Eagles vs Jacksonville: Analyzing each Jaguars unit (and how to attack)

Trevor Lawrence #16, Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Trevor Lawrence #16, Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia Eagles
Rayshawn Jenkins #2, Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images) /

Here’s what the Eagles can expect from the Jaguars’ defensive backs.

While the Jaguars’ defensive backs are gifted at stopping the run, Rayshawn Jenkins is likely better as a box safety, despite the popularity of two high safety defenses. He’s also an accomplished pass rusher.

In terms of what they provide in coverage, they’re a mixed bag. While Tyson Campbell and Shaq Griffin are both strong in coverage, Andre Cisco, Rashawn Jenkins, and Darious Williams are relative liabilities.

Jacksonville’s defense is weak at safety and at slot corner. As such, the Eagles are likely to attack the middle third of the field in the passing game with a lot of high-low reads on linebackers and safeties. While receivers tend to be more portable across the formation in the modern NFL – an X (primary) receiver need no longer line up solely outside on the boundary side of the field. Cornerbacks are adapting to positionless football less quickly.

Slot corner is arguably the most difficult position to play in football because of the variety of their coverage responsibilities and many cornerbacks that thrive near the numbers struggle to cover receivers in the slot. Also, there are slot corners that are highly vulnerable in coverage when playing on the outside of the formation.

Given Jacksonville’s weakness at safety and slot corner, the Eagles are likely to attack this deficiency in a couple of ways: Quez Watkins is a nice deep threat and is fantastic when it comes to yards per route run. DeVonta Smith and AJ Brown will align in the slot and/or in tight split formations and have more real estate to run their routes and stretch the field to exploit their matchups against weaker defenders.

Both Smith and Jones will challenge each of the Jags’ defensive backs even when they are defended by Campbell and Griffin. Both receivers have great feet, run great routes, have great hands, and make contested catches. Beyond that, they use exquisite body position to get in front of a DB to make a catch or more often to climb the ladder to make catches over the defenders’ heads.