Much of the focus on the Jaguars this offseason has been on the offense, but they’ve got an absence to deal with on the other side of the ball.
Austin Lane, penciled in as the starter at left defensive end, sprained his foot last week and Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union reports that he’ll miss the next three weeks as a result. If that prognosis holds, Lane will miss almost all of the preseason and that could wind up costing him his job.
The Jags drafted Andre Branch in the second round with designs on adding him to the mix on pass rushing downs, but he’ll get an extended look with Lane out of the lineup and could wind up in a more expansive role if he proves he can handle it. Branch has a higher upside than Lane, so it might actually be the best case scenario in Jacksonville if he winds up There was talk around the draft that Branch was ticketed for Jeremy Mincey’s right end position with Mincey swapping sides, something that could be revisited with Lane out of the lineup.
Given the expected issues on offense, the Jaguars will need to put forth a defensive effort similar to or better than last season’s if they are going to avoid the poor results many have predicted for them this season. Bumping up the pass rush would help them pull that off, something that could work to Branch’s advantage this summer.