Previewing the ’10 Jaguars – The Linebackers
By Zoltan Paksa
I think this LB corp will be really good against the run. With Daryl Smith, I think linebackers can even give pass rush support. (I didn’t mentioned; but Larry Hart can also play OLB for couple of downs very easily). The issue I have with the LB group is the pass coverage and to be exact the coverage of the TEs! Last year the Jaguars had issues in this particular area. We all remember how Clint Ingram failed to eliminate 49ers TE Vernon Davis against San Fransisco. Or how the Jaguars needed a LB to switch off Dallas Clark or at least gave help to Reggie Nelson (who was torched in that game – again-) at the second Indy game. Morrison is great against the run but not so good against the pass. I think Daryl Smith has the ability to cover TEs and WRs if he needed too. I’m not exactly sure about Durant or Allen in that area. Maybe if the pass rush will resurrected as we expect this year, it might provide enough help to the secondary and the LBs to solve the problem of covering tight ends. But I think that area is still a very big concern.
Other then this; I’m optimistic about the LBs. Jack Del Rio has 3 starter quality LBs(Morrison; Daryl Smith; Durant). 2 of them are locked as starters; the 3rd is in his contract year. He has 2 really good backup LBs who can easily hit the field and play if something happens to any of the 3 LBs (Keiaho; Allen). And some players who we know little yet but have potential to be this years Russell Allen. (I’m looking at you Kyle Bosworth)
This group can easily give enough support to the defensive line and both the DE’s and LBs can easily become a very powerfiul front 7. The pass (and TE) coverage is an issue; but I hope the pass rush can limit that threat too. Keep on eye on the Durant-Allen battle; and I think Justin Durant will be one of the players who has much to prove this year. I bet though the LB group will be a force for this team. Keep on eye on these young men!