The consensus seems to agree that the pass rush is the biggest need for the Jacksonville Jaguars ahead of the 2023 season but safety Andrew Wingard recently assured that it shouldn't be a cause for concern and the team is working to put the best possible defense on the field.
Dewey recently had a one-on-one exchange with Ryan "The Hacker" Green of 1010 XL and touched on several topics, including his contract extension, being a veteran of the team, and the pass rush or lack thereof.
"I'll just say this, fans are always gonna be fans. [They] don't see what you see," Wingard told Green. Fans like to talk, they like to speculate, and that's what you do. People love football, but they're not in this building every day. They don't see what we've seen. They don't know what we know. We're confident."
Wingard is right. There's an ongoing process behind the scenes and fans don't get to look at it. Having said that, the pass rush certainly looks like a need. More specifically, depth and the dearth of options behind Josh Allen and Travon Walker.
And that's the thing, the Jaguars have a pretty good pair of bookend pass rushers in Allen and Walker. Both are expected to wreak havoc at the line of scrimmage this upcoming season. But the Jags need to round out their rotations and don't have many inspiring options to do so. Right now, 2020 K'Lavon Chaisson seems to be in the driver's seat to be No. 3 on the depth chart.
Rookie Yasir Abdullah didn't do much of note in training camp and is currently out with a concussion. That leaves Jordan Smith as the remaining option. A fourth-round pick in 2021, the former UAB Blazer was a healthy scratch most of his rookie season and missed his sophomore campaign with a torn ACL. It's possible that he's entering a make-or-break year in 2023.
It's true that the Jags brought back defensive end Dawuane Smoot, a key piece in the rotation last year but he's still rehabbing the Achilles tear he suffered near the end of the 2022 season. It will still be a few weeks before he can contribute, and even then, it's uncertain if he will be 100 percent.
The Jaguars are counting on their young players to bolster the pass rush
The Jags had several options to upgrade their pass rush in the offseason but opted not to. There were several players available in the open market and most of them went months without signing. Frank Clark, Leonard Floyd, and Yannick Ngakoue were arguably the best options available but all of them have now found a home.
Jacksonville was reportedly interested in a reunion with Ngakoue but his salary demands and role on the team emerged as potential roadblocks. Also, head coach Doug Pederson told the media early in the offseason that the Jags wanted to see what their young players brought to the table before considering looking for outside help.
With most of the pass rushers off the market, the Jaguars will be counting on Smith and Chaisson to step up. Both will have a chance to make an impression against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 of the preseason but if they fail to impress, the Jags should certainly feel at least a bit worried.
The silver lining is that there are still a trio of pass rushers the team's brass the Jaguars could get in touch with if they change their mind about bringing in reinforcements.