The Jacksonville Jaguars just won their first game of the 2021 season but they have their work cut out if they don’t want it to be the only one. They certainly need to get more productivity out of their defense. That’s why the Jags need to consider making changing personnel changes, including benching third-year safety Andrew Wingard in favor of rookie Andre Cisco.
Heading into Week 1, defensive coordinator Joe Cullen told the media Wingard and Cisco would alternate snaps at safety next to Rayshawn Jenkins. Wingard ended up starting and Cisco ended up appearing in 23 defensive snaps. The following week, the rookie played 18 snaps on defense (still a good amount) but has only two in the last four games, and those came against the Miami Dolphins in Week 6.
When asked how’s Cisco coming along, Cullen said he’s doing a good job for them. If that’s the case, why isn’t the former Orangeman getting more playing time? It’s possible he is indeed doing well but the coaching staff may like Wingard more than him. Then again, the veteran isn’t playing at an All-Pro level, so it’s fair to wonder why he remains in the lineup.
To his credit, Wingard registered one of the Jaguars’ two interceptions this season. Also, he has a healthy Pro Football Focus grade of 70.8. On the other hand, he’s missed too many tackles, 16.7 percent of his attempts to be exact. This is something Maurice Moton brought up when drawing up a list of the weakest link on every NFL team.
The Jacksonville Jaguars need to see what they have in Andre Cisco.
Cisco’s slide to the third round in this year’s draft was most likely due to injury red flags. He tore his ACL in 2020 and suffered lower-body injuries the season before. However, the Syracuse product hasn’t had any setbacks this season. In fact, teammate Rayshawn Jenkins told the media back in training camp you wouldn’t know he underwent surgery just by looking at him.
The Jaguars could make a switch at safety during their BYE. They could prepare Cisco to start. After all, he had a penchant for making plays for the Orangemen. In 24 collegiate games, he logged 14 passes defensed and 13 interceptions. Why not let him show what he can do in the pros? If he struggles, they can always take him out of the lineup and insert Wingard back.
The Jaguars’ defense is dead last in the NFL in creating turnovers with only two. Cisco could change that. As Nevin Lawson showed in Week 6, having a turnover at the right time can turn the tables in a game.
There aren’t many personnel moves the Jaguars can make on defense but giving Cisco the starting nod is one that can pay off down the road. They haven’t gotten much production from their rookie class but they could change that by giving the safety a chance.