Jaguars LB Devin Lloyd can benefit from sharing snaps with Chad Muma
Rookie linebacker Devin Lloyd was making plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars early in the 2022 season but he’s slowed in recent weeks. This has led the coaching staff to take away some of his playing time and give it to fellow linebacker Chad Muma.
Head coach Doug Pederson told the local media Wednesday that Lloyd will be in a rotation with Muma.
“I think both guys have shown us enough that they can both play”, Pederson said. “This back third of the season, you’ll see more of a rotation but those two guys. It’s a great opportunity for both of them and this week in particular because of the unique style of Baltimore’s run offense”.
Muma hadn’t gotten many defensive snaps for most of the 2022 season but that changed when he played 40 percent of the team’s total snaps on defense against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11. Following the game, Pederson said the Jaguars weren’t planning on benching Lloyd but he could also benefit from watching from the sidelines “with calmer eyes“.
For his part, Lloyd registered two interceptions and six passes defensed in the first three games of the season and was even named Defensive Rookie of the Month in September. However, he’s struggled in coverage, allowing a 76.9 percent completion rate for 418 yards and two touchdowns. Also, he’s posted a subpar 37.6 Pro Football Focus coverage grade for the season. Here’s Pederson’s full exchange with the media.
Jaguars LB Devin Lloyd must overcome struggles and bounce back
From the outside, it’s hard to pinpoint why Lloyd has stalled. There’s no doubt he’s hit a rookie wall but only he and those around him know why. He must overcome whatever is holding him back and get back on track. Otherwise, he’ll keep losing snaps to Muma.
On the other hand, getting benched wouldn’t be the end of the road for Lloyd. During his exchange with the media, Pederson shared a story from his stint with the Philadelphia Eagles in which one of his players benefited from getting pulled to the sidelines.
“I was in a situation in Philly where I took a receiver. He was a first-round pick and had to put him on the bench for a week because doubt was creeping in. He struggled catching the football and the media was on him and fans are on him, it was just tough, all the self-doubt and the confidence started and you can see it right each week”, Pederson said.
Pederson then noted you feel bad for the player but “you got to do what’s best for the team”. He then added that the player in question was able to free his mind and build his confidence back following the benching. Similarly, Lloyd might benefit from a reduced role.
The Jags like him enough to trade up in this year’s draft to take him 27th overall and surely think he’s capable of bouncing back but they can’t wait for him to get out of the funk he’s currently experiencing.
Lloyd has already proven he can play at a high level but he’ll need to show he can overcome the proverbial rookie wall and he’ll have to do it with Muma lurking behind him.