The Jacksonville Jaguars made strides on defense in 2016, but their front-seven wasn’t nearly disruptive enough to help them win games.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are busy pretending to make big moves to change their staff, but we should also take some time to reflect. The Jaguars had a horrific record in 2016 (3-13) and their season was perhaps the most disappointing in franchise history, but the moves being made on the staff and in the front office would indicate it was all former head coach Gus Bradley’s fault.
It’s fair to say the Jaguars were a more talented team last year compared to the preceding 4-6 seasons, but it didn’t translate to wins. One stat being touted by some is the Jaguars improvement on defense.
While the unit was improved, the Jaguars still weren’t good enough up front to control games. Pro Football Focus agrees as they ranked the Jaguars front-seven 26th best in 2016:
"26. Jacksonville JaguarsTop overall grade: LB Paul Posluszny, 88.4Lowest overall grade: DE Yannick Ngakoue, 41.3No team struggled to create pressure off the edge more than the Jaguars. As a team, they were 25th in pressure rate, but their starting ends, Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler, were 44th and 48th in pass-rushing productivity, respectively, among starters. The only saving grace was the linebacker corps. Paul Posluszny led all linebackers with 23 stops in coverage, while Telvin Smith wasn’t far behind, with 21."
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I enjoy Pro Football Focus and think they do a good job overall, but the top grade (Poz) and lowest grade (Yannick) is a good example of how far their grading system has to go before being a legitimate parameter for judging a player. Pozluszny had a good season but he’s a limited player and quite frankly isn’t even the 4th best player in the front-seven.
The big takeaway from the snippet that is actually insightful is how bad the Jaguars were at creating pressure. The Jaguars had a respectable sack number (33) but a majority of those came thanks to timely blitz calls from Todd Wash. The Jaguars absolutely need another edge rusher this year even if you expect Dante Fowler to improve in year 2.