Jacksonville Jaguars Preseason Analysis: Pass rush still a major concern


Lost in the excitement of the offense’s success so far during the preseason is the complete lack of a pass rush on the defensive side of the ball for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Oddly enough, most national analysts aren’t really anticipating what will probably be the biggest area of concern for the team heading into 2015. A quick glance at the Jaguars’ sack numbers in 2014 might indicate a fairly effective pass rush (45 sacks), but that hides the fact that the team didn’t consistently get pressure on the opposing quarterback.

The front office clearly recognized this issue in the offseason and tried to address the it by selecting Dante Fowler Jr. with the third overall selection in the 2015 NFL draft. Fowler isn’t going to make an impact this year, leaving the Jaguars back at square one with the pass rush.

Chris Clemons absence and Andre Branch‘s mediocrity has left the Jaguars completely helpless in the first two preseason games. After letting Ben Roethlisberger carve them up in one series, the Jaguars’ defensive line was lucky that New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning decided to have an awful night and overthrow his receivers often last week.

Heading into the third week of the preseason, the Jaguars two best pass rushers have been Chris Smith and the terrifically named Cap Capi.

With Clemons returning to the lineup this week, we should get a better look at the pass rushing arsenal that will most likely be deployed in the regular season, but the team might have to turn to some lesser known names to get pressure. Smith is arguably better than Branch at this point and it’s going to be hard to keep Capi off the roster if he continues to play well.

The Jaguars are going to once again need to be creative and manufacture a way to get to the quarterback this year if nobody steps up.

Next: Beadles locked in at guard?

More from Black and Teal