Defensive lineman DaVon Hamilton has become a key contributor for the Jacksonville Jaguars, so losing him for an extended period of time while he deals with a back injury would be a huge blow. However, head coach Doug Pederson had good news when he met with the local media ahead of the preseason finale against the Miami Dolphins.
Pederson told the media Hamilton is doing extremely well and should be back in the building next week. Jacksonville faces the Indianapolis Colts for the opener on September 13th, so if Ham is indeed back, he would have nearly two weeks to recover.
That's the thing though. One thing is to return to the building and another to be a full-go. Once Hamilton joins the team, he might need to go to an acclimation period, so he could wait to make his regular-season debut.
Hamilton, a third-round pick in the 2020 draft, has become a mainstay of the defensive front, which is why the Jags rewarded him with a three-year deal worth $34 million in April. The Ohio State was having a productive training camp before he suffered a non-football injury.
While it was uncertain how much time Hamilton would be out, the fact that the club didn't place him on the Injured Reserve list was a positive sign. Even better, he will probably be soon based on Pederson's latest comments. Here's his exchange with the media in case you want to look at it.
The Jaguars will need Davon Hamilton to be at full strength for the 2023 season
Keep in mind that back injuries are tricky, so the Jaguars should be in no rush to thrust DaVon Hamilton onto the football field. Despite the fact that it will be hard to replace his impact they're better off waiting for him to be a full-go. Having mostly lined up at nose tackle the last three seasons, he had been playing defensive end in Mike Caldwell's defensive scheme this offseason, and he had fared well.
John Shipley of Jaguar Report goes as far as saying that Hamilton was the Jaguars' best defensive lineman during training camp.
During Hamilton's absence, head coach Doug Pederson says Jacksonville will use a mix of Adam Gotsis and Jeremiah Leadbetter, who's had a productive preseason, to fill the void. Pederson also noted that rookie defensive linemen Tyler Lacy and Raymond Vohasek could get a bit of an increased role.
The truth is that there's usually a dropoff from the starter to the backup. So even though the Jaguars have several players ready to step in during Hamilton's absence, not having him could affect their ability to create disruption at the line of scrimmage. This is why it's encouraging to hear he's doing well and won't likely miss as much time as originally thought.