The Jacksonville Jaguars finished the 2017-18 NFL season with 55.0 sacks, second best in the NFL, only behind the Pittsburgh Steelers (56.0). One crucial piece for this pass rush for “Sacksonville” was the interior defensive line’s ability to create pressure.
The Jaguars bolstered their defensive line last offseason with the addition of Calais Campbell, who was versatile for the Jaguars last season, being named an All-Pro at both defensive tackle (second-team) and defensive end (first-team). Campbell burst onto the scene for the Jaguars in the first game of the season against the Houston Texans, when he broke the franchise record for sacks in a game (4.0). Campbell would finish his first season with the Jaguars with the team record for sacks in a season (14.5).
As the season progressed, a flaw in the Jaguars defensive line started to become very clear; the interior was getting slashed with run plays down the middle. The Jaguars wasted no time to address the situation before it was too late. Their solution? Trading a fifth-round pick to the Buffalo Bills for former 2011 third overall pick, Marcell Dareus. Dareus was a significant upgrade to the Jaguars nose tackle spot and turned the Jaguars from the worst run defense (138.6 Yds/G) to the best in the league (55.3 Yds/G) following the acquisition of Dareus. In recent interviews with Dareus, he appears to be settling in well in Jacksonville and the Jaguars could be in for some career numbers from the tackle, who seems to be trending back up in his career unlike near the end of his stint in Buffalo.
Projected defensive tackle depth chart
*Note: Italics = projected starter, Underline = Acquired in 2018 FA/Draft*
Nose Tackle: Marcell Dareus, Abry Jones
Defensive Tackle: Malik Jackson, Taven Bryan, Calais Campbell, Eli Ankou
Going into the 2017 season, The Jaguars only carried ten defensive linemen. The split was five defensive ends and five defensive tackles. My guess is they stay very similar to that structure this season as well. The good news for the Jaguars is they have guys like Calais Campbell and Taven Bryan, who will be used all across the defensive line, which gives the Jaguars a little bit of flexibility if an injury were to occur along the line.
A wild card to make the 53-man roster to start the season is UNLV DT Mike Hughes Jr. Hughes Jr. was signed in the initial wave of Jaguars UDFA’s following the 2018 NFL draft. Per Ourlads.com, Hughes is listed as a nose tackle and could make the roster as NT depth, but with the offense likely to be taking more spots than usual, the defense might have to sacrifice a tad bit of depth. Look for Hughes Jr. to be a practice squad candidate if he doesn’t make the Jaguars initial 53-man roster.
All in all, the Jaguars interior defensive line doesn’t seem to be in line for any major shakeups. The biggest addition was when the Jaguars selected former Florida defensive tackle, Taven Bryan, 29th overall in the 2018 NFL draft. Bryan provides versatility across the line and could line up at the big end spot quite a bit this season, which might mean that Campbell could be seeing more time inside this season. Bryan provides insane amounts of burst at the point of attack and should give offensive linemen some trouble this upcoming season.
Grade breakdowns 2017 (Per ProFootballFocus.com)
Malik Jackson- 86.4 OVR/81.7 Rush Def/83.4 Pass Rush
Marcell Dareus- 79.7 OVR/79.1 Rush Def/72.7 Pass Rush
Abry Jones- 77.0 OVR/73.9 Rush Def/72.7 Pass Rush
Eli Ankou- 59.9 OVR/60.0 Rush Def/57.0 Pass Rush
Taven Bryan- N/A
Check out the rest of the Locked on Jaguars position group breakdowns below:
Jaguars Release Jamaal Charles, Promote Linebacker DeLuca
The Jacksonville Jaguars have released running back Jamaal Charles after trading for Carlos Hyde and have promoted Linebacker Nick DeLuca. Charles was brought in to be a change of pace back for the Jaguars after placing Corey Grant on season-ending injured reserve.
