The Jacksonville Jaguars made some news earlier, announcing they had released veteran LEO Jason Babin. The news was a bit of a surprise, considering the team had just re-signed Babin to a salary cap friendly contract earlier in the offseason. It appears, however, that the team is willing to move forward with Chris Clemons as their veteran pass rushing presence and let young guns Andre Branch, Ryan Davis and Chris Smith develop more.
This thought has led to a lot of fans proclaiming that Andre Branch in particular must be making leaps and bounds as a pass rusher. I’m not exactly sure that’s the case. Look, I’m not saying Branch hasn’t improved, because it’s quite possible he has. But in two seasons thus far, he has displayed an inability to bend around the edge and get consistent pressure. While his sack totals did improve last year, most of those came on stunts designed to let Branch run full speed ahead, straight at the quarterback.
I’ve seen some fans saying ‘who cares how you do it, as long as you get to the QB’. While I understand the notion that at the end of the day, pressure is always good, it does need to be understood that consistent pressure that is created individually by the player themselves is always better than sporadic pressure created by stunts.
Again, I’m not saying Andre Branch hasn’t improved this offseason, and I’m not saying he will absolutely get cut. I’m just saying that people need to pump the breaks a little bit on the matter, especially when reciting ‘coach speak’ about the situation. While I genuinely believe that Gus Bradley and Dave Caldwell are more honest than most other coaches and GM’s, there is always going to be a little bit of coach speak going on when it comes to players currently on the roster. So while you can find quotes from Gus about how much Branch has improved, you can also find positive quotes about Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne and Jason Babin.
Does Andre Branch have a chance at making the final roster? Absolutely. Personally, I think he has the longest shot. I don’t believe the team will drop Clemons, and Chris Smith was JUST selected in the fifth round. Assuming the team only keeps three guys at LEO, it seems to be a toss-up between Branch and Ryan Davis for the last spot. I would give Davis the nod on potential.
What do you guys think?