The Jaguars' starting defensive tackle, Marcell Dareus, traveled to Philadelphia on Wednesday to see a specialist about his core muscle injury. The diagnosis was not good. According to Ian Rapoport, Dareus will undergo surgery that will keep him out of the lineup for 4-6 weeks.
This is a big blow for the Jaguars' defense.
Dareus is one of the team's best run-stuffers and has the ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks as well. His presence in the middle of the Jaguars' defensive front has been vital over the past three seasons.
But all is not lost.
The Jaguars have excellent depth along the defensive line. Abry Jones, Taven Bryan, and Calais Campbell should be able to pick up the slack in Dareus' absence over the next month to month and a half. Jones has been extremely productive over the last two weeks, providing four QB pressures in each game. Bryan has also come on strong as of late. Despite playing limited snaps in the last two contests, the former first-round pick has supplied five QB pressures and three tackles during that span. And we all know what Calais Campbell brings to the table. He's one of, if not THE, very best run defenders in football. He has 36 pressures, three sacks, and 30 tackles in seven games this year.
The argument could be made that Taven Bryan was deserving of more snaps with his recent play. Now, he'll get added work. If he can continue to play well in an expanded role, Bryan could move into 2020 as a full-time starter at three-tech that everyone feels good about.
The Jaguars could also lean on rookie seventh-round pick Dontavius Russell. The young DT hasn't gotten any playing time since week two, but was impressive throughout training camp and the preseason.
The Jaguars face the Jets this weekend. They haven't been consistently good in any area on the offensive side of the ball this year. Still, with LeVeon Bell in the backfield, the Jaguars' defensive line will need to be on their P's and Q's in this one. And Sam Darnold will be looking to rebound from the worst performance of his young career on Monday night against the Patriots.
The Jaguars have the pieces to overcome the absence of Marcell Dareus in the lineup, but whether or not they'll be able to get the job done on Sunday, remains to be seen.
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