By Kalika Mehta
Last Updated: 18/10/18 5:24pm
Former NFL defensive coach Rob Ryan has said any comparisons between Jacksonville Jaguars’ and ’85 Chicago Bears’ defense are “a joke”, with Doug Marrone’s team struggling for form.
Ryan’s father, Buddy, was the defensive coach for the 1985 Bears team that led the NFL in seven defensive categories during the regular season, including fewest points allowed (198), fewest rushing touchdowns (6) and most interceptions (34) that season – en route to beating New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
October 19, 2018, 12:30am
Meanwhile, the Jaguars (3-3) – whose impressive defensive performances in 2017 led to the start of similarities being made – have struggled this year and gave up over 200 rushing yards in their heavy 40-7 defeat by Dallas Cowboys last Sunday.
“What happened to the defense?” Ryan asked on the latest Inside the Huddle podcast. “Don’t compare yourself to the ’85 Bears ever again, that is a joke. It’s disrespectful.
“The last two weeks they have had eight turnovers – five in Kansas City three in Dallas – you are not going to beat anybody.
“Right now is the time to show how great you are on defense. If you don’t have Leonard Fournette and you do turn the ball over, the only way to win is just to have one heck of a dominant defense.
“They better get their act together quick or they will be a forgotten team.”
Last season, en-route to ending a 10-year playoff drought, Jacksonville’s defense ran red hot, leading the league in forced fumbles (17) and defensive touchdowns (7) while they ranked second in sacks (55), interceptions (21) and total takeaways (33).
However, Sky Sports’ Jeff Reinbold has questioned the defense’s motivation this season adding the coaches have shown an inability to adapt during matches.
“Expectation was high in Jacksonville,” he said. “They had such great talent on defense.
“When you have the players they have, maybe there is an arrogance from the coaching staff about their scheme.
“I watched the Cowboys game and they look disinterested on defense to me, which is amazing when you’ve got the kind of talent that they have on the defensive side of the football.
“This is a Dallas Cowboys team that couldn’t throw the ball and they went out there and they did what they wanted to do against the Jacksonville defense who I thought talent wise was one of the better defenses in the league.
“There was nothing done schematically [against the Cowboys], it was almost like ‘well this is what we do and we’re just going to keep doing it’.
“That isn’t any way to live in the National Football League. That is on the coaches, I’m not big on ripping coaches but that was not at all a game of adjustments by Jacksonville.
“It just goes back to show you that it is not about talent, it’s about production. This is a production business and nobody wants to hear how good you are as an athlete if you don’t perform.”
Leonard Fournette’s hamstring injury, originally picked up in the season-opening victory over New York Giants, saw him miss Week Two and Three and his return to the field in Week Four was cut short after suffering a recurrence of the injury.
The running back is one of the Jaguars’ most potent offensive players but former linebacker Takeo Spikes says the AFC South side’s defense should be making up for the gaps in their offense.
“We can’t take the offense and use it as an excuse for the Jags because their personnel is built that way,” Spikes said
“We talked about the lows of the offense. The problem is the time of possession, 21 minutes for Jags owning the ball compared to 38 minutes that they gave to Dallas.
“When you look at where the one side of the team is tired, the other side of the team is not doing their job.
“As a defense regardless of whatever the offense can or can’t do, you can go out and create turnovers.
“That is something that they haven’t been able to do and they have been turning the ball over on the offensive side.”