Jacksonville Jaguars: Could injuries derail defense early?

June 19, 2017

With Jalen Ramsey having surgery, could injuries take a major toll on the potentially great Jacksonville Jaguars defense before it ever takes the field?

The Jacksonville Jaguars weren’t particularly quite about their intentions to try and make their defense elite. Said unit was undoubtedly their strength a year ago. However, they went aggressively into free agency for another year and improved it further.

Calais Campbell was one of their prized additions, beefing up their defensive front to make it even more formidable. Then the Jaguars turned their focus to the secondary, brining in the top-rated free-agent cornerback by most in A.J. Bouye and a strong safety talent in Barry Church. With those two joining Jalen Ramsey and Tashaun Gipson, the Jaguars secondary appeared formidable, as did the entire defense.

Before training camp has even arrived, however, there are unpleasant signs for the Jaguars defense. Most recently, Ramsey announced via social media that he’d undergone surgery for a core muscle injury that limited him in offseason workouts, per The Florida Times-Union. That surgery will keep him out for approximately six weeks, but shouldn’t keep him out of all of training camp.

The concern, however, is derived from the fact that the entire secondary has been dealing with injuries this offseason. Bouye, Gipson, Church and Aaron Colvin have all missed time this offseason to this point. Meanwhile, Colvin, Gipson and Church are “expected” back for camp, but there’s nothing certain with their situations.

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At full strength, there’s no denying the talent that the Jaguars defense boasts. What’s more, their building off of a strong foundation that they put on display one season ago.

However, we’ve seen time and again in the modern NFL how devastating a depleted secondary can be. Teams are pass-heavy on offense, and that means having replacement-level player in the defensive backfield can be detrimental. If the season were to start today, that’s the position that the Jaguars would be in.

Does health ultimately matter in the middle of June? Unless it’s a season-ending injury, absolutely not. At the same time, though, it starts thing off on a bad foot. A unit with a new look gets fewer reps together to build a rapport. What’s more, there is less time to train in terms of conditioning, which opens the door for injuries during the regular season. It’s the NFL’s version of the butterfly effect to a degree. There may not be an immediate impact, but there are ripple effects that could hurt the Jaguars defense down the line.

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Saying anything about what’s to come for this unit would be an assumption at best. With that said, these injuries keep cropping up and are, at the very least, concerning. The Jaguars hope that they’re just offseason worries. But there’s a chance they could ripple off into something much more costly.

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