Jags following Belichick's blueprint

Originally Published: October 1, 2004
By Gary Horton | Scouts, Inc.
After a week of studying film, our lead scout surveys the Week 3 landscape and weighs in with his picks for the weekend's potential stars, the best matchups, the games to watch and more.

The NFL is the ultimate "copycat" league. When a trend or scheme becomes successful, everyone takes notice, and that is what's happening with Jacksonville's outstanding defense right now.

Even before his days in New England, Patriots coach Bill Belichick has preached building defenses from the inside out and funneling everything to the perimeter. This philosophy was adopted by the 2000 Baltimore Ravens during their Super Bowl run when they had DTs Sam Adams and Tony Siragusa along with MLB Ray Lewis.

Jacksonville head coach Jack Del Rio was the Ravens' linebackers coach in 2000, and now he has built the Jaguars' defense around a strong interior, anchored by DTs Marcus Stroud and John Henderson and MLB Mike Peterson. Stroud and Henderson control the line of scrimmage, playing either one-gap or two-gap schemes, and force offenses to run wide, where the pursuit can catch up. It's working for the 3-0 Jags, but it started years ago with Belichick.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.