The Jaguars traded for Carlos Hyde last week making Charles expendable. Charles accounted for 7 yards on 6 caries for the Jaguars. He also added two catches for seven yards. Running back Leonard Fournette has not been ruled out to play this week either and will travel with the team to London according to Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone.
Nick DeLuca is a rookie linebacker from NDSU. He was signed to the practice squad earlier in the season and has now been promoted due to the injury to linebacker Donald Payne. Payne will be out at least a couple of weeks with a knee injury.
We have promoted rookie LB @N_DeLuca49 to the 53-man active roster from the practice squad.
To make room on the roster, we released 11th-year RB Jamaal Charles. pic.twitter.com/OmiHd2wtvZ
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) October 22, 2018
Editorial: The Jacksonville Jaguars have nailed their own coffin
In electing to stick with Blake Bortles as their starting quarterback, despite benching him for a poor performance against the Texans and watching his backup Cody Kessler vastly outperform him in the same game, the Jacksonville Jaguars have nailed their own coffin.
Now sitting at a 3-4 record, on a three game losing streak, and in third place in the AFC South (the Titans own the tiebreaker for second place), it was clearly time for change to get this ship steered in the correct direction. Just seven weeks aggo, this Jaguars team was viewed as a potential Super Bowl contender. Right now, this team is projected to pick in the first half of the 2019 NFL Draft.
And they can’t blame anyone but themselves at this point.
“We can’t do s**t until we stop turning the ball over. Period. That’s just how it is,” head coach Doug Marrone said following the loss to the Texans. “…the first thing we’ve got to do is stop turning the damn ball over.”
In three consecutive games, the latest of which he barely played past halftime, Bortles has eight turnovers of his own: Five interceptions and three fumbles.
“I spoke to both quarterbacks this afternoon and told them that Blake will be our team’s quarterback. I believe this gives us the best opportunity to win,” Marrone stated in a release from the team after Bortles was named the team’s starter going forward.
In a 24 hour period, Marrone has stated that, while turnovers are the Jaguars biggest issue, the player who is responsible for countless amounts of turnovers gives the team the best chance to win football games. That is the message that is being sent to this team, and the Jaguars fan base.
And the team isn’t happy. Star cornerback Jalen Ramsey was quoted saying “It is no secret what’s going on here right now. Ain’t nobody going to say it because we can’t, but it ain’t no secret what’s going on and it ain’t right right now,” after the loss to the Texans. Given the circumstances, it’s hard to assume this was shade thrown at the quarterback situation.
Ramsey deleted a post of him and Bortles shaking hands on the field from his Instagram this morning.
Defensive tackle Abry Jones put the responsibility of the offenses deficiencies on the defense, quoted saying “We can’t let them [opposing offenses] score at all.”
The Jaguars have chosen to be complacent, and in doing so, this season will continue to plummet. The confidence is low heading into London this week, and the Eagles pass rush should have an easy job forcing Bortles into more poor decisions as this Jaguars team appears to be on track to a 3-5 record at their bye week.
This team was supposed go contend this year. At one point in September, the Jaguars had single digit odds to win the Super Bowl. But that is all in the rearview mirror, as the Jaguars have nailed their own coffin in naming Blake Bortles the starting quarterback of a team that is already beginning to implode.
Jaguars announce Blake Bortles will remain the starting QB
24 hours removed from his first career benching, where he was clearly outplayed by his own backup in a 20-7 loss to the Houston Texans, Blake Bortles has been named the starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars for Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles in London, per the team.
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone announced in a statement: “I spoke to both quarterbacks this afternoon and told them that Blake will be our team’s quarterback. I believe this gives us the best opportunity to win.”
This comes under two hours removed from Marrone saying he had made his decision already but planned on addressing the team before releasing that information to the public. Bortles was benched after committing two turnovers against the Texans on Sunday, and Kessler completed 21/30 passes for 156 yards, a touchdown and an interception in his place.
Bortles has committed eight turnovers in the past three weeks.
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