It’s almost here. The Jaguars will open up training camp later this week and with it, defense of their AFC South title. Expectations are everywhere for another playoff run, and veteran defensive lineman Calais Campbell is ready, for the second straight year, to lead that unit.
And, Campbell knows that two important factors that went Jacksonville’s way in 2017 are key to future success, too.
Those would be staying healthy and having quality depth.
Campbell spoke Saturday to Jacksonville.com’s John Reid at a charity event he hosted in North Florida:
Calais Campbell reacts to Dante Fowler’s suspension for opener vs Giants#Jaguars pic.twitter.com/o5MdkqkyqP
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) July 21, 2018
When Reid asked about losing DE Dante Fowler, who was suspended Friday for the opening game by the NFL, Campbell reassured Jags fans that there are quality players that will all be counted on:
″Anytime you lose a player it’s always one of those things that’s tough,″ Campbell said. ″But at the end of the day, you got to live with it and make do. Dante is a great player and we’re a better team when he’s on the field. But the front office has done a great job of bringing in players to create a lot of depth on the D-line. It’s going to be a challenge but we should be fine.″
Campbell continued about the importance of having as many quality players as the lengthy season, and hopefully post-season, wears on this fall:
″We were healthy the whole year (2017),″ Campbell said. ″I pray it’s that way again this year, but in the game of football things come up for whatever it may be for a week or two, you want to have a lot of depth on the team. Even when people stay healthy, you want to have good depth because you rotate so you can stay fresh the whole year. We have goals to make it into the postseason, win the division and that’s a long season. Rotating becomes a prime piece to be successful.″
Campbell was arguably the top free agent acquisition in all of the NFL last year. He set the Jaguars record for sacks in a season and the team was second in the NFL in taking down quarterbacks.
And, besides Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue burst on the scene as an outside rusher last year, and was also named by his peers as part of the recent “NFL Top 100” voting. You factor in number one pick defensive tackle Taven Bryan from the Gators, and the Jaguars have an assortment of young talent for that depth.
Now, it will all be tested starting later this week.
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