few coaching moves in the off season that will end up helping them out this year. It was obvious from the beginning that Gregg Williams didn't exactly fit in here, and it is hard to replace a Mike Smith.
Hopefully Mel Tucker and Jack Del Rio can get this team's defense back to where it was a couple of years ago. Offensively, we are looking very good with the health and depth at the offensive line position. The targets added this offseason help Garrard, and now Jones-Drew has to prove he can handle a large workload.
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