By: Hays Carlyon
Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack shouldn’t look at the arrival of former Cleveland middle linebacker Joe Schobert as a failure on his part.
Jack should view it as an opportunity.
Hopefully, he will.
Jack was adamant last season at his desire to remain at middle linebacker. He took pride in calling the defense.
That will likely be Schobert’s job now.
Schobert agreed to a five-year contract with the Jaguars on Tuesday worth $53.75 million with $21.5 million guaranteed. Despite the new league year beginning on Wednesday, the deal might not be finalized for weeks as players can’t travel to take physicals in the Age of Coronavirus.
Schobert has made 380 tackles over the last three seasons combined, playing in 45 games.
Jack has made 263 tackles over the same time frame in 43 games.
Schobert made 8.4 tackles a game on average, while Jack was at 6.1.
Schobert is obviously a more instinctual middle linebacker, but that doesn’t mean he’s better as a player than Jack.
Jack has been miscast.
Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell and coach Doug Marrone strongly hinted at the NFL Scouting Combine last month that Jack might be best served moving outside.
The Jaguars defense finished 21st last season in points allowed. They were 24th in yards allowed and 28th against the run.
Now, Jack needs to embrace the new role.
The Jaguars will likely move Jack to the weakside linebacker spot, a move that will put him in position to best play to his athletic strengths.
Jack is still just 24 as he heads into his fifth year. The Jaguars defense has lost significant playmaking by the mass attrition over the past two years.
Jack needs to be unleashed at full speed. Now, he’ll have the opportunity to be the kind of playmaker Telvin Smith was at weakside prior to his sudden retirement last year.
In four years counting playoffs, Jack has three interceptions, 6 ½ sacks, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes a big increase in game-changing plays this season.
The Jaguars got better at two spots with the Schobert agreement.
Schobert is a slight upgrade over Jack in the middle.
However, the real upgrade will be at weakside. Jack is leaps and bounds better than Quincy Williams or any other in-house candidate.
We can be excited to see how quarterback Gardner Minshew progresses in his second season.
We can be excited to see how defensive end Josh Allen builds on a 10 ½-sack rookie season.
There’s something else to get excited about now.
Jack could be thrilling at outside linebacker.
(You can email Hays at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)