The Jaguars finished with just five wins in 2018. But with a competent offense that number could have doubled, at the very least. In five of the Jaguars losses their opponents scored 20 points or less. Yikes!
The Jaguars defense took some undeserved heat this season, but when you look back at the results the defense was one of the best in franchise history. And among the elite defenders for the Jaguars, Calais Campbell (32) stood out as the most valuable defensive player for the Big Cats.
Campbell was a force game in and game out for the Jaguars defense. He was dominant against the run in 2018 and nearly as effective in pass rushing situations. He was the total package. He finished with 10.5 sacks, 72 tackles, 56 QB pressures, two batted passes, five stops, and a forced fumble. He finished the season as PFF's highest graded edge defender in 2018 with an overall grade of 91.1.
In short, Calais Campbell was everything the Jaguars could have asked for and more. To record double digit sacks while also being an absolute force in run defense is no small task. It's a travesty that he wasn't invited to the Pro Bowl, but he still has a chance to get in as an alternate. Two players that did receive votes at his position in the AFC seem unlikely to play. JJ Watt just underwent a minor knee surgery and Melvin Ingram played well into the post season. We'll keep our fingers crossed on that front.
What put Campbell over the top for our Defensive MVP award was his maximum effort and his relentless leadership. There are many, many reasons for the Jaguars lack of success in 2018, but Calais is far from one of them. He's always an uplifting presence in the locker room and on the field. The Jaguars were wise to inform him that he would back in Jacksonville for the 2019 season. They'd be even wiser to keep him around as long as he'll stay.
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