Andre Branch expected to miss significant time with knee sprain


The Jacksonville Jaguars have had a rather successful preseason so far thanks to the stellar play of second year quarterback Blake Bortles, but they still have a major problem on their hands in regards to rushing the passer.

Already shorthanded with the loss of Dante Fowler Jr., the Jaguars lost another piece of their LEO rotation in Friday night’s preseason loss to the Lions when Andre Branch went down with a knee sprain:

It’s tough to see a guy like Branch go down in his contract year, but he honestly wasn’t having any kind of impact whatsoever in the preseason. He’s been underwhelming to say the least since coming into the league and the team curiously keeps giving him chances. In his absence, it appears second year LEO Chris Smith will be given more snaps:

This is probably for the best, as Smith has vastly outperformed Branch in training camp and the preseason. Even just the opportunity cost of Branch coming off the field for guys like Smith and Cap Capi to get in the rotation appears to be a plus. The team will also likely put free agent pickup Dan Skuta in that role on occasion:

All of that aside, this isn’t ideal for the Jaguars as they were already going to have to be creative yet again to get pressure on the quarterback. Unless someone like Smith or Capi steps up and develops into a reliable edge rusher, the Jaguars secondary is going to have to hold up in coverage a lot longer than coaches would like. Matthew Stafford was the third starting quarterback in as many weeks who seemingly had as much time as he wanted in the pocket to throw the ball against the first team defense.

Next: Bortles shines in loss

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