On the surface it appears that the Jaguars’ loss of linebacker Paul Posluszny seems huge. He’s a defensive captain, a leader, a veteran and probably the most high-profile player the Jaguars have outside of rookie quarterback Blake Bortles.
“It’s a big loss,” Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said when asked about Posluszny. “He’s been really playing really well lately. He’s been playing well ever since I’ve been here but I think he’s really coming into his own, really understands the defense now, really takes total command of the defense, so that will be a difficult one.”
It’s certainly a possibility that the Jaguars will have a lack of communication on defense, but how much are you actually losing with statistically one of the worst defenses in the NFL?
Gus Bradley has a plan for the short term to replace Posluszny.
“We’re going to talk about it but I think we will look at maybe JT (Thomas) being at our Mike spot and then that will allow guys like Dekoda (Watson) and LaRoy (Reynolds) at the Otto,” the Jaguars head coach said.
Undoubtedly, the Jaguars will be more athletic at the position as Posluszny was a major liability in coverage.
The surprising fact about the Jaguars linebacker shift is that rookie Telvin Smith will still be in a reserve role. Smith has been playing well in recent weeks and he grabbed the team’s first interception since their Week 1 loss to Philadelphia.
“I always like to say that I’m a big play guy, I like to change the game, so to be able to do that and show these guys that I could stand up on this level and play,” Jaguars rookie Telvin Smith said following the team’s first victory against Cleveland.
The Jaguars will tinker with the lineup and there will probably be a bit of a learning curve for everyone to fit into their new roles. Still, Paul Posluszny was a liability in the passing game and despite his lofty tackle statistics, he failed to wrap guys up immediately and hasn’t been the same player as he was in year’s past.
The Jaguars will now have more capable athletes on the field and if they can limit the mental errors, they will be a better defense.
“We’re just here to get better and take one day at a time,” linebacker Dekoda Watson said. “Getting better is not a painless experience; it’s something that we’re going to have to work for and strive towards getting there and that’s what we will continue to do.”
Over the past three weeks, the Jaguars defense leads the NFL with just 13 points per game allowed. They are also second in the NFL in sacks with 22 (Buffalo has 24). The competition (Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Cleveland) over the past three weeks certainly has something to do with the defensive renaissance. Still, the Jaguars defense is trending in the right direction and if they can continue improving quarterback Blake Bortles won’t have to do quite as much for the Jaguars to win games.
Jaguars Defense Will Keep Improving
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