Sep 22, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate (81) breaks the tackle by Jacksonville Jaguars outside linebacker Geno Hayes (55) during the 1st half at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Jacksonville 45-17. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
With free agency on the horizon, it is as good a time as any to take an in-depth look at the performance of each position group on the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013. As a standard metric to start the conversation, Pro Football Focus grades were used to get an initial look at how each player fared in the 2013 regular season. Specific information about how Pro Football Focus comes up with their grades is available in their FAQ.
Today we continue breaking down the defense and look at another group that needs to be upgraded with both starters and depth – the linebackers.
Paul Posluszny was signed for a lot of money back when Gene Smith was busy constructing the worst roster in the NFL, and while Poz has been solid, he arguably wasn’t worth the exorbitant contract he signed. As he has his whole career, Posluszny provided a steady presence in the middle and piled up a bunch of tackles. He doesn’t provide much as a pass rusher and he’s average to mediocre in coverage. He’s overpaid, but the Jaguars are in such a good cap situation that he’s likely safe this year.
Geno Hayes was one of David Caldwell’s low-risk free agents signings last offseason and he was about what everyone expected. Hayes is probably the fastest linebacker on the team and has the athleticism to keep up in coverage for the most part. His run defense grade was atrocious and he’ll probably always be a liability in that department.
Russell Allen earned a starting spot after rotating in and out over the last few years and he was serviceable despite limited athleticism. He should start again in 2014 if he’s healthy.
Looking at the rest of the group, the most intriguing guy is LaRoy Reynolds. He played mainly on special teams but he showed a lot of versatility as a pass rusher on the edge in his limited snaps at linebacker. He should get a long, hard look this summer as a starter or rotational player.
The Jaguars need to add speed at linebacker if they want to continue to add pieces and reach the model laid out by the Seattle Seahawks.
2013 Position Grade, Linebacker – C-
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