The Jacksonville Jaguars have already struggled with their defense this season, but things may get even worse on Sunday against the Houston Texans now that the team will be without their three best defenders.
The Jaguars (1-3) released their inactive list for Sunday's game against the Texans (0-4), with three defensive starters highlighting the list: cornerback CJ Henderson, defensive end Josh Allen and linebacker Myles Jack.
Joining those three on the inactive list are defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale, quarterback Jake Luton and wide receiver Dede Westbrook.
The Jaguars, who are allowing a 77% completion rate to opposing quarterbacks, have had major issues on the defensive side of the ball all season and now have to face Deshaun Watson without the benefit of three premier defenders.
Jack has been the best player on the team this year, leading the team in tackles with 37. PFF's highest-graded linebacker this season, Jack has also recorded a tackle for loss, an interception, a sack and a pass deflection. With Jack sidelined, the Jaguars will now start Dakota Allen at weak side linebacker. Allen recorded six tackles in 32 snaps in Week 4.
“Myles [Jack] has been a playmaker since he stepped on the field, so I mean it’s always going to be drastic to replace that playmaker. But next guy has to come in and has to kind of relish the opportunity," nose tackle Abry Jones said after the team's Week 4 loss, a game in which Jack left early with an ankle injury.
"You’re a guy coming in and replacing a big name, those eyes are going to be on you. It’s also going to look good if you make those plays that you’re supposed to make, so, Dakota [Allen], he came in. I feel like he’s a guy has enough speed, just like Myles. [He’s] athletic. He can get downhill and make plays and he just has to do that. And then when Myles gets back, hopefully he’s good to go and we can continue this defense going on.”
With Henderson not playing, seventh-round rookie Chris Claybrooks will start at cornerback. Tre Herndon will start at the nickel position, while defensive coordinator Todd Wash said earlier this week that the team would also play Sidney Jones on the outside.
First-round rookie K'Lavon Chaisson will start in place of Allen. Allen leads the team in sacks (2) and pressures (13) this season, while Chaisson has just one sack and two pressures.