6 weeks into the 2020 season and questions have already started flying about potential changes on the Jacksonville Jaguars staff.
Through six games, the Jaguars are 1-5 and in the middle of a five-game losing streak. The issues have been throughout the entire team, but the primary struggles have been on defense, where the Jaguars have allowed 30 points or more in each of the last five games.
To many, the pressing issue isn't whether they need a direction on defense, but when they will implement the change.
But as head coach Doug Marrone said following a 34-16 loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 6, there is not going to be a removal of defensive coordinator Todd Wash. He gave the embattled coordinator a vote of confidence, a move which Wash said on Thursday he appreciated the confidence, though he understands Marrone will ultimately have to do what he has to do.
"You know, I think it’s—obviously it’s great. But Doug’s got to do what’s best for the organization, one way or the other, and it’s not about a friendship or anything like that," Wash told local media during a media conference on Thursday. "It’s about us trusting each other and we’re going to continue working together as long as we can and try to win as many football games as we can.”
Jacksonville's defense reached new lows in Week 6, allowing Detroit to score the most points of the Matt Patricia era as well as allowing the Lions to have a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in the same game for the first time since 2013.
But despite this, Marrone was steadfast in support of Wash and his role as defensive coordinator when asked about how safe his coordinator was following the game. Marrone noted the team has tried to change things up throughout the season but so far nothing has worked.
“Yes. Yes, as long as I’m here and I’m the head coach, yes, he’s safe," Marrone said.
“So, I think when you go through—when you talk about changes and things of that nature, I think if you have good options to go to—but right now, I don’t see any options. I see us at—we’ve just got to keep working to get these guys better and be able to make some plays, and that’s what’s hurting us. It’s not a lack of not trying of changing things, which we have done."
Through six games, the Jaguars are 25th in points per game allowed (30.16) 31st in yards per play allowed (6.5), 29th in first downs allowed (150), 32nd in net yards allowed per pass attempt (8.2) and 31st in percentage of drives ending in a score (55.7%).
The advanced metrics aren't much kinder to the Jaguars. According to Pro Football Reference, the Jaguars have the second-fewest expected points added by a defense this season at -96.67. And according to Football Outsiders, the Jaguars rank last in defensive DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) and last in pass defense DVOA.
Simply put, Jacksonville's defense has been a mess this season. As of now it doesn't appear that Marrone believes Wash is the reason for the mess, or at least that firing him would present a solution.
Considering the Jaguars lost so much talent on defense over the offseason (Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, A.J. Bouye), it maybe shouldn't be so surprising that the Jaguars have struggled on defense. But the "lack of talent" may not be a perfect excuse considering the Jaguars have three first-round picks on the defensive line, two of the league's highest-paid linebackers and a No. 9 overall pick at cornerback.
“I agree, the talent is there. We’ve just got to be able to continue to put them in the right spots. And when they’re in the right spots, we’ve got to make plays," Wash said Thursday. "But I think we have some talented guys on this defense. We’ve just got to continue to get better. We’re just young at this point in time.”