Titans vs. Jaguars: Breaking Down Jacksonville's Game Plan

Giancarlo Ferrari-KingFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2013

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 13:  Center Brad Meester #63 of the Jacksonville Jaguars faces the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 13, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Jaguars 35-19.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Sitting at 4-10, the Jacksonville Jaguars are set to host the 5-9 Tennessee Titans in what will be the team's final home game of the season.

But this AFC South clash is more than just your average home game, as Jaguars center Brad Meester announced that he will be retiring after playing 14 seasons in Jacksonville.

Serving as not only the anchor of Jacksonville's offensive line, but also a constant presence in the locker room, Meester leaves this city as the only Jaguars player in franchise history to have been coached by Tom Coughlin, Jack Del Rio, Mike Mularkey and Gus Bradley.

As he suits up for the final home game of his career, you can guarantee that head coach Gus Bradley and his staff will have this team focused on taking down the Titans in front of their home crowd.

But how will they be able to accomplish that feat? Using film study and analyzing what's left of this depleted roster, it's time to delve into a winning game plan for the Jaguars' battle against the Titans.

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 15:  Denard Robinson #16 of the Jacksonville Jaguars rushes for yardage during the game against the Buffalo Bills at EverBank Field on December 15, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images


Physical Football

For Jacksonville to have any opportunity to find success against its divisional rival, the Jaguars will have to play a physical style of football in Week 16.

Going up against a team that is about to play its fourth road game in the past five weeks, Jacksonville will get a chance to outwork a Titans squad that, as head coach Mike Munchak put it, has had trouble making enough plays to win games.

With so many injuries dragging down this Jacksonville offense, making sure the players go out there and consistently implement that physical brand of football is going to be crucial.

Talking about injuries, things got worse when Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union reported that wide receiver Cecil Shorts would be put in injured reserve earlier this week:

#jaguars placing WR Cecil Shorts on IR later today.

— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) December 17, 2013

Needless to say, losing Pro Football Focus' (subscription required) 50th-ranked wide receiver will make offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch's job a heck of a lot harder leading up to kickoff.

Talking to Fox reporter Kristina Pink during the live broadcast on how to beat the Titans, Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said, "You have to win at the line of scrimmage." Without the luxury of a healthy offense at their disposal, that is exactly what the Jaguars must do to put themselves in a position to win.

NFL Game Rewind

In the picture above, you'll see exactly what Arians was talking about.

Lining up in a basic two-tight end formation, the Cardinals decide to hand the football off to running back Rashard Mendenhall.

NFL Game Rewind

Thanks to a superb job by his offensive line holding blocks and controlling the line of scrimmage, Mendenhall is able to find a crease and secure a nine-yard gain.

While this type of play won't be shown on any highlight reels, it's an essential one for Jacksonville to absorb this week in practice. Sticking to assignments and manufacturing a consistent, physical presence at the line of scrimmage is how a team wins football games in this league.

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 15:  Jordan Todman #30 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs for yardage during the game against the Buffalo Bills at EverBank Field on December 15, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images


One Play at a Time

For all of the late nights coaches spend developing schemes and coming up with innovative ways to beat their opponents, sometimes it's the little things that can get lost in translation.

As the iconic Marty Schottenheimer always told his players, "Take it one play at a time." For Jacksonville, understanding that those words still ring true today is going to play a huge role in the outcome of this game.

Without guys like Shorts and Justin Blackmon to lean on, quarterback Chad Henne is going to be tested once again. Thankfully, even if running back Maurice Jones-Drew can't play again this week, his backup Jordan Todman proved that he can go out there and be a productive asset for this offense.

Compiling 109 yards rushing and 44 yards receiving in Week 15 against the Buffalo Bills, Todman showed nice burst and exceptional vision at times when he was out there on the field.

NFL Game Rewind

As you can see, running the football out of the shotgun formation, Todman is forced to make a quick decision. With defenders closing in, the question becomes, should he try to cut up the middle of the field or bounce it outside and look for another hole?

NFL Game Rewind

Anticipating that his first hole is going to close at a feverish pace, Todman bounces it outside, cuts back and explodes up the field for a spectacular 33-yard gain.

For Bradley and Fisch, taking it one play at a time and making sure they sustain a level of patience in the ground game should give Todman a plethora of chances to find his rhythm against a Titans run defense that's giving up 119.1 yards per game.

Even though they are missing some of their biggest playmakers, the Jaguars have to realize that taking a page out of coach Schottenheimer's book of gospel will be essential to their success this week.


JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 15:  Head coach Gus Bradley of the Jacksonville Jaguars watches warmups before the game against the Buffalo Bills at EverBank Field on December 15, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images


With just two games left in the regular season, we can all agree that it's been a learning process for the Jaguars.

But for all of their struggles, a major dose of kudos and one heck of a holiday gift basket should be sent to head coach Gus Bradley and his coaching staff for doing such a fantastic job getting the most out of this roster.

Even though it enters Week 16 with a 4-10 record, this team has come out and played each week with tons of heart and a rich amount of determination.

Now, heading into their last home game of the season, the Jaguars will have to emulate a similar formula that worked for them when they beat the Titans back in Week 10.

That awesome combination of physical football, creating turnovers and scoring any way they can will give them a chance to properly thank their anchor.