Friday, August 31, 2012
Safety disguises a key for Jags' D
By Paul Kuharsky
The Jaguars starting safety tandem of Dwight Lowery and Dawan Landry isn’t the league’s best. But considering how awful the team was at the position just two years ago, I think they’ve done a quality job of reconstruction with two quality guys.
They are comfortable together heading into their second season, which gives them the potential to be a big factor in pre-snap confusion for an offense.
“You can tell with (Lowery’s) disguise, with the communication out there, he’s very comfortable,” Mike Mularkey said early on camp. “He and Landry, they work well together and they have given some problems with the way they disguise. Because they are so confident in their ability to get where they need to be when the ball’s snapped. That’s an issue when you’re reading coverages, not just for the quarterback, but for the receivers who are asked to do things with the coverage. So they’re very good at the disguise.”
If the safeties’ work before the snap helps create any confusion or hesitation in a quarterback, anyone on the defense can benefit: A pass-rusher who gets an extra beat to reach the quarterback, a linebacker covering a checkdown the quarterback has to settle for, a defensive back who gains an advantage from the quarterback's failure to correctly diagnose the coverage.
“I feel like I have all the ability to do whatever it is I want to do,” said Lowery, who came to the Jaguars in 2011 in a trade from the Jets, and was turned from a versatile cornerback into a full-time free safety.
Even early in camp he felt a big change in the team, offering a stark comparison between his first season in Jacksonville when Jack Del Rio was the head coach, and now with Mularkey.
“It’s very professional and detail-oriented,” he said. “They hold you accountable, whether it be meetings or your output in practice. It’s a very professional environment. It was kind of lacking that here last year, and I think that’s exactly what this team needed.”