It may not seem that the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) have improved much. In fact, they've regressed because of a mind-boggling bad offense. But this team has shown signs of overall growth halfway through the season, at least on defense.
The team's offense is struggling mightily but the Jaguars invested in their defense this offseason and the gamble has paid off on that side of the ball. Jacksonville has one of the league's best defenses. and that's what should happen when you (general manager Gene Smith) spend more than $100 million on defensive free agents. Those additions should make this unit one a force for the next few years.
But exactly which new player is making the biggest impact? Consider overall contribution to the team and bang for the buck when making your selection. Happy voting Jacksonville fans.
Staff Choices (Counts as Five Votes each)
Michael Hall- This is a tough one between Lowery and Poz, but I'll take Lowery on this one. Initially, the trade to get him made me shrug, figuring that it was a decent depth move, but he has made waves in a historically poor safety position. Good coverage on TEs, an ability to make plays on the ball and make magic when the ball is in his hands, and not blowing deep coverages. I don't think there has been a FS that has ever done that in this franchise's history.
Brendan Sonnone- I have to go with Lowery too. What Lowery's presence has done cannot be measured in just stats, even though his numbers are pretty good. He makes everyone else around him better. He allowed Landry to slide to SS, his more natural position. He lets the corners play tighter because they know they have help behind them and the ends benefit from that extra coverage. Teams have to play honest now and that helps the linebackers too. I think losing him would make the biggest impact on the defense. Great pickup for the Jaguars. Give Gene Smith credit for making the move when he realized his safety position wasn't fine as is. No knock on Poz or anyone else, but their absence wouldn't be missed like Lowery's.
Charlie Bernstein- Obviously if I'm voting Poz for team MVP, he's the best addition. Poz gets the nod because he doesn't come off the field in passing situations. The no-necked linebacker from Penn State has played at a Pro Bowl level since moving to Jacksonville's 4-3 and should anchor this defense for the next four to five years.