Next on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ schedule are the Los Angeles Chargers and one player they will need to account for in every play is safety Derwin James. Head coach Doug Pederson met with the local media Wednesday and talked about the impact the 2021 Pro Bowl nod will have in the game.
“He’s a good player”, Doug Pederson said about James. “He can play on the edge as a rusher, he can play linebacker, he can play safety, he can play just about anywhere in that defense. They ask him to do a lot. He’s a good player, he’s all over the field, he’s physical, so yes, it’s important to know where he’s at”.
James went viral on Week 2 after body-slamming Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. However, there’s more to his game than his ability to lay hard hits on his opponents. A first-round selection in the 2018 draft, he logged 105 total tackles, 13 passes defensed, 3.5 sacks, and three interceptions as a rookie. Moreover, he earned an All-Pro designation. However, he dealt with several injuries the following two years and only suited up for five contests.
The Chargers’ safety was back in the fold last season and went on to have a bounce-back year and earn Pro Bowl honors after registering two interceptions, five passes defensed, and 118 total tackles. In the past two games, James has logged 15 total tackles and has posted Pro Football Focus grades of 67.0 and 69.9 in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively. Here’s Pederson’s full exchange with the media.
The Jaguars will need to neutralize Derwin James in Week 3
The Chargers’ defense ranks 21st in points allowed but they’re coming off a game against the Chiefs and most teams will have a hard time stopping their high-gear offense. Los Angeles should fare better against a Jaguars team that will be traveling to the West Coast for Week 3.
James will be one of the players on the Chargers’ secondary Jacksonville’s offense will need to account for. Cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. could also present some matchup problems and in the trenches, the pass rush duo of Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack, who’s fully healthy, could end up making it difficult for the Jaguars to move the ball.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Bolts’ defense ranks seventh in rushing yards allowed, so it might be tough to run the ball against them. Nevertheless, the Jaguars will need to establish the run in order to take some pressure off Trevor Lawrence’s shoulders. As Pederson said, it’s not so much the yards per carry as much as you just got to commit to it, stick to it because it does open up some things in your offense”.
The Jags are a 7-point underdog ahead of the Week 3 matchup. They did a good job of moving the ball against a helpless Colts team but they will have a harder time against James and a stout Chargers defense.