by Cole Pepper
August 5, 2013
Want some motivation to improve? Last year, Texans defensive star J.J. Watt had more sacks than the Jaguars did as a team.
Needless to say, improving the pass rush is a major focus of Gus Bradley and his staff. In the first week and a half of the pre-season, the pass rush was anything but impressive. But with Jason Babin getting healthy, the rush suddenly appeared Saturday night at the Jaguars scrimmage. The Jaguars hope that is just the beginning.
“Coach preaches to us that it’s a process and to trust the process,” Babin said. “Each step is going to come and the pieces are going to fall into place.”
The Jaguars defensive scheme this year will feature a line with three big guys and a speed rusher, particularly on early downs. This has forced Tyson Alualu from defensive tackle to defensive end in early down situations.
“As a bigger defensive end, we want to set the edge, stop the run, do my job out there,” Alualu said. “There’s a lot of good talent, people who can rush the passer. There are going to be times that I’m going to have to rush from the outside. Being a bigger body, it’s a lot of power rushes, trying to collapse the pocket.”
There could be a scenario where Alualu moves inside to provide some rush on 3rd down. But that’s no guarantee since the Jaguars appear to be as deep on the defensive line as they have been in years. The free agent signings of Sen’Derrick Marks (Titans), Roy Miller (Buccaneers), Kyle Love and Brandon Deaderick (Patriots) have created a stockpile of big bodies. Add to that, the biggest body on the Jaguars roster, 364 pound rookie T.J. Barnes and the Jaguars should stop the run better this year. That leads us back to Alualu and his role.
“We gotta find guys who can win one-on-ones. We need more rush,” said defensive line coach Todd Wash. “We see some good change of direction for a guy [Alualu] that’s 305 pounds. Our package is built with one big end to the tight end side. We’re not asking him to be a big sack guy. We’re asking him to stop the run and condense the pocket.”
The Jaguars defensive line is full of potential and “what ifs” and if some of those questions can be answered positively, things could be dramatically different in Jacksonville this season.
“We feel that the sky is the limit for us,” Babin said. “I think everyone is excited to see how its going to work. Hopefully we wreak some havoc.”