The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming into the 2018 season with plenty of swagger and a chip on their shoulder. It’s probably a surprise to most but the Jag’s stellar defense was not the best defense statistically in the NFL last season. They were second to the Minnesota Vikings. This ranking hasn’t gone unnoticed in Jacksonville so expect Jalen Ramsey and company to use this as motivation to be even better than they were a year ago.
Don’t let statistics fool you though as some players are good enough to transcend the numbers with their dominance. Take Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals. Pat Pete only collected one INT last season. Obviously pretty low by his standards. However, this is just the byproduct of his brilliance. No one is throwing to him at all hence the low numbers in picks and tackles. Jalen Ramsey gets much attention these days for being such a good player on a defense filled with good players, but he could learn a thing or two from Peterson who’s been doing it a long time with still more to give.
Khalil Mack is looking for a new contract and appears to be at a standstill with Jon Gruden on securing a long-term contract. Mack is on top of his game and his game is huge. However, at 27, the worry is he’s on the back half of the his career making a big dollar investment dicey at best. Holding out is an option, as is paying the man. Trading him away seems crazy. Whatever the result is, Mack is in his prime right now so expect another giant year from him no matter where he plays.
Another new tackling rule will be in affect this 2018-19 season and it’s hard to imagine this going over well with the defensive side of the ball. These rules changes leave much open to interpretation and are completely reactionary. This year’s rule has been dubbed “The Aaron Rodgers Rule” as it stipulates a defensive player can not land with all his body-weight on a defenseless QB. A play like this broke Rodgers’ collarbone last year, ruining a promising Packers season. How does a ref know if this happens? That’s the question and if history is any indicator the NFL won’t answer this clearly. And what do you say to the linebacker who’s been tackling and hitting the same way for 15 years. That everything he has learned is wrong? The rule changes will continue to be made though and unfortunately for defenses so will the lack of reasonable explanations.