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For the Jaguars’ defense, “It’s all about the ball”

Bradley AP

While the new ESPN.com NFL beat-writer behemoth may ignore the Jaguars, we won’t.

Even the struggling NFL teams deserve thorough coverage, because the ones who are struggling often aren’t very far away from not struggling.

For the Jaguars, the path toward not struggling includes an aggressive defense with a simple mantra:  “It’s all about the ball.”

As explained by Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, the message appears in frames and scribbled in Sharpie pen on the walls throughout the team’s facility.

“Punching, ripping — whatever they can do to get that ball out,” coach Gus Bradley explained.

“The forced fumble is just a mentality,” linebacker Paul Posluszny said. “They showed us the highlights of [Bears cornerback Charles] Tillman and it’s just him punching at the ball.  That’s how we have to do it.  You may try it 10 times in a game, but if you get one of them out and recover it, it’s huge.”

Tillman forced 10 fumbles last year.  The Jaguars collectively forced 17.

In, the Jaguars had a minus-three turnover differential in 2012, with no touchdowns via turnover return.  In contrast, Bradley’s defense in Seattle last season had 31 takeaways and a plus-13 turnover margin.

As O’Halloran points out, Jackonsville’s two highest turnover margins since 2003 came in 2005 (plus-11) and 2007 (plus-9).  Coincidentally, 2005 and 2007 are the last two times the Jags made the playoffs.

And so the players are reminded constantly of the new mindset.  Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks told O’Halloran it comes up 20-to-30 times per meeting.

“It’s not annoying because it’s just like hearing from your position coach about your footwork and hand placement being on point,” Marks said. “We hear that every single day, too, even if you had great [fundamentals] in the last practice because when you break it down and think about it, it really is all about getting the ball.”

“It’s not all about the ball in the sense that you just go crazy, lose your mind and do [careless] stuff to get to the ball,” safety Dwight Lowery said.  “You do your job with an emphasis of getting the ball.”

Lowery makes a good point.  In the old “Smash for Cash” feature unearthed last year as part of the bounty scandal, former Jets and Jaguars defensive lineman Jeff Lageman explains that the pot of money for forcing a fumble once got so big in New York that guys forgot about fundamentals in an effort to get the ball out.

Coincidentally, that same feature focused on teams that employed the concept of “the Beaver,” a reference to the animal’s extreme diligence that Pete Carroll started with the Jets as head coach and took to the 49ers as defensive coordinator.

Carroll was Bradley’s boss in Seattle.

Whatever the title, gimmick, or reward, turnovers help teams close the talent gap.  They can flip momentum and alter the outcome of games.

If the Jaguars can pull it off, they’ll win a lot more than two games in 2013.

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26 Responses to “For the Jaguars’ defense, “It’s all about the ball””
  1. harrisonhits2 says: Jul 31, 2013 9:19 AM

    You may try it 10 times in a game, but if you get one of them out and recover it, it’s huge
    _____________________

    Yes and no. If those other 9 times you miss a tackle because you’re trying to get a strip and the other team gets a bunch of big gains because you didn’t bother tackling, that offsets the effect of a the one turnover you did get.

  2. tombradyswig says: Jul 31, 2013 9:21 AM

    Hoping Gus will do well with Khaan’s Shaguars….
    so they don’t have to move to LA!

  3. robigd says: Jul 31, 2013 9:24 AM

    Best looking uniforms, biggest video boards in the world (Sorry Houston), warm climate year round, best bookend tackles in the NFL, best DE tandem of AluAlu and Clowney.

    The arrow is certainly pointing up for this franchise.

  4. michaeljacksonisback says: Jul 31, 2013 9:26 AM

    LMAO!!!!!!!

  5. zoxitic says: Jul 31, 2013 9:33 AM

    I must be dreaming. A positive article about the Jaguars from MF.

  6. justintuckrule says: Jul 31, 2013 9:43 AM

    Jaguars…yawn

  7. whatnojets says: Jul 31, 2013 9:44 AM

    I need a “lake search” update!

    Did they or did the not find Jimmy Hoffa yet?!?!?

  8. somethingsmellsrotten says: Jul 31, 2013 9:45 AM

    Every team says the same thing…nothing new here.

    But when you say ‘Even the struggling NFL teams deserve thorough coverage, because the ones who are struggling often aren’t very far away from not struggling’…PFT would never say that about the Raiders, instead you just bash them at every possible turn.

  9. raiderlyfe510 says: Jul 31, 2013 9:47 AM

    Instead of stealing shamelessly from Lovie Smith just hire the man to coordinate the defense so your D can be “all about the ball” the right way.

    With the Jags QBs their defense better be all about the ball.

