Jacksonville Jaguars Safety Play Was One of the League’s Worst in 2014, According to Matt Miller


Heading into the 2014 season, many analysts were expecting big things from Jacksonville Jaguars safety Johnathan Cyprien heading into his sophomore season. While Josh Evans wasn’t expected to be a high caliber running mate next to him, most expected Cyprien to “make the leap” and become a playmaker on the defensive side of the ball.

The Jaguars struggled to a 3-13 record in 2014, partially on the fault of a leaky back end on defense. Evans’ play fell off a cliff and Cyprien was forced to play a much more expanded role than expected for most of the season. As a result, Cyprien seemed to be out of his element and didn’t improve as much as most hoped.

Matt Miller went through and ranked the top 85 safeties according to play in 2014 (as he’s done with  quarterbacks, running backswide receivers, tight ends linebackers and centers) and the Jaguars aren’t given sparkling grades.

Josh Evans is dead last at number 85:

"85. Josh Evans, Jacksonville Jaguars – 55/100"

"Coverage: 29/50; Run Defense: 17/30; Tackling: 6/15; Starter: 3/5Josh Evans (6”0, 205 lbs, two seasons) has struggled in his first two seasons in the NFL. The former sixth-round pick out of the University of Florida has started 25 of 32 games in two seasons. Evans isn’t known for his play against the run, although he did rack up 84 tackles last season. His role looks to be more suited as a backup/special teams guy with the additions this offseason of Sergio Brown and rookie James Sample."

While Cyprien didn’t fare much better at number 78:

"78. John Cyprien, Jacksonville Jaguars – 66/100"

"Coverage: 33/50; Run Defense: 22/30; Tackling: 7/15; Starter: 4/5John Cyprien (6’0”, 217 lbs, two seasons) has the speed and skill set you need to be a good coverage free safety. For whatever reason, his pass-coverage skills were lacking last year, and he graded out much better in run defense. The former FIU product had a good beginning and end to the season, but it was in the middle of the season when it seemed he got picked on in coverage. He started every game, but in half he was lined up as the free safety and in the other half he was lined up as the strong safety."

The Jaguars clearly felt they needed upgraded safety play, as they made a hard push for Devin McCourty, but settled for Sergio Brown in free agency and James Sample in the draft. Cyprien’s starting job appears to be safe, but either Brown or Sample will almost assuredly be starting next to Cyprien at free safety and Evans is firmly on the roster bubble.

Next: Bortles had lost opportunities in 2014

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