If there was an Achilles Heel to the Jacksonville Jaguars defense last season, it may have been the team’s rush defense. Enter Marcell Dareus, who helped the team’s run defense improve the second half of the 2017 season.
It’s hard to imagine, but there were deficiencies on the Jacksonville Jaguars defense last season. As Todd Wash stated during OTA’s, the team needs to get better on third and six. The front seven must also do a better job of containing opposing running backs this season if they hope to reach the Super Bowl next February.
The Jaguars were at or near the bottom of the league in rush defense through the first seven games of the season. During the team’s bye week, general manager David Caldwell traded for Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, a move that proved to pay dividends immediately. As Fansided’s Russell Baxter wrote, the trade was a significant one for the team moving forward.
"“Things got better after the team picked up Dareus during the season. But there’s still work to be done here,” Baxter said."
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The Jaguars have plenty of depth up front, with a rotation of Dareus, Abry Jones and Malik Jackson, who had his best season in the NFL last year. Add rookie Taven Bryan, who will play this season on the outside at end, but can also play inside as a tackle. From a numbers standpoint, this should be a better group overall in 2018.
You can never have too many defensive linemen.
Depth is going to play a huge role in how the defense plays in 2018. While the Jaguars did not blitz often in 2017, sending only four to rush the passer on most downs, the middle of the line must contain the running game, and force opponents into passing situations.
Dareus is going through his first training camp with Jacksonville, which gives him more opportunity to get a grasp of Todd Wash’s defensive system. If he can give this unit the same kind of effort from the start of the season like he did when he arrived after the team’s bye week, then this defense could be known as the best in the NFL, period.