Will J.J. Watt Terrorize the Jaguars’ Offensive Line in 2015?
By Luke Sims
J.J. Watt has managed to be a terror to just about any team in the NFL over the last few seasons. His 51.5 sacks over the last three years come in an era of dominance that is tough to fathom. There sometimes seems like nobody is there to stop the defensive end.
And it’s just the luck of the Jacksonville Jaguars that they have to play him twice a year because he’s in the same division.
Watt got his career rolling four years ago with a comparatively paltry 5.5 sacks. It was a taste of what would come for the Houston Texans. During that first season, two of those sacks came against the Jags in a 20-13 win for the Texans.
Three years ago in an impressive 20.5 sack season, Watt earned just 2.5 of those sacks against the Jaguars. Those 2.5 sacks are almost evenly split with 1.5 coming in the second game of the season and one coming in game ten. While Watt was utterly destroying other defenses, the Jaguars put up a comparatively sound defense blocking game together.
J.J. Watt’s third season in the league saw a dip in productivity against everyone, amassing just 10.5 sacks that season. That was the first year of the Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley regime and the new offense under Jedd Fisch for the Jaguars. Somehow, the team only allowed one sack to Watt that year, coming in a late November 13-6 victory for the Jaguars.
Last season was a return to form for Watt, amassing another impressive 20.5 sacks for the Texans. Poor Blake Bortles was rattled by everyone in the 2014 season and J.J. Watt was no different. The explosive defensive end took the Jags’ quarterback down six times in a span of four weeks, including ending the season with three in week 17.
Watt’s success against the Jaguars is impressive. Of his 57 career sacks, he has managed 11.5 of them against the Jags. That’s slightly more than 20% of his total sacks over the last four years coming from a team he has played just 12% of the time. The Jaguars have certainly not been the hunter in games against Watt. Instead, they have played the role of the prey.
2014 was undoubtedly the low point for the Jaguars against Watt and it led to a complete revamp of the Jaguars’ offensive line. Three new offensive line starters could be in place when the 2015 season opens, hopefully playing together for extended periods of time allowing the unit to gel. In addition, Blake Bortles will have a nearly-full season under his belt and will be entering the 2015 season with 14 games of experience unlike the planned 16 games of watching from the bench.
The Jaguars’ offense will not be the same mess it was last season. Instead, we are going to see a more cohesive unit and, hopefully, a unit capable of blocking terrors like J.J. Watt from padding their numbers. I’m calling it now, J.J. Watt will not terrorize the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015. He may get a couple of sacks, but don’t expect five or six this season. The Jaguars’ offensive line and a more experienced Bortles are going to avoid letting Watt pad his statistics for another year in the third year of the Caldwell/Bradley rebuild.
Next: Chris Clemons Reports to Mandatory Minicamp
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