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Jaguars shifting towards a 3-4 alignment on defense

Tides are shifting in Jacksonville, and a more multiple front could be deployed early and often.

College Football Playoff National Championship - Clemson v LSU Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

The Jaguars have done a lot of shuffling along the defensive side of the football this offseason.

As of right now, the team has added several new front-seven defenders, including outside linebacker/defensive end Cassius Marsh, nose tackle Al Woods, defensive end Rodney Gunter, linebacker Joe Schobert, outside linebacker/defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson, and nose tackle DaVon Hamilton.

Due to how Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell initially spoke about the team’s selection of Chaisson, stating he would play in a “two-point stance” at outside linebacker on base downs, many speculated a transition to more of a 3-4 defensive front.

“This is a guy that is really multifaceted, and we can play in some 3-4 looks obviously with Josh Allen and him and I think he offers a bunch of versatility on our defense with those two guys and Yannick [Ngakoue],” said Caldwell following round one of the 2020 NFL Draft.

While Caldwell did indicate that some of those concepts were in their plans on Thursday, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone confirmed the transition on Friday. When asked if the team would be more of a 3-4 defense next season, Marrone answered with an affirmative, “yes”.

“I think for sure on base downs, you will see more of our SAM linebacker on the ball.”

With how the team has built the defensive front seven over the past several months, that much is evident. Utilizing players to their best positions will allow the team to be more successful as a result.

In college, Chaisson, for example, was utilized as a 3-4 pass rusher, often launching out of a two-point stance (standing up), like the Jaguars expect him to do during his time with the team. Adding a two-gapping nose tackle like Woods and Hamilton will allow the team to put the big bodies they need in order to hold the point of attack, and allow their linebackers to roam freely.

Gunter and Schobert have both played in a 3-4 defense whether that be in the NFL or in college, they’re used to the various positions on defense.

The Jaguars are well-equipped to make the transition smoothly, and it should make the team better as a result.