On the Defense
This selection was easy. The highest paid player on the Jaguars roster was brought in as free agent from the Buffalo Bills in 2011. A prototype MLB for a 4-3 defense, the 6’2" 240 pound Paul Posluszny (#51) can do it all and is easily the Most Important Guy You’ve Never Heard Of (MIGYNHO) for the Jaguars defense.
Why He Is Important
40 solo tackles with 14 assists. 7 passes defended. 2 INT’s (with one turned into a 59 yard interception return for a TD against the Denver Peytons last week). 1 sack. This is the stat line for Posluszny through the first six games of 2013. Compare that stat line to Eric Weddle’s 27 tackles (which leads the Chargers) with 6 passes defended (also leading the team) and you may wonder why you’ve never heard of him until now.
A true every-down MLB, Posluszny is comfortable plugging the hole on rushes between the tackles, pursuing outside runs, or hanging with TE’s and backs on 3rd downs. He is also the signal caller for the defense and the clear team leader on the defensive side of the ball. So far in his career, he compares to London Fletcher, DeMeco Ryans, and Riki Ellison. Not bad company to be with.
The Bolts caught a break when Jerrell Freeman left the game last Monday Night. It is unlikely that such fortune will smile on this team two weeks in a row, and we can count on hearing Posluszny’s name often on Sunday.
Jonathan Cyprien, Strong Safety (#37). Cyprien is the team’s second leading tackler with 33 solo tackles. The rookie 2nd round draft choice was actually mentioned a little bit on this site in the run-up to the draft as a possible selection by the Bolts. Cyprien is getting a reputation as a hard hitter that does better in run support than back end coverage. This is born out by his 2 forced fumbles and 1 sack, with no passes defended or INT’s this season. The Jaguars would certainly like him to expand his skill set to deal with Antonio Gates or Danny Woodhead on pass plays, but than again, with Posluszny playing in front of him, it may not be needed.
On the Offense
The Jaguars have scored exactly 6 offensive TD’s in 2013, averaging 1 per game (see what an SDSU accounting degree can do for you?). Players like Maurice Jones-Drew, Justin Blackmon, and Cecil Shorts are fairly well known, so they are ineligible for this column. I was going to select Ace Sanders as the offense’s MIGYNHO due to his halfway decent production as the 3rd WR and injury status of Shorts and Blackmon, but he has been ruled "out" for Sunday’s game after getting concussed last week in the oxygen-less air of Denver.
Then it occurred to me, the Jaguars offensive MIGYNHO is not necessarily an offensive player at all, but is a player seen all too often at the end of Jacksonville "drives". I give you Bryan Anger (#19), the Jaguars punter and their offense’s MIGYNHO.
Why He Is Important
When you are the punter for a team that ranked 32nd in the league in offensive yards and scoring, you are a probably a busy man on Sundays. Bryan Anger has punted 40 times this season, has a yards per punt average of 46.8 yards with a long punt of 61 yards. Anger leads the league in yards punted with 1,870, but has punted one less time than the Chiefs and Ravens punters have.
With a marginally better defense (31st in the league) than offense, the Jaguars have to be hoping that this game devolves into an ugly FG fest, where field position is crucial and points for both teams are at a premium. If the game does go that way, Bryan Anger will certainly play a big part in trying to win the field position battle.
Clay Harbor, TE (#86) – Marcedes Lewis has been on the shelf so far this season, but is listed as "probable" for the game on Sunday. In his absence, Harbor has performed semi – adequately, catching 11 passes for 146 yards and one of the Jags 6 offensive TD’s, 16.7% of the offense's TD’s. (There’s that accounting degree again!)
While at one time, Lewis resembled a competent NFL Tight End (he went to the Pro-Bowl in 2010), his production has declined over the last two years (I blame the QB situation). Clay will probably be called upon to play a lot more frequently than a back-up TE would normally be asked to play, as Lewis needs to get back into the flow of contact and physically surviving an NFL game.