Defense Dominates PM Practice

Although the skies looked ominous prior to the 7 p.m. start of Jaguars practice, everything cleared and the team practiced under ideal, cool conditions. Although the weather remained benign, the Jaguars quarterbacks looked anything but comfortable as the team's defense ruled the evening



The Jaguars practiced in shells for the first time this summer which offers up the defense line a pretty obvious advantage over their offensive counterparts. Still, with the team's struggles a season ago rushing opposing passers, it was nice for Jaguars fans to see their guys in white jerseys collapsing the pocket.

Although starring in camp at the end of July means little as far as regular season success, it gives the fans and front office positive feelings about the offseason plan which was to completely renovate the defensive line. A few players that stood out during Saturday nights practice were rookie defensive end Larry Hart and former first-round draft pick Derrick Harvey. Both Harvey and Hart were able to explode off the edge routinely, which made several of the Jaguars offensive tackles appear as if their feet were trapped in cement.

Derrick Harvey, a player who the Jaguars believed would solve their pass rushing woes following the 2007 season, has struggled in his first two seasons registering just 5.5 sacks. In Year Three, Harvey is trying to prove that the "bust" label may be a bit premature, as he has dropped 10 lbs. and is looking quicker than ever. Certainly having an infusion of talent around him on the defensive line and a new line coach in Joe Cullen can't hurt as he hopes to live up to his draft status.

Larry Hart has a chip on his shoulder, but for a much different reason. Hart has always been considered undersized, standing just six feet tall and weighing just 248 lbs. Despite Hart being an exceptional high school player, his lack of size forced him to go the Community College route before landing at the University of Central Arkansas.

Although Hart earned Southland Conference Co-player of the Year honors after his senior season, size maintained a concern for many NFL teams and caused the talented defensive end to drop to the fifth round, where the Jaguars pounced.

"Other than the three top pass rushers in this draft (Brandon Graham, Jason Pierre-Paul, Derrick Morgan), to me we felt like that was the next best pass rusher in this draft," Jaguars defensive line coach Joe Cullen said of Hart.

Aside from Harvey and Hart, rookie defensive end Austen Lane, Walter Curry and Jeremy Mincey were all able to beat their counterparts and get consistent pressure.

As far as the linebackers were concerned, Daryl Smith sat out the practice while Russell Allen took some of his reps and continued his strong camp. Justin Durant was active in coverage, nearly intercepting a few passes.

The Jaguars secondary was solid all around with the exception of a few dropped interceptions.


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