In 2015, Marks’ injury gave Alualu a shot at starting in this defense for a good amount of games. He switched between the 3T position and the Elephant end, depending on what position Jared Odrick was at. The run defense significantly improved when he was in the lineup during Marks’ injury and he (along with Jared Odrick) was one of the reasons the run defense was one of the best in the league (in terms of YPC). He only had 26 tackles and 2 sacks on the season, but he didn’t have much pass-rushing help around him to complement his play style. I wanted to take a look at how the defensive line played with Alualu in the lineup versus how they played with Sen’Derrick Marks as a starter.
Sen’Derrick Marks’ Play in 2015
Sen’Derrick Marks was a huge value signing in 2013 who ended up contributing 78 total tackles, 12.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles in the first two years with the Jaguars (after 3 sacks in his first 4 years with Tennessee). However, a torn ACL in week 17 of the 2014 season ruined the beginning of his 2015 season. He ended up tearing a triceps muscle after 4 games played and missing the remainder of the season.
Sen’Derrick Marks is known as a pass-rushing specialist, but was not able to accumulate a sack in his games this season. He improved in the run game, but I think that his run game contributions more stem from him being a bigger name and drawing attention from offenses than his actual ability to play the run well. He ended the season with 6 tackles in 4 games and looked way less explosive than he did in his outstanding 2014 season. As a fan, I’m concerned that these injuries will ruin the way he plays his game. His best trait is his explosiveness, but I think his torn ACL really limited that this past season and could permanently limit him in that aspect. Now, this triceps injury could ruin his upper body strength and limit his ability to fight off blockers and hold his ground in the run game. What will these injuries mean for his career?
Tyson Alualu in 2015
This season, Alualu played really well against the run. At the Elephant end, Alualu can occupy blockers with ease and force offensive lines to focus on him and let the linebackers make plays. I think this is his best position. He’s freakishly strong at the point of attack and works best when he isn’t asked to penetrate. However, the team played him a lot at 3T when Marks was injured (I think Odrick should have moved to 3T and Alualu to Elephant) and this limited his skill-set. He isn’t explosive enough to penetrate as a pass-rusher, which is critically important for the 3T (especially when the LEOs on the roster are consistently putting up goose eggs). He doesn’t have the speed to play the position, but is strong enough to hold up against the run and lets linebackers make the plays.
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