The Jacksonville Jaguars are introducing a new position into their tweaked defensive scheme for the 2014 season, the OTTO linebacker. We went over what the OTTO is likely going to be and which fronts it will fit into with some quotes from defensive coordinator Bob Babich a little while ago, but head coach Gus Bradley spoke a bit more on it after the Jaguars OTA practice on Tuesday afternoon.
With Dekoda Watson sitting out the first practice with a groin injury, second-year linebacker LaRoy Reynolds got the first crack at the new position, which has completely replaced the tradition SAM (strong side linebacker) role in the Jaguars playbook, as the SAM position doesn't even appear according to Gus Bradley.
"I think he has the ability, it’s just to get a chance to see him," Bradley told reporters about Reynolds playing the new position after practice on Tuesday. "He played some of it last year where he set the edge. He’s got really good strength, good speed on the line of scrimmage so I think he has a faster chance to play there."
Many will remember Reynolds, who was signed as an undrafted free agent last season, stood out early in training camp and the preseason, which led many to think it was possible he could eventually take over at middle linebacker for Paul Posluszny. The team put Reynolds at SAM linebacker early on just to get him on the field, but a four-game suspension for violating the leagues PED policy slowed down his development and led to some others taking reps over him down the season.
Reynolds still contributed on special teams and Bradley recognizes his versatility in the linebacker group.
"To go back to the Will linebacker spot that he has played some too I think that could be a possibility depending on how we’re looking at Will. We are pleased with (JT) Thomas and Geno (Hayes) and we’ve got some guys there so we thought to give LaRoy (Reynolds) a faster chance to get on the field to play in him at that spot," Bradley added.
When training camp opens and in the preseason, it's most likely that Dekoda Watson is going to be the starting OTTO linebacker, but I would imagine it's a position that is going to get rotated heavily throughout the course of a game, so having multiple players ready for that role will be key.