Henny and Haywire, at their best...
With training camp less than a week away, the position of dire need on the squad is the defensive line. Formerly, concern centered on the safety position, however, that has been slightly alleviated thanks to what can only be described as a high-stakes heist of the Detroit Lions by the Jaguars' front office. Gerald Alexander has starting potential and to have him for basically nothing brings the epitome of depth to the position.
The Defensive line is this team's greatest weakness. The real question is whether or not we can get one more good year out of Big Hen. Knighton will need time to develop, and so will anyone we draft next year. Getting one more productive season would assure our line is at least mediocre this season, while allowing our defensive future to grow and develop further. What I want to see from John is consitent work ethic all year long. He's got a history of taking practice off, and that has to stop immediately. That's not the mentor I want for Terrence Knighton, and that's not the mentality I want in a Jaguar. Jack Del Rio has acted as John's cheif enabler, letting the big man sit out practice for personal reasons regularly. It appears that approach is through and that Jack expects Henderson to show up and practice, no excuses.
If Big John would just apply himself, he has the abilty to regain his 2006 form, even if just for one more season. His girth and strength are still nearly unmatched, and he almost always commands a double team when he's on his game. He is this team's biggest question mark, and that shouldn't be the case with a long time vet who has no significant injury history.
The potential for a shut down defense is undeniably present in Duval. With Henderson, Knighton, or Landri at DT, in any combination, we have over 600lbs of man-eating grizzly bears protecting the middle. The size to shut down the run is there, which some teams lack (ahem, Indy), and I say that with proper form and coaching, this personnel should be able to get the job done. Doubt remains only because Landri has never been a starter and Knighton is a rook. Doubt should remain because Ted Monnachino is the defensive line coach, but people seem to overlook that travesty of a hiring.
Reggie Hayward has shown a strong work ethic and desire to get back to his previously dominant form. This is as much a make or break year for him as it is for John. Hayward is scheduled to make over 3 million this season, and if he doesn't make the final roster, he won't find a similar deal on the open market. He'll be going full throttle all through camp and I would expect him to be a fixture on the defensive line all year, barring any significant injury.
It is highly unlikely Reggie will ever be a sack machine again, as rupturing your Achilles is a devastating injury. If he is going to do it though, this has to be the year. I believe Reggie's overall focus though, has to be on stopping the run. He must hold his own in the trenches and continue to mentor Harvey in the same mold. The entire line needs to focus on shutting down the opponents running game, enabling the Jaguars' to keep only 7 in the box most times. If Sean Considine finds himself inside the box on first and second down more often then not, you can count on the Jaguars having a long season.