When your defense finishes 29th in points allowed, 30th in yards allowed, 28th in defense-adjusted value over average (DOVA) and didn’t score a single defensive touchdown, you have no place to go but up.
And that’s what new Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley is tasked with fixing this year. It seems like a monumental task considering that the entire Jaguars team didn’t match the sack total of Houston Texans superstar, J.J. Watt.
Let’s take a look at the few Jaguars headliners this year.
First up are the guys in the trenches. Jason Babin is a 33-year-old free agent that was recently released by the Philadelphia Eagles. While his production was all but non-existent in 2012, he tallied 30.5 sacks between years 2010-2011. Age might have caught up with Babin, but he should still provide defensive leadership for this year’s Jags.
Two years ago, Jeremy Mincey looked ready to become a breakout player, but last year he only produced a mere three sacks. If he takes Babin’s lead, the two should be able to match decent production with six sacks apiece.
Paul Posluszny and Russell Allen are manning the linebacker spots, and they are tackling machines. Too bad that’s all they really offer. ‘Pos’ and Allen put up gaudy numbers because they too often allow runners, tight ends and slot guys to reach their level.
If someone could teach them how to get in the backfield or cut off screens, maybe they’d offer more fantasy potential.
And finally, the secondary. Dawan Landry was one of their more sure tacklers, but he left town for the New York Jets. He has since been replaced through the draft with Jonathan Cyprien, a second-round pick from Florida International. Cyprien, known as a devastating hitter, was penciled in as a starter since the draft but hasn’t seen much of the field due to injury.
Joining him in the secondary is fellow rookie Dwayne Gratz, a former UConn Huskies player that hopes to win a starter’s role at corner.
Truth be told, this isn’t going to be a great team on either side of the ball. There are too many holes this year to make a huge difference, and they’ll probably be drafting in the top-five against next year. Do yourself a favor — don’t draft the Jaguars defense, and don’t bother picking them up off the waiver wire.