The Jacksonville Jaguars have built a defensive lineman-by-rotation system that, by all accounts this season, seems to be working.
Through eight weeks, players like Sen'Derrick Marks, Roy Miller, Abry Jones, and Red Bryant are performing at an incredibly high level -- helping build a Jaguars defense that has allowed just 88.0 rushing yards per game over the past five weeks and is tied for second in the league with 25 sacks.
And leading that charge is third-year pass rusher Ryan Davis, who is tied with Chris Clemons for the team lead with 4.0 sacks in eight games.
Davis plays an inside rusher in the Jaguars defensive scheme. His skill set is that of a pass rusher, but his placement is along the interior.
"My role is playing fast," Davis said. "I have to go in and execute when my number is called so I don't let the man beside me down. It's all apart of playing team ball, whatever Coach [Todd] Wash, [Bob] Babich, or [Mike] Mallory wants me to do to help the defense or special teams out I'm all for it."
What's noteworthy isn't that Davis is the team leader in sacks in a non-typical pass rushing position because there's plenty of guys around the league who line up there and get pressure. It's that, according to Pro Football Focus, he's done it with less than half of the opportunities to rush the quarterback as either Chris Clemons or Andre Branch.
Below is a table showing just how many times per game that all three have rushed the passer:
|vs. PHI||vs. WAS||vs. IND||vs. SD||vs. PIT||vs. TEN||vs. CLE||vs. MIA||TOTAL|
Davis' efficiency is staggering. Clemons has hurried the quarterback once every 49.6 rushes, sacked him once every 62.0 rushes, and hit him once every 49.6 rushes.
Meanwhile, Davis, who has nearly identical production as Clemons, is hurrying the quarterback once every 15.7 rushes, sacking him once every 27.5 rushes, and hitting him once every 55.0 rushes.
In fact, up until yesterday, there wasn't a single defensive lineman who had less pass rushes per game than Davis. Now that rookie defensive end Chris Smith is on the active roster, Davis is finally ahead of someone on the snap count.
"This is how our defense is designed," Davis said. "I have to make the most of my snaps and contribute any way possible and that goes for special teams too. Everybody is excelling in practice and we are getting better by the week as a defensive line, defensive unit, and team. I'm not worried about snap counts as much because I'm a team player first. I can only control what I do when I play, and I let the coaches handle the rest."
Let's hope the coaches decide for more snaps, and more post-sack selfie celebrations, per game for Davis.