The Jacksonville Jaguars had trouble stopping the Houston Texans’ offense in Week 1. The defense missed several tackles and wasn’t able to consistently pressure quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson was guilty of both and the Jags will need him to step up in Week 2 if they want to have a shot at stopping the Denver Broncos and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Of course, Chiasson wasn’t the sole reason the Texans scored 37 points in the season opener. Heck, he wasn’t the only Jaguars’ defender to miss tackles, and the secondary had allowed several big plays. Still, the 20th overall pick in the 2021 draft didn’t contribute much, logging two tackles and two pressures, and posting a Pro Football Focus overall grade of 54.9.
Surely, the team’s brass expected more from Chaisson. However, head coach Urban Meyer told the local media on Friday that although the former LSU Tiger has room for improvement, he has worked non-stop to improve.
Now, from my understanding, he is one of the most improved guys. He’s a first-round draft pick that works his butt off you know he, I’m really getting to appreciate him. He’s not where he needs to be but he’ll get there through one way and that’s working. So I got a lot of respect for the way he’s going about his business.
The Jacksonville Jaguars need K’Lavon Chaisson to wreak havoc up front.
The Jaguars struggled to rush the passer last year, talking a measly 18 sacks as a team. Not having EDGE defender Josh Allen played a role in their inability to generate pressure. The 2019 first-round pick missed eight games with a knee injury but is now back at full strength. You can tell by looking at the way he played against the Texans. He finished the game with four pressures and a Pro Football Focus overall grade of 72.7. Moreover, he posted the Jags’ lone sack of the day.
Nevertheless, the Jags can’t solely depend on Allen to generate pressure. They locked up Roy Robertson-Harris and Jihad Ward in free agency. They also re-signed Dawuane Smoot and Adam Gotsis. However, it’s Chaisson who they need to step up. Imagine the kind of pass rush the Jaguars could generate if he were as productive as Allen. In 2020, he started slow but showed improvement towards the end of the season, logging 21 pressures in the last seven games. In Week 1, it looked like he took a step back.
On the bright side, time is in Chassion’s favor. As a former first-round pick, he may have a bit more leeway than his late-round counterparts. Also, it’s been just one game. As Jaguars defensive coordinator Joe Cullen said, you can’t overreact after just one game. Sure, he can’t take the foot off the pedal and must continue working on his craft. But there’s a chance he bounces back in Week 2. On the other hand, if he doesn’t show improvement by midseason the team should be rightfully worried.
In Week 2, Chaisson will have a chance to show that the Texans’ game was the exception and not the norm. Having a dominant performance would help alleviate potential concerns the Jacksonville Jaguars could have about his development.