Second-year linebacker Chad Muma started his rookie campaign on the sideline but eventually joined the starting lineup. After taking a break and recharging batteries in the offseason, he's ready to take on Algebra full steam and become a difference-maker for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Muma had an exchange with Hays Carlyon of 1010 XL on the last day of Jaguars mandatory minicamp and said that he had a chance to take some time off in the offseason after a hectic first year in the NFL.
After coming off of that long draft process that you have on college season, you go into that long NFL season, it's a lot", Muma said. "So you really need to reflect and let your mind heal mentally and also your body physically from the season that you had".
"So it was nice to have those couple of weeks off where i was just doing absolutely nothing and when we got closer to the OTAs, that's when I was kind of diving back into what we did on the season and areas that we can really improve on, areas I can improve on and that's really what these OTAs were about", Muma said.
Muma, a third-round pick in last year's draft, hardly played early in the season but replaced fellow rookie Devin Lloyd in the lineup against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 10. He then made his first start against the Baltimore Ravens after the Jaguars' BYE. Here's Carlyon's full conversation with Muma:
Jaguars LB Chad Muma is ready for the Algebra lessons in Year 2
The former Wyoming Cowboy ended up appearing in 26 percent of the Jaguars' defensive snaps in 2022 and finished the year with 47 tackles, three tackles for a loss, and one sack. So what areas did Muma and his teammates work on in OTAs?
"Defensively, we talked about a lot o third down. "e had to be better on that third-and-long area. Also, just be better in the red zone and creating more opportunities for sacks, and creating more pressures as the inside linebackers. That was another huge part that we really wanted to look at, so when we come out here and it was really working on moves on whether it was gonna be a running back or an offensive tackle working on those. It's just continually working those drops and really developing your understanding to the NFL game", Muma said.
Later in his exchange with Carlyon, Muma said his rookie campaign was akin to learning pre-Algebra and his sophomore season as being ready for Algebra, "We talked about last year we were doing pre-Algebra, we're now doing Algebra. It's really thinking about taking the next step in our defense", Muma said.
Even though Devin Lloyd is expected to bounce back after hitting a rookie wall late in the 2022 season, Muma could legitimately challenge him for the starting job opposite Foyesade Oluokun. In fact, Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports goes as far as calling Muma a potential breakout candidate in 2023.
Despite the fact that the Jacksonville Jaguars had already drafted Lloyd in the first round, they couldn't pass up the chance to take a talent of Muma's caliber in Round 3. And heading into training camp, they could be the protagonists of one of the most compelling position battles, and that's a problem the team's brass is likely glad to have.