The Jaguars were down right terrible on the defensive line in 2009. It's an accepted fact and I won't bother to go into the details yet again. To correct that problem, the Jaguars have spent boatloads of money this offseason in an attempt to field a competitive defensive line. I can't remember the last time when all of a team's major offseason moves revolved around the defensive line. First, the team released
defensive line coach JDR lieutenant Ted Monachino and brought in former Lions coach Joe Cullen. Though we'll have for the preseason to see any real affect of this move it should produce divdens for the team.
On the personnel side, Jaguars went out and signed one of the biggest free agent fish in DE Aaron Kampman. Then they followed it up with the shocking selection of Tyson Alualu 10th overall. Combined with taking 3 more defensive linemen in the draft and releasing former Pro Bowler John Henderson, and it's obvious the Jaguars are looking for different results.
However, how much should Jaguars fans be expecting from this new unit?
The Jaguars do return two starters from the 2009 lineup in Derrick Harvey and Terrance Knighton. Knighton played the 4-3 NT role about as well as a rookie could while Harvery began to show some signs of life. However, those two only managed to combine for 3.5 sacks through out 2009.
Harvey is in the "Show me" year of his time with the Jaguars. While I've defended Harvey's lack of production in 2009 as a product of being on a terrible defensive line, he'll need to step up. Unless he begins to show why the Jaguars mortgaged their 2008 draft, it will officially be time to quit defending him and begin to use the "b" word.
Terrance Knighton is an excellent run stuffer, but to expect him to consistently apply pressure to the QB might be expecting a little too much. If he ever has more than 4-5 sacks in a season, I'll be shocked.
As far as the Jaguars two main additions, they will be the keys to how the Jaguars turn the corner. Aaron Kampman is coming off of ACL surgery and is on the wrong side of 30. Still, the Jaguars didn't give him $10 million guaranteed to be a coach on the field. They gave him that money to put Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub on their asses. Still, it is going to take time for him to get his footing and trust his knee again.
As far as Tyson Alualu, it will be interesting to see how long it takes him to get used to the NFL game. Alot of that will be determined by how long of a potential holdout he'll have. If he can get into camp on time or atleast before the Oklahoma drills occur, I think he has a good chance to have an impact early.
So, what is a fair expectation of the Jaguars defensive line in 2010? There has been too much money and changes to expect anything but improvement. But how much improvement? Let's set the goal at 30 sacks and ranked somewhere between 10-15 against the run for now.