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Jaguars vs. Chiefs: Jacksonville Prepares For Jawaan Taylor's Return

The former Jaguars right tackle will face his old team for the first time since signing with the Chiefs.

There are few right tackles who have heard their name in national headlines as often as Kansas City Chiefs right tackle Jawaan Taylor this week. 

Taylor's rare snap anticipation and get-off -- something Jaguars fans likely remember well from his four seasons in Jacksonville -- was on full display in the first game of the 2023 season. On a national stage, the NFL world saw Taylor frustrate opposing defenders with what many presumed to be false start after false start. 

“I’m sure they’ve been notified after that first game on Thursday night. Again, a good player, we know who he is and he did the same thing here," Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said this week. 

"He has great anticipation with the snap count. I’m optimistic our crowd will be loud and if they use a silent count, he does a great job of getting off the ball there as well. If they call it, they don’t call it. It’s only so much you can say.”

Now, the Jaguars will have to face Taylor's bag of tricks for the first time. The Jaguars lost Taylor in March after he signed with the Chiefs for a four-year, $80 million contract with $60 million guaranteed.

The Jaguars traded up in the second round to select Taylor with the No. 35 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Taylor appeared and started in all 68 games in his four years in Jacksonville, including 19 starts at right tackle in 2022.

No team in the NFL -- not even the Chiefs -- knows Taylor like the Jaguars. And maybe no pass-rusher knows him like Jaguars' outside linebacker Josh Allen.

“Dealing with Jawaan, I’ve been dealing with Jawaan since college. We’ve been having battles way back from Florida-Kentucky," Allen said this week.

Allen and Taylor were the Jaguars' first- and second-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, with the two SEC stars becoming young building blocks for the franchise. For four years, they trained together, practiced together, and learned each other's games inside and out.

"Obviously, we get drafted together, so having those battles up there. Also, training with him in Orange Park and being able to do that with him is just awesome and I’m excited to play against him. Travon [Walker] is as well, Travon has been going against him since last year as well," Allen said. 

"He knows what we can do, we know what he can do, if we continue to do what we’re supposed to do, I think we’ll have a good opportunity to go win some rushes.”

While Lions' defensive end Aidan Hutchinson had a coming-out party vs. the Chiefs, his damage inflicted upon Taylor was limited. Taylor was credited with just two pressures on the day by Pro Football Focus, with most of Hutchinson's success coming elsewhere. 

Now, the Jaguars will have to hope that their own young pair of pass-rushers can find more success vs. their former teammate. If they can, then they may have the same chance of slowing down Patrick Mahomes that the Lions had. 

Yeah, I think there’s that familiarity of being teammates for several years and knowing each other a little bit there," Pederson said. 

"It’s going to be a good matchup to watch. Whether it’s Josh or Travon [Walker] over there, Jawaan is a really good, young football player that played well last week against another fine, young defensive end. Our two guys have their work cut out for them.”