In 2011, the Jaguars fielded their best defense since at least 2007. Still, the Jaguars caught a heavy case of the injury bug, and by the end of the season, both of the Jaguars' starting cornerbacks were out, and their secondary was in shambles. Still, the Jaguars were able to hold on to a 6th place defensive unit.
Much of Gene Smith's efforts this offseason has been directed at keeping the Jaguars' core group in tact, especially on defense. Rashean Mathis, Dwight Lowery, and Jeremy Mincey have all been re-signed by Smith and Co., but now, the Jaguars are adding some depth.
Enter Aaron Ross. Yesterday, the Jaguars inked Ross to a three year deal worth up to $15.3 million. It's been well documented that the Jaguars have a lot of cap room to play with, yet they've been relatively quiet since free agency started, adding just a couple of pieces on the offensive side of the ball. One of my favorite sayings is, in the NFL, there's a fine line between cheap and smart. Only time will tell which one the Jaguars are this offseason.
Ross was the 20th overall pick by the New York Giants back in 2007. In his five years with New York, Ross intercepted 10 passes and defensed 33 throws.
Aaron Ross isn't likely going to come in and steal anyone's starting job. This signing is all about depth. It's not glamorous, but it's these types of moves that will get the job done down the road. The Jaguars are looking to field an elite defense in 2012. I use the term "elite" very specifically. The Jaguars were anything but healthy in 2011, and they were still the 6th best defense at the end of the season. This group could be great.
There's a lot of work to be done on the offensive side of the ball, but the Jaguars are looking very, very good on defense. Gene Smith is likely still looking for a few additional pieces to add more depth to the defense, but the core group of players looks solid. Now, let's hope the Jaguars can get to work on that offense.