JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — It took only practice to confirm what Jacksonville expected: Defensive end Jason Babin will help a Jaguars defense in need of a quality pass-rusher.
Babin practiced for the first time with Jacksonville Thursday afternoon, less than 48 hours after he was claimed off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Defensive coordinator Joe Cullen said Babin can help “a ton” Sunday against at Buffalo.
“Third and long during the game, he will be ready,” Cullen said. “There’s a couple of things we looked for at that position and one is the relentless motor and the other is being able to rush the passer. He fits both of those needs.”
The Eagles’ decision to release the nine-year veteran was somewhat of a surprise.
He had started all 11 games with the Eagles this season and was leading the team in sacks with 5.5. Eagles coach Andy Reid has said the decision to release Babin was based on the desire to look at younger players.
Babin is considered one of the NFL’s top pass rushers. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2010 and 2011 after recording 12.5 and 18 sacks respectively. He started all 32 games during that time.
The 32-year-old said he’s happy to be in a situation where he can make a difference to a team.
“It hasn’t been the type of year I wanted,” he said. “It’s been a tough year. We’ve had a lot of issues.
“Things are kind of stagnant (in Philadelphia). They could ultimately get worse before they get better. So being a part of something that is about to blossom, is definitely an exciting feeling.”
Babin will see plenty of action against Buffalo and could be in the starting lineup. Starting left defensive end Austen Lane did not practice Thursday for a second straight day due to a foot injury.
Cullen said that Babin could get up to 40 plays in the game, similar to what he played the week before as a starter for the Eagles.
Jacksonville becomes the sixth team Babin has played for in the last eight years. He was originally drafted by Houston in the first round (27th overall) of the 2004 draft out of Western Michigan.
The Jaguars need help from a pass-rushing defensive end. Jacksonville has just 13 sacks this year, tied with Oakland for low in the NFL
His style of play could change that.
“I’m a high motor, I’m an intense guy,” he said. “I like to play physical and from what the coaches said, that’s their brand of football. Hit them in the mouth. I think I will fit in just fine.”
Jaguars starting defensive end Jeremy Mincey said Babin is a welcome addition.
“It’s only smart and wise to bring in a guy like that, a top pass rusher who can get this defense to where it needs to be,” Mincey said. “He has drive, determination and won’t back down to anyone. He’s just another weapon for our defense. It’s all upside with having him here.”
There’s only one Jaguars player older than Babin — veteran center Brad Meester, 35. Babin feels his presence can help lift a defense that currently ranks 31st in yards allowed per game and 29th in points allowed per game.
“I think that’s the line of thinking here,” Babin said. “They know how I play. They know I get after quarterbacks and it’s one of those things that’s contagious.
“One guy starts doing it and then two guys, four guys, then eight guys. I think that’s what they’re hoping for, and that’s what we’re going to give them.”
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