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49ers Impressed with Jaguars Defensive Front

Posted Oct 24, 2013

Jim Harbaugh and Colin Kaepernick went out of their way to compliment Jacksonville's front four.

It’s hard to say anything positive about an 0-7 team.

But the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line is much better than its record – at least according to the 49ers.

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“Our offensive line is going to have to be on top of things this week,” quarterback Colin Kaepernick said Wednesday, before the team’s first practice in England. “I think the (Jaguars defense) are overlooked.”

Which isn’t easy to do – the Jags front four has an average weight of 292 pounds. Other numbers to consider: Their defense as a whole ranks 29th in the NFL with 11 sacks.

But consider that San Francisco, which is ranked seventh in total defense in the NFC, has just 17 sacks.

"While they're not getting big sack numbers, they're getting some real live shots on the quarterback. It's all clean and aggressive," 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said before Thursday's practice. "As good as a four-man rush as we've seen."

It takes a former quarterback to know a good pass-rush, and Jim Harbaugh too sees a challenge in the Jags front-line.

“Defensive line is outstanding. They’ve got hits on every quarterback they’ve played. They’ve got hits on Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson – all of them. Name a team they’ve played. They’ve gotten after the quarterback,” Harbaugh said. “That’ll be a challenge for us. They really get off the ball defensively.”

Include Phillip Rivers (San Diego Chargers), Alex Smith (Kansas City Chiefs) and Sam Bradford (St. Louis Rams) on that list as well.

Kaepernick, who has been sacked 15 times through Week 7, is next. He'll have to keep his watch on open wide receivers while the likes of Jason Babin bears down on him.

Jacksonville's right defensive end is one of three starting lineman on the injury report, however. Babin did not participate at Wednesday's practice, while defensive tackles Roy Miller (shoulder) and Sen'Derrick Marks (knee) were limited during the session.

While Roman said Babin stands out for his "edge-rush ability," it may be Marke, a five-year vet in his first year in Jacksonville, that sets the tone.

“He gets off the ball as good as anybody we have played," Roman said. "While he’s not getting the numbers, he’s setting things up for everybody else.”


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