LAKE FOREST — In the first half of Thursday night’s preseason game, Jaguars quarterbacks Chad Henne and Blake Bortles combined to complete 19-of-27 passes for 244 yards and a touchdown, good for a rating of 110.7.
The pass rush was fine, the run defense was good, but the two quarterbacks found receivers with ease underneath in openings in the zone defense.
We have seen some more man defense looks from the Bears through two preseason games, but there will still be times of zone defense, which will have different safeties and linebackers communicating.
Trestman explained how the zone defense develops over time to start the season, and why they may give up lots of completions early.
“I think zone coverage, playing underneath zone coverage, is one of the last things that really come together in zone defenses. They also had four or five boots. Their movement game was very good, as well. And we’ve got to do some work with that, and we’re going to work on that this week,” he said. “That’s the toughest part of playing coverage is the underneath portions of zone coverage usually come together last. And we’ve got some work to do in that area, and we’re going to get back at it this week.”
Headset malfunction: Trestman told us on Thursday night that they lost head coach-quarterback communication in their headsets, which impacted 3-5 plays, including Jimmy Clausen’s interception. Clausen had to go on his own, and Trestman discussed what Clausen did right, and what he could have done better.
“Jimmy did a good job of at least getting a call up that was a sound play, and it was a similar one to the one we called except the backside was not a deep over. The call wouldn’t have been a deep over,” Trestman said. “The call would have been a shallow. But coverage dictated on that play that he go back to that side, but 50, their linebacker (Telvin Smith) really made a heck of a play. He just got a tip on it.
“If Jimmy would have checked it down he would have gotten a completion. He had a chance to make the play and again 50 made a good play, so I can’t say it was a lack of judgment to throw it to the second level there, but again the defender made the play.”
Shea improves: Trestman singled out Shea McClellin for playing better this week. McClellin at times looked out of place in the preseason opener, but was more active against the Jaguars. “It’s a real football game, and you could see a little more confidence, a little more reactive and natural reactions to making plays,” he said. “I thought he got better, and that’s a good sign. We’ve got two more weeks, and I’m hopeful that he’ll continue to make progress.”
Mundy in “a good place”: Ryan Mundy has been the best of the safeties competing to start, and Trestman would not admit that the newcomer has separated himself in the competition, but did praise his play. “He’s certainly deep in this competition to be one of the top two safeties on our team. And I think he has gone out there the last two weeks and he has been out there with the ones consistently, and he has practiced well,” Trestman said. “I think he is in a good position. We’re going to wait it out and see what all happens here for the next few weeks. But I think he’s in a good place. We’ll see how the rest of the camp goes.”
Return issues: Trestman was pleased with the coverage teams and punters, but not so much with the returners. “We’re not feeling good today about our kickoff return and our punt return game right now. We’ve got to do better.”