With the departure of veteran Paul Spicer, the Jaguars defense will have an updated look this coming season, featuring returning vet Reggie Hayward and second-year player and expected star Derrick Harvey as the team's starters.
Hayward, since his 8.5-sack performance in 2005, has had trouble returning from an Achilles tear he sustained early in the 2006 season.
In 2007, he had a modest 3.5 sacks, and in 2008 he managed 4.5, but his performance has still not been what the Jaguars were expecting.
Harvey played well last season, especially after having missed almost all of training camp on the season's longest rookie holdout. He is now expected to step in and fill Spicer's role as the full-time right end.
Last season, the Jaguars defensive line was nothing short of dismal, continually failing to apply pressure to opposing quarterbacks and putting unnecessary strain on the already banged up secondary.
Hayward and Spicer combined for a grand total of only 8.5 sacks, the same number that Hayward had by himself in 2005.
Hayward said of Harvey, "He has more of an understanding of what's going on...Your second year is always the hardest, because you're not a surprise to opposing teams anymore. It's just harder. He's going to have to work harder to get over that hump."
All in all, we can probably expect a better season from Harvey now that he'll have both a full season and a full training camp under his belt, and Hayward is working hard to regain some of that burst he lost with the Achilles injury.
Don't expect too much from the line this season, but do expect them to be better than last season.
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