Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
Jerry, the past couple games, CB/RS Asa Jackson has come up with some key blocks. When you look at Asa, could you identify that he maybe had a skill set that you may be inclined to use? And what maybe stands out – catches your eye – about him? (Jamison Hensley) "That's a good question, because [when] you watch Asa play on defense – when you watch him return punts – what you see is a suddenness about him. He's a very quick, explosive athlete. They come in all different shapes and sizes; Asa is not 6-2. But, what he has [is what] some guys that are 6-2 don't have; he has a really quick change of direction, the ability to start fast. The other part of that whole formula is he's willing to study it and figure out what exactly he can do to try to get an edge, to get a fast start, and he has done that in two successive weeks."
*Is CB/RS Asa Jackson's campaign to become the returner, is that having any success, or any more success? *(Ryan Mink) *"The campaign continues. *(laughter) I think he's going to be a very good returner. We work on ball security drills every day after practice. He knows what he needs to do. We know what he needs to do. And the other guys are all working on it as well, because it's really important to us. He's practicing all the time. There will be a time when he's in there. I'm not sure when that might be, but there will be a time. I think he'll do really well with that. I think he's – really honestly – I think he's ready to go when the opportunity presents itself. I think he'll be ready to go, and he'll do well."
In this game last year, Jacksonville had a fake punt and an onside kick. (Jon Meoli)"Thanks for brining that up." (laughter) (Reporter: "I'm sure you're reminded about those options.") "I have scars. Yes, I do." (laughter) (Reporter: "Are the players getting extra reminders?) "The guys that were here last year, they brought it to my attention, which was really remarkable. They know, too. They're a prideful bunch. They want to do well. Give Jacksonville credit – they found two things, and they took advantage of them. It was really a long afternoon, because those two plays were looming large that whole game. The good news is we won the game. In that regard, it ended up with a happy ending. But we have to do better in those areas. One of the things we always do during the off week – the bye week – is self-scout, and we spend a good deal of time – [staff assistant – special teams] Chris [Horton] and I – looking at ourselves to find out if there's anything, any holes, in our system that someone else might see. We think we have it tracked down, and we're going to find out as we go down the stretch."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
Opening statement: "Let me start off by saying thanks to a couple of you guys for … My wife had some surgery last week, and I got a couple texts from media guys, and they were good texts. I appreciate that very much. It meant a lot to me. I just wanted to say that."
A lot of the talk this week from head coach John Harbaugh and some of the defensive players have been talking about trying to get more turnovers. Is that something you can press too hard on if you're trying to make that play? (Jon Meoli)"I don't really think so. We have to be conscious of it. And if you're running hard to the ball … Like [on] a couple plays we made out there today, a guy actually cut the ball and then the linebacker stripped him, and the ball popped out and somebody else caught it. If everybody is running to the ball and doing that, good things usually end up happening to you. We have to keep stressing that. I don't think it's ever a point where you are overthinking it when it comes to turnovers. Some years you get a lot; some years you don't. But it's always about getting to the ball and hustling to the ball no matter what it is. That's what we have to make sure that we're doing."
What do you see on tape of the Jaguars wide receivers? Two guys [WR Allen Robinson and WR Allen Hurns] that may not get some of the national hype that some of the other guys get, but they're pretty productive. (Cliff Brown) "They're very productive. They're big. They're kind of clones a little bit. They're very similar-type guys, so it's not like, 'OK, you can focus on one receiver.' I think the biggest thing that I really noticed about them is their catch radius. They do a great job – when the ball is in the air – of finding the ball, locating the ball and then catching it. That's a good feeling for a quarterback when you can throw one up even when he's covered and think the guy has a good chance of coming down with it. The other thing that they've done well is they have a little bit of Pittsburgh in them in that this quarterback loves to scramble. [Blake Bortles] gets out a lot, and it reminds you in some ways of [Ben] Roethlisberger in some regards, and he's very productive when he gets out of the pocket. Part of that is usually because the wide receivers know how to get open and uncovered. They've made a lot of plays that have been loose plays out of the pocket. I think they've done a good job that way."
Head coach John Harbaugh brought up yesterday how the ball seems to find energy. On defense, do you think that your guys can come out and play with a little more energy and enthusiasm to create more turnovers? (Turron Davenport)"We have to. We have to keep trying to generate that. The thing that we can't do is … Even if you look back at the last game [against San Diego], in the first three plays we get a sack on play No.3 right out of the gate. I thought we played with a lot of energy. The thing of it sometimes with us is that we can't let a bad play de-energize you. You just have to forget it. In that game, too, we gave up a 70-yarder. Statistically, we would have had a great day against a really good offense, but we didn't. The other thing about that is you have to let it go. Sometimes, I think that drops off until a good play happens [and] then it's back up again. We have to keep going and keep pushing at it and keep fighting it. But I thought we played with more energy in the last game, except for a couple plays."
