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Jaguars DE Odrick can know tell the truth

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The Sports Xchange

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jaguars defensive end Jared Odrick finally fessed up after Sunday’s 23-20 win over the Miami Dolphins, saying he had been lying to the local media all week.

Odrick played five seasons with the Miami Dolphins before signing a free-agent contract worth $42.5 million over the next five seasons with the Jaguars last March. Odrick won’t come out publicly and admit there were some bitter feelings when the Dolphins didn’t offer him a contract extension prior to his becoming a free agent. It’s a thought that has stayed with him ever since, and despite his denial last week to local media that this was just another game, it was so much more to him.

“I have to tell you I was lying the whole week,” Odrick confessed after Sunday’s when asked if the game felt personal. “It did feel kind of personal. I grinded all week and I was very excited. It feels good to say that we got a win. I’ve got to thank my teammates for being able to put me in this position. This was not just another game.”

Odrick’s motor was going from the opening kickoff to the final whistle. He played 54 of the team’s 68 defensive plays, nearly 80 percent. His numbers weren’t overwhelming, just two tackles but he was credited with an all-important sack-forced fumble late in the game with the score still tied at 20-all. Odrick went right around Miami tackle Jason Fox (who was filling in for the injured Branden Albert) and hit Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill from behind. The impact jarred the ball loose and while the Dolphins managed to recover the ball, they did so at their own half-yard line.

On the next play, Odrick knocked down a pass in the end zone. When the Dolphins couldn’t complete a third-and-17 situation, they had to punt. That led to the Jaguars’ winning drive, capped by a 28-yard field goal by Jason Myers.

Odrick’s strong play in that series was typical of the way the Jaguars played on Sunday. Granted they gave up a lot of yards through the air to Tannehill (345 in all) but all those yards resulted in just two passing touchdowns.

Most of the Dolphins’ yardage and the two scores came in the first half or the opening drive of the third quarter. In Miami’s final six possessions of the game, it completed just one (of seven) third-down opportunities, crossed into Jaguars territory just once (where the drive stalled at the 38-yard line).

It was the type of defensive effort that Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley has been looking to receive for the past two-plus seasons. It’s the defensive effort that the Jaguars will have to produce the next two weeks when they face elite quarterbacks Tom Brady of New England and Andrew Luck of Indianapolis. Both have put up some lofty numbers against the Jaguars over the years.

On Monday, Bradley said the team was looking forward to playing the Patriots, even though New England has dominated the Jaguars in the past by winning nine of the 10 meetings with Jacksonville in either the regular season or in the playoffs.

“We talk about we treat them both the same; prosperity and adversity,” Bradley said. “You have to have enough humility to identify your weaknesses and grow from it and let’s move on, so that’s the challenge for us all. I think we identified how we can respond to adversity. Now how do we respond to prosperity?

“That will be the challenge this week. They had a great look in their eye; they’re very excited about moving on, learning from this film and getting back to work. [It’s] the same mentality they had last week so [you] anticipate with each individual player that’s what you hope to see too.”

REPORT CARD VS. DOLPHINS

PASSING OFFENSE: A-minus. That’s a two-grade hike from the previous week when the passing game struggled to get going. Not this Sunday. Sure quarterback Blake Bortles overthrew some receivers and the Jaguars did have three more dropped passes, including on successive plays by normally sure-handed Rashad Greene. That’s the only reason for the minus in the grade. Otherwise Bortles was sharp, putting the ball where the receivers had a chance to make a play. Most of the time the receivers bailed Bortles out – especially Allen Robinson, who had several circus-like catches among his six-catch, 155-yard, two-touchdown day. This is the type of passing attack the Jaguars must have in order to make the running game effective.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus. It wasn’t as good as the passing game but it wasn’t far behind. T.J. Yeldon improved on his opening-game effort of 51 yards to total 70 yards though it took him 25 carries to get there. But he had enough support with Bortles adding 27 yards on a pair of scrambles, Marqise Lee adding 12 on an end-around and Denard Robinson chipping in with a 9-yard gain on his only carry of the game before going out with a knee injury. The latter could be devastating news to the rushing attack if Robinson is out for any extended time frame. Yeldon is the clear starter but he needs adequate backup from Robinson and the still-injured Toby Gerhart to give him an occasional breather.

PASS DEFENSE: C-minus. For the first half and the opening drive of the third quarter, this grade might have been closer to an F. Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill was carving up the Jags secondary at will, passing for 255 yards and headed for a possible 500-yard passing day. But in the Dolphins’ last six possessions, the pass defense stiffened. The pressure on Tannehill increased and that led to just 11-of-20 passing for 104 yards. The key was that the Jaguars were willing to give up short gains by keeping the action in front of them and playing solid on third-down situations, allowing just one first down in seven third-down attempts by the Dolphins.

RUSH DEFENSE: A. When the opposing team’s leading rusher is the quarterback with just 17 yards, this will be an A-grade every time out. The Jaguars totally shut down the Dolphins ground game, holding Lamar Miller – a 1,000-yard rusher a year ago – to just 14 yards in 10 carries. Tannehill’s 9-yard scramble was the biggest gain for Miami which finished with 42 yards in 16 attempts, a paltry 2.6 per carry. It was a vast improvement for the Jaguars who had given up over 100 yards to Carolina in the season-opener, and considering the Jaguars are still without two of their better run-stoppers in tackle Sen’Derrick Marks and end Andre Branch.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A-minus. Hard to find much fault with this unit. Punter Bryan Anger averaged better than 45 yards on seven kicks, though only one ended up inside the 20. Place-kicker Jason Myers bounced back after a subpar effort in the opener to convert all three field-goal attempts, including a 58-yard effort and a pressure-packed 28-yard kick for the game-winner with 40 seconds left in the game. Three of his kickoffs were touchbacks. The only flaws by the special teams unit was allowing a 32-yard kickoff return and a 19-yard punt return. Otherwise, it did its job in contributing to the win.

COACHING: A. Coach Gus Bradley had the team ready to play, coming off a disappointing effort in the season-opener against Carolina. With the next three games on the road, including a pair against perennial playoff teams New England and Indianapolis, the Jaguars could have been staring at a third consecutive 0-5 start under Bradley without a win on Sunday. One week after the Jaguars had nearly a 2-1 pass-to-rush play count, this one was a more ideal split with 33 running plays and the same number of pass attempts. It’s what Bradley wants. The players responded to their coach’s challenge of playing better and overcoming adversity during the game.


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