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‘That’s Part of Our Identity’: Jaguars' Defense Brought Takeaways in a Statement Performance

Turnovers, constant pressure, and improved communication were all instrumental factors that led to a complete game from the Jags' defensive unit in week two.
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To say the Jaguars went beyond expectations this past week would be an understatement.

One of the biggest storylines heading into the showdown with the Indianapolis Colts was how to stop superstar Jonathan Taylor. The Jaguars did more than holding Taylor in check, they took him out of the game completely at times.

Through the first half of play, the superstar back was held to four total yards on five carries, forcing Matt Ryan and company to rely heavily on a passing corps that was missing Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce.

Second-year safety Andre Cisco had one of the finest games of his career on Sunday, amassing 6 tackles, a pass defended, and an interception. For Cisco, the focus on improving communication mistakes from last week during practice helped significantly with game day preparation.

“We took where we fell short last game in terms of communication and stepped it up in practice this week,” Cisco said. “We weren’t horrible last game, but there were some critical moments where we didn’t get it across. We talked about eye contact every play, and it carried over.”

On the day the Jaguars forced three turnovers, showing massive strides against a solid offensive unit. Cisco made clear that this unit has the potential to be the kind of defense that can consistently create turnovers.

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A year ago, the Jaguars recorded just nine turnovers, the fewest in the NFL. Through two weeks, the Jaguars' defense has forced six, tied for second-most in the NFL, with five of those being interceptions and a potential seventh lost against the Colts when the Colts recovered a Matt Ryan fumble. 

“We have that type of personnel,” Cisco said. “Everyone’s background is takeaways, from front to back. Josh Allen (OLB) is sack, fumbles. Devin Lloyd (LB) who has ball skills. We have a bunch of guys like that, so we expect it to happen.”

Another area of significant improvement came in the penalty department. The Jags' defense played with more discipline and did an excellent job of minimizing penalties and costly mistakes. For the game, the Jaguars committed only three penalties, compared to 13 in their week one loss to the Washington Commanders. This made all the difference against a way tougher opponent.

“I think it’s about focus, and in practice, putting yourself in the situation like, these reps really matter,” Cisco said. “I think that’s the best way to eliminate the penalties like we did.”

Looking ahead to week three action, the Jaguars are set to face off against one of the NFL’s most dynamic teams; The Los Angeles Chargers led by superstar quarterback Justin Herbert and a dominant offensive attack. As the gauntlet continues to get tougher, the Jaguars defense is going to be tested. For Cisco and company, the personality of this defense makes them one of the more intriguing units in football.

“That’s part of our identity, kind of how we see ourselves as a defense that takes the ball away and that can rely on that, like if you have some bleeding on the field where you get a drive going, we can end it right away with a takeaway, and I think that’s what we’re looking forward to doing and how we’re molding ourselves.”