Jaguars Linebackers to Ruin Murray’s Return to the Backfield
Similarly to when they took on linebackers C.J. Mosley and Zachary Orr in their Week 4 contest against the Baltimore Ravens, the Raiders’ rushing attack could fall victim to a almost equally talented linebacking corps against the Jaguars.
Veteran inside linebacker Paul Posluszny has obviously lost a step since entering the league as a second-round pick in the 2007 NFL draft, but his elite football IQ and high motor has kept him from having a drop in production.
Posluszny, a Penn State alumni selected in the second round of the 2007 NFL draft, leads the Jaguars with 46 combined tackles (35 solo), and third-year outside linebacker Telvin Smith falls second on that list with 40 combined tackles (35 solo).
Smith has also accumulated a team-high six tackles for loss.
Unlike Posluszny, Smith still possesses top-tier athleticism for his size (6’3”, 218 pounds), allowing him to fly to the ball in pursuit and hold his own in coverage.
Since entering the starting lineup, rookie outside linebacker Myles Jack has quickly assimilated to the speed of the NFL, leaving no weakness in Jacksonville’s starting three linebackers.
With starting defensive linemen Jared Odrick and Sen’Derrick Marks missing practice with injuries, Posluszny and company could see a drop in production from their front four, but even if the two aren’t able to suit up, they will still have the edge against the Raiders on the ground.
In five games, the Jaguars have held opposing ball carriers to just 3.8 yards per carry.
Raiders lead back Latavius Murray is expected to return to the field after missing the previous two games with turf toe, but the former Pro Bowl back will have to wait until he leaves Jacksonville if he is going to get back up to speed.