When you look back at the first half during the bye week, what stands out to you that says, "I think we're going to have a better second half"? (Ryan Mink)"Big plays. This is not rocket science. You can analyze all you want to, you can do statistical studies, you can give me every daggone analytical answer in the book – [but] you just don't give up 50- and 60-yard plays. Come on. Think about it. Really, is it that hard? If you don't give up a 50- or 60-yard play, you're, really, statistically pretty good. I told the defense in the bye week, that if I took off … Usually at the end of this season – and midway through – you do a study of how many big plays you give up. Really, a big play is a pass play, anything over 20, 25 yards and any run over 15. OK, so that could be quite a few, especially in this day and age where there are a lot of plays [between] 25 yards and 30. So, I didn't do that. If we were six plays out of eight games less, we would be ranked seventh in the league on defense. Six plays in eight games. That's the answer. It isn't, 'Do this study, do that study, this call, that call.' Every one of them is a different player in a different coverage. It's doing your job. And if we don't give up the ball over our head … The only big-play run was the one in Arizona where we thought the guy was down, and we didn't stay with it, and he got up, and he ran. That's the only run in the running game. In the passing game, there's a 50-yarder, a 60-yarder, last week a 70-yarder. Don't give those up, and you'll be a Top 10 defense. What we have to look at is we can't change what we did in the past. It's our fault. We created it, but we can change the next eight games. Let's go the next eight games and see how good a defense we can be statistically."
Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman
The team's rushing-yards-per-game average is a dip below 100 yards a game. If the season ended now, this would be only the third year where that has happened. Coach [John] Harbaugh has talked about a recommitment to that now that the second half is underway. I guess you would echo that? (Joe Platania)"I would absolutely echo. It's something we've spent some time on over the last few weeks to really try to find the things that are necessary to pick it up for us, particularly early in the games. We've spent time on it, we're working on it, and hopefully that will be reflected on Sunday."
One if the strengths of the Jaguars' defense is their run defense. (Turron Davenport)"Yes, it is." *(Reporter: "They've got Telvin Smith, [Paul] Posluszny. What are some of the things that you see about their run defense that stands out when you watch them?) *"They run to the ball. They have speed, particularly their front seven. They are very good tacklers, and they are very gap conscious; they're in the right place. It's very evident [when] you watch all the games. They do an outstanding job of stopping the run, and we've got to find a way to mix the run in and move the football against their defense. The first way is to try to neutralize some of the things they're doing in their front, and we've got to pay close attention to our matchups, our formations and how we're attacking them. And we hope to do that."
**What about WR Kamar Aiken, to you, suggests that he's capable of being a top receiver for this team? *(Ryan Mink) *"I think he has stepped up. He has had opportunities, particularly in the San Diego game. [He] had a number of opportunities and made some plays. And when you see a guy do it, begin to do it … He did it in Pittsburgh, made a big play there. He has shown that he can be given those opportunities and take advantage of it. We're optimistic that will continue."
Your offenses in the past have had successful, high-round draft pick wide receivers versus undrafted guys like WR Kamar Aiken. Do you think that's a position where you can get that kind of talent outside of the top rounds? (Jon Meoli)"I think you can develop guys, and I think we're seeing a guy like Kamar [develop]. He has been around here. [Wide receivers coach] Bobby [Engram] has done a great job coaching him. He has Joe [Flacco] with him. They can be developed and grow into being very good players. We've seen a light there with Kamar that he's able to make some of those plays. We needed somebody to step up a week ago, and he did. That's a good indication that he's showing he can do it, and now, it's about doing it week-in and week-out, making those plays when they're needed."
Looking at WR Chris Givens, he's elevated to starter on the depth chart. What are some things, recently, that stood out to you? He felt the timing with QB Joe Flacco was coming along. (Turron Davenport)"I think that just the way Chris [Givens] started – when he did have the opportunities to make a play, and we threw it to him – he made catches. That was early on when he got here. He has had time spent with Joe [Flacco]; they've been working diligently before practice, during practice. They're communicating well. Chris has speed, but he has also shown he can catch the ball in traffic and get himself in position to make plays. There [haven't] been a lot of opportunities, but the ones he has had, he made. We hope that continues"
What does T Eugene Monroe, when he's in, bring to the offensive line? (Jon Meoli)"[Eugene Monroe brings] his athleticism, his speed. That's a tough position to play when you've got the backside of your quarterback [to protect]. He has that ability. He has the, again, overall skill set to be able to handle what we do. And what we do is … Our linemen have to be able to run in the run game, and certainly, we've got to hold up on the backside. That's something that Eugene's very good at."