During the Jaguars bye week, despite having a defense on pace to set many franchise and even NFL records, the Jaguars elected to make a splash move by adding the former All-Pro defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. It's hard to blame them. All they had to give up in order to acquire Dareus from the Bills was send over a conditional sixth round pick. A small price to pay for a 330 pound run stuffer. The Jags have played three games since acquiring the behemoth defensive tackle and early returns have been even better than could have been expected.
Dareus hasn't played an overwhelming amount of snaps in any of the Jaguars three contests, but his presence has been felt. Not only is he making plays on his own, but he's allowing other players around him to find even more success. The man Dareus replaced in the starting lineup, Abry Jones, has been playing the best football of his career since Dareus joined the Sacksonville defense. And the other defensive lineman around Dareus have played increasingly well since the addition.
The statistical improvement is shocking. In just three games the Jaguars have gone from the 31st ranked run defense to the 16th ranked defense against the run. Most hoped the Jaguars would be able to break the top 20 in run defense . . . by the end of the season . . . they've done it in just three weeks. During that three week span the Jaguars have allowed a grand total of 166 rushing yards - 29 against the Bengals, 87 to the Chargers, and just 50 to the Browns in week 11. If things continue the way they have then the Sacksonville defense will end up being a top ten unit against the run - a far cry from the unit that gave up over 250 yards on the ground to the Jets in week four.
Even though the Jaguars weren't able to get Philip Rivers on the ground in week ten, the pass rush still applied a fair amount of pressure to Philip Rivers, who is notorious for getting the ball out quickly. That poor statistical performance against the Chargers in terms of sacks hasn't held the pass rush back though. They've gotten 7 sacks in the three weeks that Dareus has been a member of the D-line and have 40 sacks on the season - good enough for first place in the NFL.
The Jaguars defense seems to be getting better week by week. Momentum is building in Sacksonville. Can you feel it?
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