Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack told Jaguars.com he is ready to be the quarterback of this defense in 2019.
We have talked a bit this offseason here at Black and Teal about who will step forward as a leader on the field and in the locker room for the Jacksonville Jaguars. We know Nick Foles has come in from day one and preached the importance of chemistry and moving forward.
Calais Campbell may be the more respected player on the roster and took on the leadership role of this defense the first time he walked onto the practice fields. It’s almost a given both players will be counted on to guide rookies and push veterans to do their best in game-time situations. But who else is fit to lead? Which veteran will make the “jump” from teammate to leader and have the kind of season we wrote about in 2017?
It might be linebacker Myles Jack, who is openly said he wants to be that kind of player his teammates can count on.
Back in May, I wrote about Jack being “the guy” who has the biggest turnaround of any player on this roster. After hearing him proclaim himself as the “The MIKE” linebacker of this defense and read what he had to say in an interview on Jaguars.com, there is a reason to believe my prediction could prove prophetic.
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"“My goal this offseason was to become a second coach on the field,” Jack said during 2019 Jaguars minicamp. “My role in this defense is, No. 1, just get everybody lined up – lead by example and just kind of be someone everyone can lean on.“l get vocal if necessary. I have no problem speaking up. But I feel like my position going into Year 4 is I need to be the staple where if someone doesn’t know something I can be the encyclopedia.”"
Jack may need to be that kind of player, one who his teammates gravitate. It was that kind of style of play that Telvin Smith was known for. It was the strong production of Paul Posluszny before him that was contagious during the 2017 campaign. This is a defense that could be one of the best in the NFL once again. Jack had a decent 2018 but needs to have an even better 2019.
Called the plays on the field from the MIKE seems like the logical place for the former second-round pick in 2016. Also, a great season – possibly a Pro Bowl nod – could lead to a contract extension.
"“I could do it, but at this point in my career I feel like they groomed me so much that Mike (middle linebacker) is the only option,” Jack said of playing the role of defensive quarterback. “Look around in the locker room: Our whole linebacker room is brand new, so to put somebody in that position to have to know the whole defense, to put that on their shoulders, I feel like that would be borderline impossible.”"
Defensive coordinator Todd Wash agrees with Jack’s assessment.
"“He’s the Mike linebacker,” Wash said. “He has to be the leader. He definitely has stepped that up within the linebacker room. It’s going to be interesting to see just how well he continues to improve. It’s taken a little bit of time for him to really excel within the run game."