This year’s linebacker room has Jacksonville Jaguars head coach pleased with the progress the players have made so far.
After listening to Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone talk about the linebackers that are in camp this season, you know how he feels immediately about what the unit looks like for 2020.
"“I would say, overall when you talk about depth, this is the best I have felt really since I have been here,” he said when he met with the media last week during his virtual press conference."
Marrone and the coaching staff will count heavily on the group this season after a 2019 campaign where injuries and mediocre play took their toll during the season. This is a unit, due to addition and lateral movement could be very good this season.
The Jaguars coaching staff is banking on that.
"“We have had, at times, good starters, excellent starters. I think that we have some excellent starters and we have some really good depth, depth that can provide. A lot of times at that position, its tough because sometimes your depth is going to be provided by guys that can play special teams. You might not feel as good about them if they had to go in there and start for more than three or four games,” Marrone said.“Sometimes it’s a young guy that you have taken that is not going to be ready yet. Maybe it’s a little too much for him because it’s much different than college. Right now, I think that I like what I see out there with the starters. I love what I see out of the young guys.”"
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The Jaguars brought in Joe Schobert from Cleveland to play inside at middle linebacker, moving Myles Jack back outside. The team drafted K’Lavon Chaisson in the first round to play linebacker and defensive end and provide more pass rush on the outside. Rookie fourth-rounder Shaquille Quarterman, who played high school football in Jacksonville, will be asked to play at a high level early in the season.
There is also depth to build with.
The signing of Schobert is talked about around here because it ends an experiment that failed with Jack moving to the middle. The team did not re-sign Donald Payne in free agency – a move the front office might regret.
For now, as the team works in training camp, this unit on paper is better than the one from last season – which what this defense needs as it works to be better.
"“We’ve got some guys now with depth. I don’t know about pushing for the starting jobs, but I want them to. I think it’s just going to make them better,” Marrone said. “They’ve got to be ready to go in there and start. As far as, they are picking up what we want to do defensively, going out there. The young guys have been good, the free agent guys have been working their butts off. For all three, I feel really good about where we are there.”"