Jaguars fans are about to get an extended look at Myles Jack.
Jacksonville defensive coordinator Todd Wash told reporters that the rookie linebacker will share reps with the starters during Wednesday’s training camp practice.
With veteran Paul Posluszny taking the day off, Jack will have a chance to show off some of the insane athleticism that triggered the team to grab the former UCLA star in the second round of the draft.
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Jack was seen as a top-five pick, but spiraled down the board amid concerns over a knee injury that could eventually require surgery. After many initially projected Jack to the Jaguars at No. 5 overall, Jacksonville might have pulled off the draft’s biggest steal by grabbing him at No. 36 — a slide Jack won’t soon forget.
“It’s all motivation and I actually appreciate it. It’s made me hungry. It’s grounded me a lot,” Jack told The Rich Eisen Show in May. “It was, honestly, humiliating. It was embarrassing having to sit there, and afterwards walking out, having my girl to my left, my mom to my right, my grandmother to the right of her and having to look at them, it was a tough feeling. It wasn’t a good night, truthfully.”
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Jack is expected to eventually replace Posluszny at middle linebacker, but Wednesday’s snaps aren’t a permanent promotion. With lightning-quick Telvin Smith jersey notched on the weak side, Jack could wind up playing the SAM role as a rookie. The pairing of Smith and Jack would give the Jaguars plenty of speed and explosion, something the rookie has already shown off during camp.
If the Jaguars hope to turn their long-suffering defense around, they need Jack and first-round pick Jalen Ramsey to emerge in a hurry. If they pay off, this unit has the players in place to make waves in the AFC.
The Jacksonville Jaguars made Red Bryant one of their big-name free-agent additions last offseason. One year later, he is gone.
The big-bodied defensive end has been released after starting all 16 games in 2014, per the team’s official website.
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Bryant, 30, inked a four-year, $19 million deal with the team last March with $5.255 million in guarantees. Due a $500,000 roster bonus Sunday, Bryant’s exodus opens up $4.5 million in cap space for a front office that continues to spend on the open market.
The Jaguars have poured money into their defensive front in recent days, landing former Dolphins lineman Jared Odrick and re-signing end Tyson Alualu. With Odrick expected to see snaps at Jacksonville’s “big” end spot, Bryant appears to have lost out in a numbers game.
The former Seahawks lineman was strong against the run last season and can still help teams looking for bodies along the line.
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense is one of the most overhauled units in the NFL, going beyond four new starters, Malik Jackson, Dante Fowler Jr., Tashaun Gipson and Jalen Ramsey. The additions of Myles Jack, Sheldon Day, Yannick Ngakoue and Prince Amukamara add depth that Gus Bradley’s unit has never employed.
Facing Aaron Rodgers and one of the most potent offenses in the NFL is a tough first step for a young defense. Yes, the Green Bay Packers’ quarterback struggled through a terrible statistical season (for him) in 2015, but gets Jordy Nelson back, Randall Cobb finally healthy and a rejuvenated Eddie Lacy at his disposal.
Facing Rodgers, Nelson and Cobb could be a particularly daunting task for a rookie corner, but first-round pick Jalen Ramsey isn’t afraid to get targeted.
“I’m not scared,” Ramsey said, via ESPN.com. “Throw my way if you want to.”
That’s the exact mentality with which any corner, rookie or otherwise, should enter each week. Perhaps Rodgers will test the talented rookie early. Maybe he’ll even pick on Ramsey. The rookie can only worry about the play in front of him, or he is already beaten.
“I’ve been preparing like I would prepare for anyone else,” Ramsey said. “We’ll see on Sunday. Like I said, they’re a really good team. We know that. Everybody knows that so hopefully it’ll be a good game and we can go out there and do well.”
Slow down Rodgers and Co. and the offseason hype about a Jags resurgence might finally stick after years of being a fleeting mirage.