The addition of middle linebacker Joe Schobert has already paid off for the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason. The free-agent signee makes this team better.
The Jacksonville Jaguars went out and helped to solidify the team’s biggest needs by signing linebacker Joe Schobert in free agency last week. While the team still has holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball, inking a deal with one of the best young linebackers in the NFL has already made the defense better.
Schobert is going to be asked to do many of the same things he did while playing in Cleveland – plugging the middle and stopping the run and becoming a leader on and off the field.
I was high on Schobert before free agency began, hoping the Jaguars would hit a home run but brining him to Jacksonville. The move means Myles Jack moves back outside, making this unit stronger, and the team can potentially concentrate on other needs in the NFL Draft.
"“We made one move, but it’s going to help us better overall in our whole linebacker corps,” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said Thursday via Jaguars.com."
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Jacksonville has not gotten the kind of production out of the middle linebacker spot it has desired since the retirement of Paul Posluszny. While the comparisons have already been made about the two football players, Schobert just wants to get on the field and contribute to his new team.
"“Schobert, after being selected by the Browns from Wisconsin in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, played mostly outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme as a rookie,” John Oehser of Jaguars.com explained. “He transitioned to the middle the following season, making the Pro Bowl as a middle linebacker that season.”"
If he makes the Pro Bowl as a Jaguar, it could mean Jack makes it there as well, which would be his first trip to Orlando.
"“When you’re able to call out plays, or when you’re able to diagnose things really fast because you understand what the other team’s trying to do attack you … I think that’s just a huge mental part of the game that people overlook,” Schobert added. “I find it really enjoyable and I like to get that work in during the week, get into film study and put it to work during games.”"
Having been able to sign Rodney Gunter to play upfront and bring in Darqueze Dennard to play cornerback, Jacksonville has started to take steps to solidify the defense once again. But it’s the Schobert deal many of the national media will watch and assess as the season progresses.
The Jaguars must also decide what to do with restricted free agent Donald Payne and get second-year linebacker Quincy Williams more time and experience on the field. Hopefully, Schobert will make everyone on the field better at what they do.
"“I’ll come in calm, and do my job,” he said. “I’ll be accountable. You can always count on me to do my job and make the plays that are there to be made and get everybody on defense on the same page to the best of my ability and make sure we’re all working together in one unit.”"