Jaguars: Three bold predictions for training camp
By David Levin
As the Jaguars move toward OTAs this week and training camp this summer, there could be a few moves the coaching staff makes that surprises us all.
Two days and counting until the Jacksonville Jaguars begin OTAs and their third phase of the team’s offseason workout program. As the 90 players on the roster get set to brave the heat and humidity of North Florida, the tone will be set for what hopefully becomes another playoff season.
I think it’s safe to say we all want to forget about 2018.
The Jaguars made plenty of changes this offseason. Key additions. Key subtractions. Some moves raised eyebrows. Some were a relief for the fan base. In all, this is a new year with new opportunities for the team, coaching staff and the organization.
What will this team look like heading into training camp? Are there a few moves that will shock us? It’s possible. Here’s a look at three things that could happen.
The Jaguars shuffle linebackers – Despite his recent announcement that he will be the team’s MIKE linebacker for the upcoming season, Myles Jack is moved over to the WILL spot, in place of Telvin Smith. It would be the third position Jack has played in the defensive scheme since being drafted in 2016.
The team moves free agent signee Jake Ryan inside to fill Jack’s spot. The Jaguars signed Ryan with the intention of playing him inside – the same position he played in 2017 with the Green Bay Packers before suffering an ACL injury in training camp last season.
The other slot, SAM, is won by rookie Josh Allen. While the team drafted him to play on the line and his first reps on the practice field were at defensive end, his speed and athleticism allow defensive coordinator Todd Wash to make such a decision.
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Chris Conley wins starting slot – I thought the move to bring veteran Chris Conley from Kansas City was more of a strategic move since the Jaguars do not count on Marqise Lee playing before the latter part of the preseason. But the more I think about it, there is a legitimate chance Conley could line up opposite Dede Westbrook on Week 1 against the Chiefs.
Conley gives the Jaguars size at 6-foot-3 and speed on the outside. The idea of him, along with Westbrook and DJ Chark spreading the field is another dimension the Jaguars lacked last season.
Conley has caught 104 passes in four seasons. He needs to stay healthy and should become a solid pass/catch combination with Foles.
If he catches 50 balls this year, he will have helped Jacksonville’s passing game immeasurably.
Calais Campbell moves inside – If the Jaguars do not use Josh Allen as the SAM linebacker, he could become a starter at defensive end. This would necessitate the team moving Calais Campbell inside to defensive tackle.
The thought of Yannick Ngakoue, Allen, Marcell Dareus, and Campbell as your starting defensive line is stupid scary. It also means the interior defensive line rotation, with Abry Jones and Taven Bryan just got that much better.
The Jaguars have Campbell on the books this season, but that might not be the case in 2020. Allen cannot remain a reserve for long, especially since the team took him with the No. 7 pick. The team pass rush took a dip last season. While Ngakoue and Campbell still combined for 20 sacks, there is a lack of depth on the edge.
Moving Campbell around gives the team more options in passing situations.