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