Heading into the season, we knew this about the Jacksonville Jaguars' defense: the defensive tackles were going to be strong with Tyson Alualu and Terrance Knighton, the ends were going to be good against the run and mediocre as pass rushers and the linebackers were going to be much improved from last season.
The only unkown really was how the Jaguars' defense backs would be this year. After seven games, it's evident now that Jacksonville has one of the league's stronger secondaries, especially with Derek Cox at full health.
Jacksonville's pass defense, which was suspect at best last season, has seen a marked improvement this year with the offseason additions of safeties Dwight Lowery and Dawan Landry. The Jaguars rank sixth in the NFL with 196.3 passing yards allowed per game. Last year they gave up 250 yards per game through the air.
Lowery has 18 tackles and two interceptions this season while Landry has 42 tackles and a pick. They've been solid play makers, but their biggest contribution has been that they've prevented teams from routinely taking uncontested deep shots down field. Thus, that's allowed Jacksonville's corner to play more aggressively and the results have been excellent.
Cox, who has battled through injuries most of the season, made his return to the lineup on Monday and was utterly unbelievable. He dominated his side of the field and didn't allow the Baltimore Ravens to do anything against him. If he keeps that play up, we're looking at a Pro Bowl caliber corner.
The Jaguars may not have house-hold names in their secondary, but their members have all played their role to perfection this year. Their consistent play is a large reason why the Jaguars have a top-teir defense and the unit should only gel as the season progresses. We'll see exactly how good the group is this week versus a Houston Texans team that has a well-balanced passing attack, especially with Andre Johnson possibly returning.
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