Saturday, November 9, 2013
Five things to watch: Titans-Jaguars
By Michael DiRocco
Here are five things to watch in Sunday’s Jacksonville Jaguars-Tennessee Titans game at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.
Tackling: The Jaguars have missed a lot of tackles this season, including 12 in their previous game against San Francisco. Defensive coordinator Bob Babich said they worked on it two days this week, so let’s see if it’s any better. It has been especially poor in the secondary. It’s vital that it’s better Sunday, because Chris Johnson needs only a small advantage to bust a big run. He has six TD runs of 80 or more yards in his career. Miss a tackle and give him a chance to accelerate, and you’re done.
Replacing Blackmon: Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said Mike Brown, Ace Sanders and Stephen Burton will get more opportunities with Justin Blackmon suspended for the season. But he doesn’t want them to try and replace Blackmon. He just wants them to do what they’re supposed to do on each play. “If you start trying to be somebody else or try to step in somebody else’s shoes, all you’re going to do is add pressure and stress to yourself that’s unnecessary,” Fisch said. “That’s the same for everyone on the team.” Brown (13 catches for 226 yards), Sanders (26 catches for 182 yards) and Burton (seven catches for 65 yards) need to play well in order to take some of the load off Cecil Shorts (team-high 46 catches), who has to step back into the No. 1 spot.
Brewster’s time: Starting left guard Will Rackley (concussion) will be a game-time decision. If he can’t go then Mike Brewster will make his first start of the season. He started seven games at left guard as a rookie last season, and Gus Bradley said he considered inserting Brewster into the lineup early this season when the interior of the offense line was struggling. Brewster has played mainly on special teams. After playing 25 snaps on offense in the opener he didn’t play another until he got in for one snap against San Diego. He came in for Rackley against San Francisco.
Back end help: Rookie free safety Josh Evans has struggled the past few games with missed tackles and blown coverages. In an effort to get more consistency at the position, Bradley said Winston Guy will get snaps against Tennessee. Guy has played just four snaps on defense since the team claimed him off waivers from Seattle on Sept. 1. From what Bradley said in announcing the move, Evans has lost focus, and sitting down for some snaps could help him in the long run.
Kickoff returner: Jordan Todman bobbled several kickoffs against San Francisco, but will be back as the kickoff returner against the Titans. Bradley said the team looked at Burton as a possible replacement, but he has decided to keep Todman as the primary returner. He said Burton still could get a chance on Sunday. Todman averages 24.5 yards per kickoff return on 12 returns. Burton averages 24.8 yards on four returns.