Dev's Battle Plans: Ravens at Jaguars

Every week, long time Ravens Insider site staffer and all-round Ravens guru Dev Panchwagh will break down the Ravens' strategy for the upcoming game. This week the Ravens travel to sunny Jacksonville to meet the Jaguars.

Offensive Keys:

1.) Getting Chester Taylor the football: The Ravens are going to have an extremely tough challenge running the football against Jacksonville. Although the Jaguars rank near the bottom in the run defense category, they have the ability to stuff the middle and force running backs to cut off the edges. Tackles John Henderson and Marcus Stroud are the best inside combo in the game and they will make it difficult for Jamal Lewis to gain yards up the gut. This is the type of game in which Chester Taylor can excel. He has the shiftiness and quickness to get to the corner and gain yards in the open field.

2.) Moving the Jaguar safeties: Safeties Deon Grant and Deke Cooper tend to miss plays or overextend in coverage situations. Kyle Boller should be put in positions where he can move these safeties out of their land mines using play-action or pump fakes.

3.) Forcing the big boys to chase: With Stroud and Henderson providing such a road block presence up the middle and being a threat to collapse the pocket in passing situations, the Ravens should try to move their offensive plays away from where they will be. Using outside runs and setting up pass plays off of bootleg or rollout plays would be a good way of accomplishing this goal.

Defensive Keys:

1.) Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy: Time has not eroded Jimmy Smith's receiving skills. He is just as dangerous a threat today as he was when he torched the all-time 2000 Ravens defense over five years ago. Smith is a perfectly conditioned athlete who runs crisp routes and has terrific body control. Checking him and forcing the other, younger Jaguar receivers to make plays is a must.

2.) Stopping Jones dead in his tracks: Although starting tailback Greg Jones lacks the game-breaking speed that Fred Taylor possesses, he has more power and runs with a lower center of gravity. Jones gains a lot of his yardage after contact by running through defenders. The Raven linebackers and secondary defenders have to be willing to hit Jones and chop him down before he can gain any extra yardage off of missed tackles.

3.) Forcing Leftwich to his left and right: The pass rush has to come up the middle in order to force Byron Leftwich to move to the left or right side of the pocket. When Leftwich is given time to setup in the pocket and go through his mechanics, he is a tough passer to deal with. However, he is not the same quarterback when he has to move or throw on the run. In addition, Leftwich uses a long wide-up motion to deliver the ball, so the outside edge rushers should try to time their hits or swipes of Leftwich's hand to potentially force a fumble.

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Dev Panchwagh is a long-time member of the Ravens Insider staff.  Talk to him about this article on the RavensInsider message boards where he posts under the super-secret ID 'dev21'.


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