JACKSONVILLE – Nine Jaguars experts – Rick Ballou, Bucky Brooks, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Ashlyn Sullivan – are breaking down the Jaguars as the 2021 NFL season approaches; today's topic: The Jaguars position group that must improve the most in '21 …
Rick Ballou, Jaguars sideline reporter
Jaguars position group that must improve the most: Defensive line. Jacksonville has been terrible against the run the last couple of years and allowed more than 153 yards rushing per game in 2020. A new defensive scheme with the addition of defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris and nose tackle Malcom Brown should make a difference. If the Jaguars can't stop the run, they won't win.
Bucky Brooks, NFL Media and Jaguars Media analyst
Jaguars position group that must improve the most: Secondary. The Jaguars' defensive backfield has undergone a bit of a transformation with a handful of seasoned veterans teaming up with a talented collection of young cornerbacks. Shaquill Griffin, Rashawn Jenkins and Rudy Ford must provide leadership while C.J. Henderson, Tyson Campbell, Tre Herndon and Andre Cisco figure out how to play high-end football at the NFL level with defensive coordinator Joe Cullen intent on featuring a blitz-heavy scheme that places a ton of pressure on the secondary to hold up in a series of one-on-one battles on the perimeter.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
Jaguars position group that must improve the most: Tight end. This is the position group that concerns me the most; I'm just not sure there is an explosive playmaker in the group. I sense Chris Manhertz will be a better receiver than people think, and that the collection of players is decent as a whole. But you would love to see a difference-maker there. It will be interesting to see if a healthy James O'Shaughnessy takes the next step or what happens with Tim Tebow.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
Jaguars position group that must improve the most: The defensive line must improve from 2020 as it was injured, youthful and not very talented or productive last season. Defensive line was a focus in free agency and the continued development of existing young talent must occur for this group to provide the impact that it needs. Cullen and his scheme will be a positive for this group moving forward.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
Jaguars position group that must improve the most: Defensive line. The Jaguars were embarrassing at times against the run last season and spent a lot of their free agency focus to fix the group up front. Also, the addition of Cullen should help the line because that's his natural coaching position. The defensive line needs to be a lot better in 2021.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
Jaguars position group that must improve the most: Defensive line. Make no mistake: The Jaguars must improve at multiple positions in 2021, and the new decision-makers made dramatic moves to improve many positions. But if there is one position at which improving could have the biggest positive effect – outside quarterback, of course – it's the defensive line. The Jaguars have struggled too much against the run the past two seasons, which has made it difficult to rush the passer effectively – and difficult to maintain control of the tempo offensively. The team addressed this by trading for Brown, signing Jihad Ward and Robertson-Harris and selecting defensive lineman Jay Tufele in the draft. Those additions must improve this unit for the defense – and the Jaguars – to be competitive.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
Jaguars position group that must improve the most: Defensive line. When we saw the team on the field in May and June, this group looked better than it has since Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson and Marcell Dareus were playing together in 2017-2018. The current line doesn't have the flashy names, but there are more – and bigger – bodies to muscle up against the run than there were last season. If the Jaguars can't stop the run better than they have the last two-and-a-half seasons, it won't matter how many creative blitz packages Cullen draws up for defensive end/linebackers Josh Allen and K'Lavon Chaisson.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com reporter/editor
Jaguars position group that must improve the most: Defensive line. The Jaguars struggled to stop the run and rush the passer last season, so Head Coach Urban Meyer promised to revamp the defense starting with the D-line. The organization showed that commitment in free agency and in the 2021 NFL Draft, bringing in plenty of new blood to set the foundation for a new defensive scheme. On paper, it looks much improved.
Ashlyn Sullivan, Digital reporter and host
Jaguars position group that must improve the most: Secondary. The Jaguars allowed 34 passing touchdowns last season, so all eyes are on the secondary to dramatically improve. There is no reason to believe it will not, with many new additions – Griffin, Jenkins and Campbell, to name a few. The cornerbacks and safeties need to make way more plays; opponents were not afraid to bomb it down field last year, which made the Jaguars uncompetitive at times.