Jacksonville Jaguars Pro Bowl defensive end Yannick Ngakoue picked up his first sack of the season in the team’s 31-12 win over the New York Jets. Ngakoue was in the backfield on a lot of passing downs pressuring and putting hits on Jets rookie Sam Darnold, but he didn’t pick up his first sack of the season until later in the game.
I’d been asked a lot if something was wrong with Ngakoue and if he was playing poorly or something because he’d yet to get a sack, but just like I was not worried about it neither was Ngakoue.
“You know, it’s a great feeling. As an edge rusher, I try to tell other guys you can’t get frustrated,” Ngakoue said after the game when asked about picking up his first sack. “The guy that holds the single season sack record of NFL history is Michael Strahan and the first four weeks of that season he didn’t even get a sack. So, you should never be discouraged. As an edge rusher, you should just keep rushing and it’ll come to you.”
As mentioned, Ngakoue was in the Jets backfield most of the day and hit Darnold quite a few times. I was kind of surprised he didn’t get flagged for roughing the passer considering how the NFL has calling them, but as I’ve stressed multiple times, there’s a lot more to being a pass rusher than just sacks, though it was nice to see Ngakoue finally register one.
Through the first three weeks of the season Nagkoue has been near the top of the NFL in quarterback hurries, but just hadn’t hit home yet. He was still making quarterbacks uncomfortable, forcing incompletions and even a some turnovers with his pressures. The key to being a good passer rusher is getting that consistent pressure, and like Ngakoue said, the sacks will come.