Wash: Jaguars excited about defensive improvements, but Raiders offense will be a big challenge

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - When folks look back on the Jaguars' Week 6 win over the Chicago Bears, they will obviously remember Arrelious Benn's 51-yard catch-and-run to the end zone.

While the play did push the Jaguars ahead of the Bears in a 17-16 victory, Jacksonville was only in that position because the defense kept them in the game. Defensive coordinator Todd Wash made halftime adjustments that shut down the Bears offense on third down and limited Chicago's point output to three in the final quarter.

Wash has quietly put together three very solid defensive game plans. The Jaguars rank eighth in total defense and are the best in the league when it comes to limiting big plays through the air. Offenses are averaging just 9.5 yards per reception against the Jaguars. 

"We have done some real good things versus some good quarterbacks," Wash said.

"Now this week we probably have one of the better quarterbacks that we have faced, so we are going to have a great challenge this week. They are playing with confidence. They are playing within the scheme and they are executing. If we do that then we give ourselves a chance."

Moving forward, Wash hopes to continue to tighten the grip on opposing offenses. The returns of defensive end Jared Odrick (triceps injury) and cornerback Aaron Colvin (suspension) will assist him in doing so.

"It was nice to have AC back playing at the nickel spot because he is a good man, zone and blitzer," Wash said.

"That opens up our package a bit. And then Jared’s presence in the run game. He is just a big, strong man. Having both of those guys back is obviously nice.”

The Jaguars will host the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Quarterback Derek Carr and his top two targets - wide receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree - pose a large challenge for the Jaguars' improving secondary. 

Wash notes that the trio allows Oakland's passing game to be amongst the top air attacks in the league.

"They are obviously very good, Coop and Crabtree," Wash said.

"We played Crabtree when he was a 49er quite a few times. The young backs are doing well. We don’t know if their starting tailback will be back yet. [Raiders QB Derek] Carr is special now. He can avoid the rush. He can throw the deep ball. He has good touch, mid-range ball, so we are going to have our work cut out with this offense. They are good.”

The defensive coordinator liked what he saw from rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey against the Bears and he has faith that the Jaguars defensive backs can slow down Oakland's passing game.

"He was playing against a big, long wide receiver that did a nice job of getting open in the first half, but Jalen made some adjustments at halftime and did some things that he knew he needed to do," Wash said.

"It is hard to get a look in practice from a guy like Jeffrey. He made some adjustments and made some real nice plays in the second half. We feel comfortable with our back end. We are very excited about it.”

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.


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