Know Your Foe: Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars were the hottest "flavor of the month" throughout the NFL in the offseason. Many analysts and prognosticators weren't convinced that the Texans were the team to beat in the AFC South. Many opined that the young, up-and-coming and talented Jaguars were the ones to beat with one caveat.

Quarterback Blake Bortles had to take that next step.

Unfortunately for the Jaguars, he hasn't taken that step that Jacksonville fans wanted or needed to see and as a result the Jaguars are 2-6 heading into Sunday's matchup with the Texans. As with every single struggling team, it isn't just one thing or just one player, but the Jaguars offense has struggled to get on track throughout the year and Bortles is the poster boy for their struggles. However, the way the Jaguars ran the ball on Sunday against the Chiefs could be a preview of what the Texans are going to see on Sunday.

Based on their record, the Jaguars are one of the worst teams in the league, but I can't get with that line of thinking. This is a highly, HIGHLY talented team that can find its stride at any point. Here's hoping that's not on Sunday as the Texans travel to Jacksonville for their annual matchup at Everbank Stadium. Here's my Know Your Foe installment for the mercurial Jacksonville Jaguars.

OFFENSE
2015 Unit Profile
Rush Offense - 92.1 ypg (27th in the NFL)
Pass Offense - 256.8 ypg (10th) *
*Total Offense - 348.8 ypg (18th) *
*
Scoring Offense - 23.5 ppg (14th)

2016 Unit Profile
Rush Offense - 89.1 ypg (26th in the NFL)
Pass Offense - 256.2 ypg (14th) *
*Total Offense - 345.4 ypg (17th) *
*
Scoring Offense - 19.1 ppg (28th)

Here's what the Jaguars offense looked like the last time the Texans faced them in week 17 in 2015

WR - Allen Robinson
TE - Julius Thomas
LT - Luke Joeckel
LG - Zane Beadles
C - Stefen Wisniewski
RG - A.J. Cann
RT - Sam Young
TE - Marcedes Lewis
WR - Allen Hurns
QB - Blake Bortles
RB - Denard Robinson

Here's what the Jaguars offense looked like against the Kansas City Chiefs in week nine
WR - Allen Robinson
WR - MARQISE LEE
LT - KELVIN BEACHUM
LG - PATRICK OMAMEH
C - BRANDON LINDER
RG - A.J. Cann
RT - JEREMY PARNELL
TE - Marcedes Lewis
WR - Allen Hurns
QB - Blake Bortles
RB - T.J YELDON

**ALL CAPS INDICATE POTENTIALLY DIFFERENT STARTER

Most significant improvement on the offense: Adding Ivory to T.J. Yeldon who didn't play in either game against the Texans in 2015. Ivory was voted by the NFL players as a Top 100 candidate and teams with Yeldon to provide some juice for this Jacksonville offense. The Jaguars running game hasn't lit the world on fire throughout the season but last week against Kansas City, they ran for 200 yards for the first time all season. The insertion of Nathaniel Hackett as the new offensive coordinator could lead to an overall offensive paradigm shift. Meaning? Meaning more games like last week. More running leads to less throwing which leads to less turnovers which leads to more wins.

Most impactful players that the Texans didn't face in 2015: Yeldon.
Even though Yeldon was a member of the Jaguars, he didn't face the Texans either time in 2015 due to injury. Even though Ivory was not a member of the Jaguars, he did face the Texans as a member of the New York Jets. In addition, the offensive line is filled with different faces and opened holes for Ivory and Yeldon against Kansas City.

What should worry Texans fans the most? The focus on the run. Sure, Robinson and Hurns are special, but Bortles can't get them the ball consistently when the game matters. Furthermore, the Texans had moments in the first half of the season when they didn't stop the run well at all. If Hackett is worth his salt as a play caller, expect the Jaguars to run and run a lot. You can't throw interceptions by handing the ball off.

What does worry Jaguars fans the most? Bortles, pure and simple. His mechanics have gone to Hades. He brought in his self-help quarterback guru last week to help him after a dreadful start to the season. Now, if he does get some help from the running game and a scramble (or two) gives him confidence, he can be a ton of trouble for the Texans defense. If he turns the ball over early and the run game doesn't provide much for him, the Jaguars offense could be in trouble.

DEFENSE
2015 Unit Profile
Rush Defense - 106.8 ypg (15th in the NFL)
Pass Defense - 268.2 ypg (29th) *
*Total Defense - 375.0 ypg (24th) *
*
Scoring Defense - 28.0 ppg (31st)

2016 Unit Profile (through eight games)
Rush Defense - 116.9 ypg (24th in the NFL)
Pass Defense - 217.6 ypg (5th) *
*Total Defense - 334.5 ypg (11th) *
*
Scoring Defense - 26.9 ppg (25th)

Here's what the Jaguars defense looked like in that last meeting of the 2015 season.
LEO - Andre Branch
DT - Tyson Alualu
DT - Roy Miller
DE - Jared Odrick
WLB - Hayes Pullard
MLB - Paul Posluszny
Nickel - Nick Marshall
LCB - Davon House
FS - Josh Evans
SS - Jonathan Cyprien
RCB - Aaron Colvin

Yeah, well, don't get used to that lineup at all. Here's what the Jaguars could look like on defense in 2016
LEO - YANNICK NGAKOUE
DT - MALIK JACKSON
DT - ABRY JONES
DE - Tyson Alualu
OLB - TELVIN SMITH
MLB - Paul Posluszny
OTTO - MYLES JACK
LCB - PRINCE AMUKAMARA
SS - Jonathan Cyprien

FS - TASHAUN GIPSON
CB - JALEN RAMSEY

**ALL CAPS INDICATE POTENTIALLY DIFFERENT STARTER

Most significant improvement on the defense:Uh, better question is what wasn't significantly renovated? The secondary seemed to get the biggest face-lift, with the additions of Amukamara, Gipson and Ramsey. Then again, the unit that was 29th in the league in pass defense needed it. As such, that reconstruction project has paid dividends. The Jaguars are fifth in the league in pass defense, but the run defense has yielded ten more yards per game than in 2015.

Most impactful players that the Texans didn't face in 2015: Fowler (ACL tear in 2015), Gipson, Jackson, Jack, Ngakoue and Ramsey. When this defense gets some help from its offense, look out. The youth and talent on this roster is scary.

What should worry Texans fans the most? The secondary is much improved and the addition of Ramsey in the draft has given the Jaguars a distinct playmaker in the back four. He can play every position in the back and the nickel spot or even a dime linebacker position. This is not the defense of a 2-6 team. Better put, a 2-6 team would crave defensive talent like this. I just hope this isn't the weekend that it ALL comes together for this defense and this Jaguars team.

What worries Jaguars fans the most? The two biggest worries, in my opinion, are a consistent pass rush and the discipline on that side of the ball. Ngakoue, in short order, has become the best edge disruptor as a rookie. Fowler hasn't quite hit his stride after tearing his ACL in 2015. Jaguars fans envisioned Fowler ruining game plans and Ngakoue teaming with him on third down. But, Ngakoue has been more disruptive early in the season with four sacks. The run defense has taken a short step back as the secondary has improved greatly. Consistency and the ability to take the ball away have been a major issue for this Jaguars defense.

Check out the best photos from Wednesday's practice as the Texans got back to work after the bye week.

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