The Jacksonville Jaguars defense is singularly focused in 2023: it’s takeaways or bust.
“We just understand as a defense that turnovers, that’s our formula for success,” Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins told reporters in the locker room Wednesday, via Mia O’Brien of 1010XL. “We know we’re playing against some good teams. They’re gonna make their plays, we’re gonna make ours. But at the end of the day, that ball is the most important thing on the field.”
Last year, Jacksonville finished fifth in the NFL in takeaways with 27 (13 via fumbles and 14 interceptions). Those big plays helped a defense that was No. 24 in yards allowed to finish No. 12 in points allowed.
In April, Jaguars defensive players were given t-shirts that read, “Think Takeaways.”
“If you go to sleep thinking it, if you wake up thinking it, it’s going to happen for you.”@foyelicious says the defense had “Think Takeaways” shirts in their lockers on the first day of OTAs. pic.twitter.com/b3V4DaigXu
— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) April 19, 2023
During training camp, Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell was asked if it’s more important to rack up takeaways or keep an opponent’s offensive yardage in check.
“Probably the takeaways,” Caldwell said. “The takeaways give our offense another opportunity to go out there and it puts our offense on the sideline so the defense is off the field. Anytime you can take the ball away and give it back to our offense, that’s good for us. That’s what we strive to do.”
The San Francisco 49ers allowed the fewest points in the NFL last year. They finished second in the league in takeaways and first in interceptions.