Altered Jags' front giving foes increased homework
September, 30, 2009
By Paul Kuharsky | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Preparing for Jacksonville’s defense used to be straightforward.
The team didn’t alter its formula to make preparations for opponents more difficult, but it’s a side affect Jack Del Rio and his staff have to be pleased with.
“Before you knew exactly where they’d be,” Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger said with a laugh. “It used to be you could go home early on Tuesdays when you played them and Indy because you knew exactly what you were going to get and scratched [the game plan] out and you were on your way home.
“Now you’ve got to work.”
The Jaguars didn’t revamp their personnel, but feel like Quentin Groves fits better as an outside linebacker and that many of their defensive linemen can fare better working in tighter quarters.
Both Jeff Fisher and Heimerdinger said they are preparing for a 3-4 team that transforms to 4-3 on third down.
“It’s a good group, it’s different,” Fisher said. “There’s a lot more to prepare for then the old-style Jaguar defense. That Jaguar defense just said you’re not going to drive the football and they didn’t do an awful lot, but they did it very, very well. This group’s going to create problems.
Fisher said the Titans want to avoid situations where a running back winds up called on to block end Derrick Harvey or Groves, the two players the team brought in with their top two picks last season.
Jacksonville is an increasingly linebacker driven team, and the linebackers made a good share of the big defensive plays in last week’s win in Houston.
“They’ve kind of taken a page out of the Baltimore idea, they’re really big inside, the nose guard is big, the two ends are really big, they take up the two gap reads, they do what they are supposed to and the backers get to flow,” Heimerdinger said.