The Jacksonville Jaguars defense was absolutely, positively, mind-blowingly good last season. It will probably take a while to realize what a gift we had in 2017, but rest assured — we will be toasting that unit for a while.
But how large is the window for the defense? Can they continue to perform at an elite level? They’re bringing back everyone except the nickel cornerback and SAM linebacker and they added a first round draft pick in Taven Bryan and seem to have struck seventh round gold in rookie linebacker Leon Jacobs.
This week, we’re taking a look at several aspects of this year’s Jaguars team with the help of Football Outsider’s Andrew Potter who was kind enough to explain how he thinks this year’s defense will compare to last year.
Usually, a team that makes a big leap in pass defense from one year the next lands somewhere in between the two extremes the following season. The Jaguars took a huge leap forward in 2017, thanks in part to a combination of good investment in free agency and a large number of recent draft picks maturing together. They were also fortunate: they had exceptionally good health, a high rate of turnovers per drive, and a terrific adjusted sack rate. None of those numbers tend to be consistent from year to year. The article in the book goes into substantially more detail than this abridged reply, but the Jaguars are statistically very likely to regress toward the mean in 2018. We still expect the defense to be good, but whether it remains elite may depend on the exact criteria by which you measure that term.
What do you think? Will the defense regress or will it — wait for it — actually improve?
Let us know in the comments below!