Everyone knows who the Jaguars biggest pass rushing threat has been thus far in 2011, Matt Roth. Roth has been a starter and earned three sacks during his time in the starting lineup while playing the run well also. Of course, there's been a big surprise player up front for the Jaguars as well: John Chick.
Who is John Chick? Chick was undrafted in 2006 after graduating from Utah State. He's bounced around on a few teams' practice squads and also played a few years in the CFL. He was released from the Colts' practice squad in the 2011 preseason, and made his way on to the Jaguars roster. His time with the Jaguars is his first NFL action after being a stud pass rusher in the CFL.
Chick has been mixed in at Defensive end for the Jaguars this season as a designated pass rusher. In the last two games, he's earned two sacks, one a sack fumble of Ben Roethlisberger yesterday. Chick only saw the field for a maximum of 12 plays in those two games, and he's taken advantage in a very big way.
Chick is 6'4" around 250 pounds, but he has been extremely quick off the snap in his limited play. Chick has great burst, which has allowed him to just run right around opposing team's tackles. Make no mistake about it people, he's at right DE rushing against the opponent's best pass blocker and beating him.
Why do I mention this? Two reasons actually.
Reason one: because I love seeing unsung players perform. A guy like John Chick can be our our little secret weapon now, because from week to week, no one is going to know who the heck he is. Then, when Chick comes flying around the corner for a sack against some poor unsuspecting LT, all of the opposing fans are gonna be like "Who the #%@$ is that guy?" and Jags fans can just smile and say "Oh, the guy who just demolished your best O-lineman? That's John Chick, our fourth or fifth-best DE." Nothing feels better than that.
Reason two: because people seem to be seriously talking about getting rid of Gene Smith. I know fans like to blame front office guys for the failings of a team, but let's be honest here, would anyone other than GM Gene have signed a guy who's been cut off of two teams' practice squads? Did anyone even know who John Chick is, even two weeks ago?
I would guess no. Now, of course, Chick has been very effective and teams might even have to start game planning against him a little bit when he's on the field. Gene found that guy out of freaking nowhere, and there are silly fans out there that want to tell me that GM Gene hasn't done well enough to keep his job?
Anyway, I'm hoping to see more out of Chick. It'd be great to have a really good pass rusher on this team. We've given up a lot in the hopes of finding a pass rusher for this defense (see 2008 draft), and in Chick, we might genuinely have found one. If so, this week will be where it all started.