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Jaguars defense showing promising signs

todayAugust 20, 2022

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By Hays Carlyon

The Jaguars forced nine turnovers last season.

That was the fewest in the NFL.

By five.

That’s astonishingly awful in a 17-game season.

I can tell you it won’t happen again. I’ve seen enough after another quality outing, this time in a 16-15 loss to Pittsburgh in the third preseason game on Saturday night at TIAA Bank Field. The starting defense gave up seven points, leaving the game after opening the third quarter with a three and out.

Jaguars coach Doug Pederson and general manager Trent Baalke have built a defense that looks like a play-making unit under first-year defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell.

I believe this defense will surpass last season’s takeaway mark by Halloween.

I believe they will force at least 20 this season. That isn’t difficult. Twenty defenses did that last season.

I don’t expect the Jaguars defense to be elite, but going from atrocious to above average is certainly in range.

The rush-and-cover component is what leads to turnovers. The Jaguars have that combination in outside linebackers Josh Allen and Travon Walker with cornerbacks Tyson Campbell, Shaq Griffin and Darious Williams.

They should be better against the run with free-agent additions in tackle Foley Fatukasi and inside linebacker Foye Oluokun.

Inside linebacker Devin Lloyd has yet to play, but should have immediate impact as he returns this coming week. Third-rounder Chad Muma looks good as well.

They Jaguars might have a star at safety in Andre Cisco and can rely on veteran Rayshawn Jenkins.

Veterans along the line like Dawuane Smoot, Arden Key, Roy Robertson-Harris, DaVon Hamilton and Adam Gotsis round out an underrated rotation. Key and Smoot have been fantastic in the preseason.

That’s 16 players on defense I feel good about.

The Jaguars had two players record more than three sacks last season: Allen (7.5) and Smoot (6). That number will significantly jump this season.

The Jaguars had one player with multiple interceptions: Campbell (2). That number will significantly jump this season.

This defense will feel way more like the sensational 2017 unit that led the team to the AFC Championship Game than the putrid unit of last season.

(You can email Hays at haysc@1010xl.com and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon).

Written by: 1010admin


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