Jaguars' special teams unit looking for consistency after 'unfortunate' first half last week

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jaguars have offered up an inconsistent performance on special teams this season. While the good can be great, the bad can be downright ugly.

Jaguars special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis wasn't happy with the Jaguars' special teams performance against the Cleveland Browns in Week 11.

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The group spent the first half producing blunder after blunder, which DeCamillis attributes to youthful mistakes and an absence of leadership early on.

"Disappointed at the start of the game last week with the focus," DeCamillis said Wednesday.

"I think that's one thing from a leadership standpoint, you've got to make sure you're focused from the start of the game. We had some young guys who made some critical errors that can't happen and hopefully we'll get that cleaned up."

The Jaguars allowed a 53-yard return on the opening kickoff. Later in the first quarter, the group recovered an onside kick, but a penalty negated the successful recovery of the football.

DeCamillis called both plays "unfortunate."

He is now looking for several players to stand up and help lead his special teams unit on game day. Special teams captain Arrelious Benn was placed on injured reserve last week with a knee injury.

With DeCamillis harping on leadership, it's clear someone needs to fill the void left by Benn.

"It's going to have to come from a group of guys," DeCamillis said.

"We brought in [wide receiver Larry Pinkard] in for [Benn], which he has been doing a good job on the practice squad and Larry is going to have to be productive. He got a fumble recovery last week for us. Got on the bottom of the pile. He wasn't expecting to play as much as he was and he played a lot. We're hoping he comes up and down some good things but it's going to be a collective effort."

DeCamillis has two longtime special teams aces still on the active roster. Linebacker Lerentee McCray and safety Peyton Thompson have made a living in the NFL on special teams.

McCray was added to Jacksonville's roster partially because of his familiarity with DeCamillis.

The pair won a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos a few years ago. DeCamillis nominated McCray as Jacksonville's special teams representative on the Pro Bowl ballot this season.

Thompson has been playing special teams for the Jaguars for four seasons. He led the team in special teams tackles last season (9) and was awarded the game ball for the unit last week.

Those two players will be expected to increase their production and leadership moving forward.

With the fight for field position becoming more and more important as the Jaguars look to make a playoff push, the unit will need to fix its inconsistent output and provide more stability to enhance the product on the field.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

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