Jaguars LB Devin Lloyd fares well vs. Titans amidst recent benching
In recent weeks, Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Devin Lloyd hit a rookie wall after a strong start to the 2022 season and had fallen into more of a rotational role due and the emergence of fellow rookie linebacker Chad Muma. But he made his triumphant return to the starting lineup in the win over the Tennesee Titans in Week 14.
When the Jaguars published their injury report last week, Muma was included in it. He was unable to participate in practice with an ankle injury, opening the door for Lloyd to re-claim his job beside stalwart linebacker Foyesade Oluokun.
Devin Lloyd made his presence known in the Jaguars in Week 14
Against a team that’s haunted the Jags for years, Lloyd helped make sure they didn’t end up with a familiar result. He made eight total tackles, enough to be the second leading tackler behind Oluokun, who racked up 14 in total.
For a moment, it looked like Lloyd was going to be one of the scapegoats for the Jaguars’ defense, with Titans running back Derrick Henry racking up 98-yard in the first quarter. Jags fans had seen this story many times before and prepared for the worst.
When past Jaguars’ defenses would’ve thrown in the towel, Lloyd and Co. decided enough was enough. Throughout the entire second half, Derrick Henry was held to only two rushing yards.
With about 12 minutes left in the second quarter, the Titans were driving down the field, poised to run the ball down Jacksonville’s throat. On 1st and ten in Jacksonville territory, Lloyd’s coverage on slot receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine was key to assisting Andrew Wingard in picking off Ryan Tannehill. That key turnover allowed kicker Riley Patterson to weaken Tennessee’s lead to only four points.
Thanks to Lloyd’s relentless ability in part, the Jags’ defense did something they hadn’t done in three years — Stuff Derrick Henry, the main source of Tennessee’s offensive capabilities. The former Utah Ute flashed his agility as well as his ability to freely roam from sideline to sideline, stopping any Titans player in his sights.
It’s currently unclear who head coach Doug Pederson will start next week alongside Oluokun between Lloyd and Muma. Best case scenario, Pederson gives each of them valuable snaps, allowing them both to develop further. But in Week 14, Lloyd made the case that he deserves to get as much playing time as possible.