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Open Locker Room: Time to look at defense

Posted Oct 27, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars HC Gus Bradley says defense allowing extended touchdown drives will be a focus in wake of 42-10 loss to San Francisco at Wembley Stadium.

LONDON – Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley doesn’t like this pattern. At all.

Two consecutive weeks, two consecutive games with not only touchdown drives against the Jaguars’ defense, but sustained – really, really sustained – drives. A lot of them.

A week after the Jaguars allowed first-half drives of 80, 80 and 79 yards in a loss to San Diego, it was four extended first-half touchdown drives that defined the San Francisco 49ers’ 42-10 victory over the Jaguars Sunday.

That’s hardly a formula for success, and it’s a formula Bradley wants changed.

“We really need to take a look at it,” Bradley said following the Jaguars’ eighth consecutive loss to start the season in front of 83,559 at Wembley Stadium. “Whether it’s missed tackles, missed assignments, execution, I think we really need to find the truth to it.”

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw for a touchdown in the first half and ran for two more, and the 49ers scored on their first four possessions – drives that covered 76, 80, 72 and 63 yards.

“We were really calling on our defense to make some plays, and we didn’t,” Bradley said. “That’s what we need to take a look at on tape.”

Bradley said the Jaguars’ were hurt not only by Kaepernick’s athleticism and ability to run, but by a strong 49ers offensive line and by mistakes and missed tackles.

“The bye week’s coming at a good time,” Bradley said. “I think we can take this time to really evaluate where we’re at as far as with our whole team – offense, defense and special teams – and recommit to take the next step. Obviously, we need to do that and figure out some for the things we’re lacking on.”

Asked about the defense regressing in recent weeks, Bradley said it was a fair question.

“We’ve played some really good offenses the last few weeks, but that’s no excuse,” he said. “That’s why we need to reevaluate things and see where we are. Some things were played better than others. Maybe we need to condense our package a little bit. Maybe we got too far ahead of ourselves.”

The Jaguars’ offense registered more than 300 yards for a fourth consecutive game, and while they drove inside the San Francisco 30-yard line four times, they twice turned the ball over on downs inside the 49ers’ 10-yard line. One of those drives was the Jaguars’ final possession, and the other came on the first drive of the second half, a series that consumed 8:22 and ended with an incomplete pass by Chad Henne to Mike Brown on fourth-and-goal from the 6-yard line.

“At that time, considering what the score was, we felt like we needed to be aggressive,” Bradley said.

 

GETTING GOING

Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew got plenty of opportunities Sunday. He took advantage.

Jones-Drew, the NFL’s leading rusher in 2011 who carried a season-low nine times last week in a loss to San Diego, was involved in the offense from the start Sunday, carrying four times on the first series and finishing with what Bradley called his strongest game of the season.

“I thought MoJo did pretty good – I thought he established the run some,” Bradley said, adding, “I just felt like he really ran hard.”

Added Bradley, “I would say it’s the best he has looked.”

Jones-Drew, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, carried 19 times for 75 yards Sunday and said an offensive line that continues to start third-year veteran Cameron Bradfield and second-year veteran Austin Pasztor – two players not starting at the beginning of the season – continued to improve.

“We all felt better this week,” Jones-Drew said. “We did very well against them. Those guys did a good job, and gave me some holes for us to get through.”

Jones-Drew also caught six passes for 42 yards.

“Chad did a great job of taking what they gave him,” Jones-Drew said. “Chad did a great job finding the open guy.”

 

INJURY REPORT

Guard Will Rackley was the Jaguars’ only reported significant injury. He left the game in the first half after a blow to the head and did not return.

PHOTO GALLERY

QUOTABLE

1. Henne: “There are definitely plays out there that need to be made, whether it’s dropped passes or making a better throw. Again, red zone really killed us.”

2. Henne: “We need to capitalize and score touchdowns. We’re not pressing. We just have to make the catches and make the throws and execute what’s called.”

3. Henne: “We’re definitely still together. We’re disappointed. Nobody wanted to be 0-8. But Gus Bradley’s a great coach. We’ll fight for him to the end.”

4. Jones-Drew: “We missed a lot of opportunities today. That’s sort of been our M.O. throughout the season. That’s all 11 of us. We just have to continue to work on that.’

5. Middle linebacker Paul Posluszny: “It (playing the read option) is difficult for all NFL defenses. But that’s something we’re going to have to figure out how to handle. They (read-option offenses) are not going anywhere. We’re going to see some version of that every week. We need to be able to find a way to stop that.”

6. Posluszny: ”This league is about playmakers. You need to find a group of guys who can make a play. We’re struggling with that right now.”

 

NOTABLE

1. The Jaguars have allowed touchdowns on their first two drives in each of the last three games.

2.  With the Jaguars the designated home team, a Jaguars flag was placed each seat at Wembley Stadium. The crowd remained enthusiastic throughout, cheering raucously for positive Jaguars plays throughout the second half.

3. The Jaguars didn’t allow a sack Sunday for the first time in 51 games.

4. The Jaguars moved Denard Robinson into the backup running back role Sunday. He carried four times for 15 yards. “We felt like we really wanted to see him with an opportunity to run the ball,” Bradley said.

 

WHAT’S NEXT

The Jaguars are off next week.

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