Garrard, Jags' pass 'D' clueless vs. Eagles

Posted Sept. 27, 2010 @ 5:10 p.m.
Posted By Arthur Arkush

The Jaguars hoped that returning home after being dismantled in San Diego by the Chargers in Week Two would be just what they needed to get David Garrard and the defense back on track. Michael Vick and a relentless Eagles defense had other ideas. Vick threw for three TDs and rushed for a fourth, as the Eagles steamrolled the Jaguars, 28-3. Garrard, who was pulled from the Chargers game after throwing four interceptions, completed only 13-of-30 passes for 105 yards and one pick. He was sacked six times and didn’t look comfortable all afternoon.

The PFW Spin

We can’t decide what’s worse: the Jaguars’ pass defense or the play of Garrard. Both have been brutal the past two weeks. As a result, the Jags have been outscored 66-16.

Let’s start with the defense. Maybe head coach Jack Del Rio didn’t get the memo — Eagles WRs DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are pretty explosive. Time and time again, the two speedsters were left wide open in the middle of the field, ripping off huge chunks of yardage and accounting for three TDs combined. Just ask former backup DB Michael Coe, who was released Monday after being burned by Jackson for a 61-yarder on the Eagles’ second possession, about the playmaking ability of Philly's young receivers. The question we were asking after that play is why on earth was Coe matched up on Jackson in the first place?

Del Rio elected to blitz Vick frequently. And in his defense, it’s a proven recipe for success in containing the athletic Vick. But while the Jaguars sacked him three times and provided some decent pressure, Vick moved around very well in the pocket, escaping pressure and finding his many weapons in space.

For the second week in a row, Del Rio elected to start CB David Jones in place of Derek Cox, who started 16 games as a rookie last season. Cox played very poorly against the Broncos in Week One, and Del Rio gave him the hook at halftime, saying Cox needed to get his confidence back. After watching Jones get torched with great regularity on Sunday, it might be time for Del Rio to get Cox back in the lineup. No one in the Jaguars’ secondary played well, but Jones’ mistakes were a lot more evident than former Pro Bowler Rashean Mathis.

The Jaguars’ front seven, although not providing much to write home about, was significantly better than the back end. Terrance Knighton, who had been heavily criticized in the first two games, played extremely well, registering 1½ sacks and three QB hits. Rookie Tyson Alualu also made his presence felt, with half a sack and three QB hits. Other than the two young tackles, however, there was little reason for excitement. DE Aaron Kampman was noticeably quiet for the second week in a row after his impressive Jaguars debut.

The knock on Garrard his whole career has been his maddening inconsistency. After a dazzling Week One performance, he hasn’t resembled the same guy the past two weeks. His accuracy has been subpar, he’s holding on to the football too long and he is attempting passes he has no business even trying to complete.

The Eagles did sack Garrard six times, so the offensive line has to shoulder some of the blame, but four of the sacks came in the fourth quarter, when the Eagles’ “D” smelled blood and knew Garrard would have to air it out.

With 38-year-old Todd Bouman, who was signed last week following Luke McCown’s season-ending torn ACL, and former Ram Keith Null, who was signed Monday morning, as the other two QBs on the roster, the Jaguars need the light to go on for Garrard immediately.

Next on the schedule is a visit from the defending AFC champion Colts. Del Rio needs some answers and he needs to find them quickly.