Jaguars DT Tyson Alualu's right knee has been an enigma in the past two years. Multiple sources state that he sustained the injury as early as his first Oklahoma Drill in 2010 training camp. By the end of his rookie year, Alualu's play wore down. Then came the lockout, which was probably the most detrimental thing for Alualu. There wasn't a trainer constantly checking the knee to see if surgery should be considered or not. So he probably resorted to just resting it until the lockout was over. While his knee seemed to be fine in the first few weeks of training camp, drawing a few oohs and aahs during the position and Oklahoma Drills. It was obvious that Alualu was occasionally bothered by the knee since he switched over to the left defensive tackle spot, but after dominating the interior line of the Atlanta Falcons during their preseason game, most of the doubts about his knee were quelled. That is, until he tweaked the knee during a practice.
Afterwards, he wasn't the same explosive and disruptive player that he once was and despite playing for the 4th highest percentage of snaps at defensive tackle, he was quite ineffective. He was often pancaked on double teams and he was usualy left struggling to get up at the end of many plays. By the middle of the season, some people wondered if he should be shut down early so he could get a start on his rehab and I cannot say that I would disagree with them. However, that makes me wonder: If the defensive line was so disruptive when Alaulu was on a bad knee, what could the defense do if our penetrating 3-technique defensive tackle had a healthy knee?
If Alualu's knee returns to anywhere near it's normal level, the play of the defense could improve dramatically, even without the acquisition of an elite defensive end such as Mario Williams or Robert Mathis. Teams will already double team Terrance Knighton. Will they risk double teaming Alualu and leaving Jeremy Mincey one on one or will they chip Mincey and risk leaving Alualu one on one? It could be quite a dilemma for an opposing offense.
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