Jack goes the ex­tra Myles

Orlando Sentinel - - NFL - By Phillip Heil­man

JACK­SONVILLE — Jaguars line­backer Myles Jack knows he can’t make ev­ery play, but he wants to leave a last­ing mark on the ones he does.

Against Hous­ton last week, three hits made the de­sired im­pres­sion: A solid shot on run­ning back La­mar Miller, a big hit on re­ceiver DeAn­dre Hop­kins and a crush­ing blow that knocked tight end C.J. Fiedorow­icz out of the game and onto in­jured re­serve.

Those came as part of a game-high 14 tack­les (se­cond-most in the NFL) in an ef­fort Jack said was far from per­fect but helped build a solid foun­da­tion for the sea­son.

“I was telling him, keep go­ing,” line­backer Telvin Smith said. “He was mak­ing some hard hits out there. He was play­ing a great game.”

The Jaguars hope Jack can con­tinue to build on his big de­but.

The Jaguars host Ten­nessee to­day and will need to ac­count for mo­bile quar­ter­back Mar­cus Mar­i­ota and a pair of pow­er­ful run­ning backs in DeMarco Mur­ray and Der­rick Henry.

The Ti­tans looked slug­gish in a 26-16 loss to Oak­land, but Mar­i­ota did ac­count for the team’s lone of­fen­sive touch­down with a 10-yard scram­ble.

In short, Jack will need to be at his best again in the early-sea­son AFC South show­down.

“That’s the plan — to be the tone set­ter and es­tab­lish my role on this de­fense,” Jack said. “Ob­vi­ously we have guys on this de­fense who have es­tab­lished them­selves, but I’m try­ing to es­tab­lish my­self by mak­ing those type of plays. That’s why I’m here. If I’m known as the big hit­ter, that’s cool.”

Un­doubt­edly, Jack’s per­for­mance will have a ma­jor im­pact on the suc­cess of the de­fense as a whole.

Jack played just 22.2 per­cent of the de­fen­sive snaps as a rookie but was on the field for all 79 plays against the Tex­ans.

Jack played strong-side line­backer when the Jaguars were in their base pack­age and shifted in­side when an ex­tra de­fen­sive back en­tered the game.

And he showed he can have an ef­fect from ei­ther spot. One first-quar­ter play in par­tic­u­lar im­pressed team­mates.

Lined up on the strong side of the for­ma­tion, Jack took on Tex­ans left tackle Ken­dall Lamm about a yard past the line of scrimmage while Miller took a hand-off from quar­ter­back Tom Sav­age. Jack quickly shed the at­tempted block and mo­tored to­ward the side­line to knock the speedy Miller out of bounds for a 1-yard loss.

Two plays later, Jack again stopped Miller for a 1-yard loss, help­ing stall the Tex­ans’ first sus­tained drive.

“He sur­prised me — a lot,” said strong safety Barry Church, who has had a unique view of Jack’s de­vel­op­ment from the back end of the Jaguars’ sec­ondary. “He switched to mid­dle line­backer this year and dur­ing train­ing camp he had some young prob­lems as far as get­ting peo­ple lined up.

“But he was out there fly­ing [Sun­day]. Pre­sea­son to the reg­u­lar sea­son, he looked a lot dif­fer­ent. I was sur­prised by it. I’m re­ally glad it hap­pened that way be­cause he made my job a lot eas­ier.”

Maybe the only thing that went wrong for Jack was hav­ing an in­ter­cep­tion wiped out be­cause de­fen­sive end Dante Fowler was flagged for il­le­gal hands to the face.

His strong per­for­mance raised ex­pec­ta­tions in the locker room, and the team be­lieves it has the pieces to be one of the league’s dom­i­nant de­fenses.

DAVID J. PHILLIP/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Jaguars out­side line­backer Myles Jack im­pressed team­mates last week with big hits against Hous­ton.

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