Dec 16, 2012; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Jason Babin (58) causes Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) to fumble in the second quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
It may sound odd, but right now, with apparently no other “LEO” on the team, Jason Babin is the key to the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2013 defense. Babin was a mid-season acquisition for the Jaguars in 2012 and he proved that while he may not be as good as he once was, he is still a force to be reckoned with.
This offseason he gets to learn the schemes and will come in experienced and ready to go. He will be the key to the defense. The journeyman defensive end may have finally found a spot where he can be the veteran leader and be comfortable knowing that he is in a place and with a team that wants him. Jaguars.com senior writer John Oehser may have said it best, “But [Babin] hasn’t seen this. Or at least he hadn’t heard it. Not until now. Not a head coach telling him he wants him on the team – really, really wants him – while at the same time telling him he’s going to be key to the defense while telling him he also wants him to take on a leadership role.”
Babin seems to be embracing his new role well. “If I can help this team, it’s what I’m going to do – any way I can,” he said. “[Head coach Gus Bradley] makes you feel good about it.” Babin’s LEO role is the key to the defense that Bradley employs and he will have to do it well if the Jaguars hope to be successful on defense. Coming from a “Wide 9” edge rushing position with the Philadelphia Eagles, Babin should be able to translate his skills effectively and put some pressure on the quarterback, opening things up for the rest of the defense.
As the draft nears we’ll have to see if the Jaguars are able to get someone else like Babin on the team who can take some snaps and bring a different approach to rushing the passer as well.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims