The past few season have been lean with talent for the Jacksonville Jaguars, especially on the pass rush side of things, but one player in particular has been a "steady Eddie" in that department in defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks. It got him a well earned contract extension and it made it even more disheartening when he tore his ACL in the final game of the season in 2014. It was a struggle for him to come back in 2015, but the season was cut short anyway with a tricep injury.
Entering the 2016 season with the signing of Malik Jackson in free agency and drafting Sheldon Day in the fourth round, plus the likes of young guys like Michael Bennett on the roster last year, many started to wonder if Marks would ever get "back" to his old self and if he'd even be on the team in 2016.
I think Marks kind of answered that on Saturday evening when he was consistently disruptive and in the backfield against the Buccaneers, and not just against their backup offensive lineman.
Marks https://t.co/38ekaBfWIM— Cole Hartley (@ColeFartley) August 21, 2016
And Marks on the very next play https://t.co/F8NL6ttDmJ— Cole Hartley (@ColeFartley) August 21, 2016
It's unlikely Marks is going to start for the team in 2016, with the money spent on Jackson, but he's still pushing to be heavily involved in the team's rotation at the position, but first he needed to prove he was the guy he was pre-injuries. There was some concern early in training camp, but as shown in the clips above, it looked like Marks is finally getting back into that groove that made him such a force early on.
"For him it was more that he was coming off of that injury. Just to play him more to get his endurance level up. He played quite a bit in the second quarter, just to see that. I give him credit," Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said about Marks adjusting to be second team. "It is a challenge. There is strong competition in that spot. I know that is challenging for him, especially as being the starter for us. He is in a strong competition now. I was very pleased how he handled it, though. He went in there with the second group and competed his tail off and really showed up on film. I think message sent, message received for him."
There has been talk about the Jaguars being so deep at the defensive line that they might have some trade-able pieces come cut time, with Marks name being bounced around by fans, but if Marks is back to his old form this season he's much more valuable on the Jaguars than whatever they'd get in a trade.
The team needs to win now and having someone of Marks' caliber rotating off the bench and playing alongside Malik Jackson will take a lot of pressure off the team's young edge rushers.