One of the most interesting parts of the Jacksonville Jaguars' new-look defense in 2022 is the two new linebackers who are holding it all together. Free-agent acquisition Foyesade Oluokun and first-round pick Devin Lloyd allow defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell to do all kinds of interesting things with his fronts and coverages, because Oluokun and Lloyd already work so well together.
This was never more apparent than with 11:15 left in Jacksonville's game of the week matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles at Philly's Lincoln Financial Field. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts tried to hit receiver Zach Pascal on an intermediate crossing route, there wasn't much oxygen at the end of the route, and safety Andre Cisco took the deflected pass, and returned it 59 yards to the house.
Great play by Cisco, and nice coordinated coverage to cause the pick, but watch Oluokun (No. 23) and Lloyd (No. 33) dropping into coverage underneath, because that was the thing that broke the play open.
Hurts knew better than to test Oluokun or Lloyd through the start and the middle of Pascal's route, and you can see his hesitation in the pocket. Against lesser linebackers, that would have been a proverbial pitch-and-catch. But coming into Week 4, per Pro Football Focus, the two linebackers had combined to allow 22 receptions on 32 targets for 202 yards, 159 yards after the catch, no touchdowns, two interceptions (both by Lloyd), four pass breakups (all by Lloyd), and an opponent passer rating of 59.6.
The Jaguars' defense is working incredibly well from the line to the secondary, but don't for a minute discount the efforts of those two linebackers to be the glue guys in the middle .
Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire