With the news coming down that Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Aaron Kampman is done for the season with a torn ACL, the painfully obvious now comes to surface: Derrick Harvey needs to step up. The sky is blue and water is wet, but in all seriousness the final eight games of the season will now likely make or break Derrick Harvey's career as a Jacksonville Jaguar.
The Jaguars not only lose their best pass rusher in Aaron Kampman, but he was also the hands down leader on the defensive line. Kampman brought that relentless nature to the defensive line the Jaguars sorely missed. He was a finisher and he was consistent. You could tell players like defensive tackle Terrance Knighton and defensive end Jeremy Mincey fed off of that and it rubbed off onto them.
I don't know if it's good or bad, but the ACL Kampman tore yesterday afternoon is not the same he tore last December when he was on the Green Bay Packers. Fullback Greg Jones, who's also torn his ACL multiple times, said the recovery is much easier the second go around. That makes sense, considering you've experience what it takes and know how to gauge the injury. With Kampman's work ethic, I expect him to make a full recovery for next season. How much he'll have left however on two reconstructed knees will be the big question. Kampman signed a 4-year deal in the offseason with $10 million in guaranteed money. Up until this point, he felt like a steal for the Jaguars.
In his absence, it's likely defensive end Derrick Harvey will move to the right defensive end position with Jeremy Mincey manning the left end spot. This will also mean significantly more playing time for rookies Austen Lane, Larry Hart, and Aaron Morgan. All of these ends will need to play multiple rolls and step up to fill what will be a gaping void in Kampman's absence. Harvey especially, can make a lot of strides if he can step up to the call. Defensive line coach Joe Cullen reiterated that to his defensive line this morning, telling them that Kampman showed them the way, it was up to them now.
If someone can't step up to the call, the Jaguars pass rush might be even worse than it was last season. The pass defense undoubtedly will get worse, if that's possible. The Jaguars were not a world beater defensively with Aaron Kampman and he only had four sacks, but it's still a devastating blow for a defensive line that was really beginning to take shape.