The Jacksonville Jaguars pass rush got off to a slow start in the 2019 season, but it has slowly picked up steam and had a few games with multiple sacks. Rookie pass rusher Josh Allen is starting to show some consistency while Yannick Ngakoue appears to finally be healthy the past two weeks and it appears the Jaguars have a budding pair of superstar pass rushers on their hands.
Over the last six weeks the duo have combined for 11 sacks, three forced fumbles, 11 tackles for loss and an interception returned for a touchdown. Allen himself is on a multi-game streak of getting sacks and he’s just scratching the surface. Allen is playing a part-time role as a pass rusher and still producing like crazy and arguably should be in play for defensive rookie of the year. Allen is currently on seven sacks, which is just one short of his partner, Ngakoue’s, rookie record.
There’s still eight games left in the season, so it looks like he’s going to shatter that mark.
“I think you’re only seeing the surface. I really do,” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said last week when asked about Allen starting to rack up sacks. “I think that he has the ability to be one of those players that are going to be able to play at a high level for a long period of time.”
One of the biggest reasons so far for Allen’s success is his willingness to learn from the veterans on the defensive line he’s surrounded by, namely the Mayor of Sacksonville, Calais Campbell.
“When I don’t want to listen to him, it is like I have to listen to him. So I give a hard time over that, but everything he tells me, I take it in,” Allen told reporters last week. “Not a lot of players can say in their first year they played with a future hall of famer. And that goes for Yannick (Ngakoue) as well and Marcell (Dareus) and Abry (Jones). Every time they tell me something, I keep it in my notebook for later. And when that situation does come up, I just think about that.”
On the other side of Allen is probably his perfect foil, with Allen having the makeup to be a pass rusher from the strongside, is Ngakoue who has finally started rolling. Ngakoue injured his hamstring in the first game of the season and struggled to get going. The last two weeks however, Ngakoue has been rolling. Ngakoue is up to four sacks on the season, including two last week against the Jets, but his pressure on the quarterback has really picked up the last two weeks which is why you’ve seen an uptick in turnovers.
Not specifically because of Ngakoue, but now that Ngakoue is going there are multiple angles the pressure comes from and it often forces quarterbacks into bad decisions. It also means Ngakoue is drawing a lot more attention, where teams are often leaving in backs and tight ends to chip him before he can hit the offensive tackle with his hop/chop pass rush move that has been so successful.
As mentioned, Allen and Ngakoue seem like a perfect foil of pass rushers, a fast weakside end with a good move paired with a big super athletic pass rusher who is right now mostly winning on athleticism. While we kind of know what Ngakoue is and Allen is just scratching the surface, it’s exciting to think of how good the pair could be going forward.