Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Abry Jones said it isn’t good enough to be known as one of the best defenses in the NFL.
Jaguars’ defensive tackle Abry Jones knows that even as good as the defense was last season, it can get better. No more third-and-short for this franchise. Jones, who plays in a rotation with Marcell Dareus and Malik Jackson, said if the team wants to get more sacks, defenders need to stop the run.
“We are going to be a force to be reckoned with,” he said in the Jaguars’ locker room following the second day of minicamp. “No one came in this year saying we can just rush the passer. If we want more sacks, we need to stop the run.”
With Jones, Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Dareus, Jackson, Dante Fowler, Jr and rookie Taven Bryan coming at opposing quarterbacks from all sides of the defensive line, it’s easy to understand the idea of rush the passer first and worry about the run later.
That’s all about to change. Jones, a former Georgia Bulldogs star, knows this team has a chance to get better from the first snap of the regular season.
Todd Wash, the team’s defensive coordinator praised the line for its effort in camp, saying as a unit all of the players on the roster work together with one common goal. They also play with a bit of a chip on their shoulder, trying to erase what could have been.
Jones thinks there is motivation in wanting more this season. He said everyone in the locker room wants to be the consensus best defense in the NFL – period.
“We made a lot of headway last year, but no one talked about us being the best d-line in the league. They said we were one of the best. But we want to just be the best,” he said.
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Jones is soft-spoken, but his play on the field is part of this team’s success. He was an undrafted rookie free agent out of Athens and made an impression on the coaching staff in 2013. He has been here ever since. At 6-foot-4 and 318 pounds, he takes up plenty of space in the middle.
One of the things Jones agreed with me on was the changes in the locker room. As we discussed in other stories, there is no Paul Posluszny or Marcedes Lewis on hand to lead by example. He said Campbell has been a leader on and off the field. The same holds true for Telvin Smith, who seems to have inherited the leader role from his mentor. There are players who aren’t afraid to speak up if an issue needs to be discussed.
Nothing is taken personally. This is a team that understands business comes first.
“When something is needed to be said, no holds anything back because they know it’s what the team needs,” Jones explained.
Jones said he speaks up when he needs to but lets others like Campbell and Smith do the talking. He would rather talk to the defensive line or players around him. He is not the kind of guy to call a player’s only meeting. As a whole, the team does a good job of communicating what needs to be done on and off the field.