  10. dublindemonszfl says: Jul 31, 2013 9:51 AM

    Doesn’t matter when you score a donut every game.

  11. rhodesclosed29 says: Jul 31, 2013 9:53 AM

    since when did Jax ever have a defense?

  12. godofwine330 says: Jul 31, 2013 10:01 AM

    I don’t see anything wrong with pay for performance as long as it isn’t pay for injuring or knocking someone out of the game. Goodell and his crap over the past two years got everybody thinking they were one in the same. $500 for a sack, or $300 for an interception, $500 for a pick 6 isn’t a bounty. It isn’t close. It’s extra incentive. I wish that Goodell would stop lumping them in together when they are clearly two different things.

  13. robigd says: Jul 31, 2013 10:20 AM

    ombradyswig says: Jul 31, 2013 9:21 AM

    Hoping Gus will do well with Khaan’s Shaguars….
    so they don’t have to move to LA!

    ————————————-

    You may want to come out from under that rock you have obviously been under.

  14. emma333 says: Jul 31, 2013 10:22 AM

    Thanks Mike, we Jaguars fans appreciate coverage, especially when the tone is neutral, without the negative swipe…Good job..
    ESPN claims that the Jaguars fans page reads were way below the other NFL teams…Reason was……What Jaguar coverage?

  15. whatnojets says: Jul 31, 2013 10:25 AM

    zoxitic says:
    Jul 31, 2013 9:33 AM
    I must be dreaming. A positive article about the Jaguars from MF.
    —————————————

    It must be a nightmare or a figment of your imagination! Take two Valiums and report back for duty tomorrow morning!

  16. cobibones13 says: Jul 31, 2013 10:40 AM

    The Jags back 7 is going to be the worst in the NFL this season. Having a stupid saying isn’t going to change that. They’ll be starting 2 rookies in the secondary and most likely Alan Ball(random journeyman that can barely get on a team). Their starting OLBs are terrible but they won’t even be pushed for their starting jobs because the LBs behind them are even worse. The d line is improved a little bit but they still don’t have a good pass rusher to make up for the bad play of the back 7.

    the GM has set them up to have a top 5 pick in next years draft. Even if the offense is improved with MJD back the D will be giving up points left and right.

  17. followme2boston says: Jul 31, 2013 10:59 AM

    I have to confess that as a Bills fan there is more Bills stuff on this site, than on the AFC East blog on ESPN.com. I really appreciate the commitment by this site to cover the entire NFL. Think about it, a blogger who has to cover four teams has less Bills material than a site that has 32 to cover. Kudos to you all PFT for covering the Jags and the Bills of the world.

  18. 49erstim says: Jul 31, 2013 11:09 AM

    Didn’t you, only days ago, make light of Blaine Gabbert being injured? Yep. You are the champion of the little guy, Mikey.

  19. jnbnet says: Jul 31, 2013 11:11 AM

    somethingsmellsrotten says:
    Jul 31, 2013 9:45 AM
    Every team says the same thing…nothing new here.

    But when you say ‘Even the struggling NFL teams deserve thorough coverage, because the ones who are struggling often aren’t very far away from not struggling’…PFT would never say that about the Raiders, instead you just bash them at every possible turn.
    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
    well what do you expect…..it is still the raiders

  20. asublimeday says: Jul 31, 2013 11:19 AM

    Peanut punch!

  21. joetoronto says: Jul 31, 2013 11:40 AM

    robigd says:
    Jul 31, 2013 9:24 AM
    Best looking uniforms, biggest video boards in the world (Sorry Houston), warm climate year round, best bookend tackles in the NFL, best DE tandem of AluAlu and Clowney.

    The arrow is certainly pointing up for this franchise.
    ***********************************************
    The most delusional fans in the world.

  22. robigd says: Jul 31, 2013 11:48 AM

    joetoronto calling someone delusional was the highlight of my morning.

  23. 737driver69 says: Jul 31, 2013 12:03 PM

    This just in, according to Fox Fake News Network, the Jaguars Kitten defense is still trying to get the ball from the opposing offense…

  24. tvguy22 says: Jul 31, 2013 12:26 PM

    I like that aggressive approach. That’s what Buddy Ryan told his defenses to do. I know he was a flop as a head coach and annoyed people, but damn his defenses were scary good in Chicago and in Philly.

  25. gloryfromheaven says: Jul 31, 2013 12:49 PM

    So, are all 11 guys going to blitz the QB?

  26. ColtsWinColtsWin!! says: Jul 31, 2013 1:46 PM

    Well actually I think the Jaguars defense will be at the very least, decent, I mean after all, they will be on the field the majority of the game, and eventually even a bunch of morons can learn, look at all the people in this room who will read this and give it a thumbs down ;)

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