Jaguars Bye Week: Colvin Returns from Suspension, Jacksonville Weathers Matthew
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After serving a four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL’s PED policy, Jaguars third-year corner Aaron Colvin looks to earn his way back in to the starting defensive lineup.
Thus far in 2016, the Jaguars have started rookie Jalen Ramsey and veteran Prince Amukamara in the base defense with Davon House playing on the outside in the nickel. Ramsey has carried the majority of the load in the slot during Colvin’s absence, though the Oklahoma product will compete for that role upon his return.
While Colvin failed to record an interception as a starter in 2015, he still accounted for 7 pass deflections, a forced fumble and 4.0 sacks, all of which came from his nickel blitz, which proved effective for a team that lacked any form of consistent pass rush last season.
With House warming the bench after drawing a myriad of penalties last week, it is more than likely that the Jaguars will utilize Ramsey and Amukamara on the outside and Colvin in the slot in nickel situations, leaving House as the fourth corner on the depth chart.
The Jaguars currently have six corners signed to the roster, including Josh Johnson and Dwayne Gratz. With Johnson, an under-sized CFL standout, consistently making plays in limited time on the field, Gratz, a former third-round pick, will likely see an end to his career in Duval County.
While the team record may not reflect it, the Jaguars’ defense is greatly improved, leaping from 24th in 2015 total defense to sixth through four games in 2016. Much of the defensive growth is due to the influx of playmakers on the defensive side of the ball during the offseason, including three-technique tackles Malik Jackson and Sheldon Day, edge rushers Dante Fowler Jr. and Yannick Ngakoue, free safety Tashaun Gipson and corners Amukamara and Ramsey. All have played at a high level so far and will continue to do so as the youthful group grows and gels over the rest of the season.
Ngakoue has been particularly impressive, recording 3.0 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, a pass deflection and an interception in just his first four career games. Per Pro Football Reference, Ngakoue is among just 10 NFL players (including Charles Haley, Tamba Hali, Julius Peppers and Terrell Suggs) to record at least 3.0 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and an interception in their rookie season–and Ngakoue has done it in just four games.
While bye weeks are typically associated with relaxation and recovery after weeks of taxing work, the Jaguars dealt with brutal Florida weather instead of R&R. Category-4 Hurricane Matthew pounded cities and towns along Florida’s Atlantic coast this past week but delivered the heaviest blow in and around the Jacksonville Beach area.
Much of the population residing in the vicinity of the beaches found itself under a mandatory evacuation order, which proved necessary after significant flooding occurred in the coastal areas of Jacksonville and St. Augustine. All of the Jaguars’ players and staff were able to evacuate in time and avoid the dangers of a storm that left 800 dead in Haiti before making landfall in the US.
With the bye-week blues in the rearview mirror, head coach Gus Bradley and Co. will begin to prepare for the lackluster Bears in Week 6. Though the Bears fail to strike fear into the hearts of many teams in the league, the Jaguars must carry over all the positives from the London win versus the Colts in order to beat the John Fox-coached squad at home.
The Jaguars kickoff versus the Bears at 1 PM EST at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday, October 16.