The Jaguars didn’t get as much production out of rookie linebacker Myles Jack as many thought they would or probably should have last year, and they really only have themselves to blame for that.
Considered a plug-and-play backer when he was drafted 36th overall, Jack wound up starting 10 games but as the Jags “otto’’ or hybrid strong-side backer he was only on the field for 22-percent of the defensive snaps.
That’s probably not the best way to utilize an athlete who was put in the same class as Michael Vick and Julius Peppers by his college coach, UCLA’s Jim Mora Jr., and it seems the Jags agree.
Jaguars GM David Caldwell all but admitted during a chat with season tickets holders this week that the Jags spent most of last year just trying to figure out where Jack fit best, and that the plan may have hurt Jack a bit.
“For a linebacker, he’s got a rare trait where he can play any one of the three linebacker positions and his greatest strength was probably his biggest weakness last year, in terms of having to learn three different positions,’’ Caldwell said. “That may have slowed him down at times.’’
Coach Doug Marrone agreed but he also suggested that it’s now up to Jack to prove he’s worthy of more playing time, no matter whether it’s at “otto,’’ weak-side or middle linebacker.
“During the year last year, you saw that he did things better and better as the year went along,’’ Marrone said. “He was definitely challenged early on trying to earn three different positions.
“But we’re looking to get three downs out of Myles Jack. But for us to say that, well he has to prove he’s worthy of being on the field for three downs, too.’’
It will be interesting to see what the Jags do with Jack once offseason workouts begin. The team still believes greatly in Paul Posluszny, who led the team with 132 tackles while playing in the middle last year.
And it’s doubtful the team will look to move Telvin Smith off the weakside spot. But Jacks’ skillset will again go to waste if he’s not put in a position to work more in coverage and make plays.