- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Terrance Knighton was way overweight last offseason. “Pot Roast” got it under control and played quite well. Late in the year he let his number get too high again, and his play fell off.
The defensive tackle won’t have the Jacksonville Jaguars to monitor his conditioning during a lockout, so a big issue could become a bigger and bigger issue. He was listed at 336 at the end of the season. Even playing light, he's not 336.
Knighton alone didn’t make or break the Jaguars run defense.
But he was a central figure in a great stretch of five games where Jacksonville allowed only 82.2 rushing yards a game. He didn’t gain 100 pounds between Week 13 and Week 14. But he was noticeably not-as-good when the Jaguars finished off by allowing 157.8 rush yards a game in the four-game homestretch.
Here’s what head coach Jack Del Rio said about his defensive tackle Friday afternoon:
“Well he ballooned up last offseason and it was a problem so there’s definitely concern there. It’s incumbent on him to do the right thing regardless of [the labor] situation. For him to be the player we need him to be he’s got to keep his weight in check. He’s not as effective when he is overweight. We’re watching tape right now, going through the cut-ups and it’s noticeable how impactful he was when he was where we want him to be.
“It was a problem when he came in and then at the end of the year he had gone back a little bit. So when we needed him at the end of the year to be his best he wasn’t at his best. That’s something that needs to be fixed. We’re going to do all the prodding that we can on our end, but ultimately it’s going to be up to him.
“I think he’s a big guy that’s going to have trouble with his weight. He’s not the first guy in the league that’s been big and been a good player. The guys that figure out a way to manage that process have nice long careers, help their teams win games and make a lot of money. And the guys that don’t eat their way out of the league. We think he’s going to be the first guy who gets it under control and becomes an impact player for us.”
Jaguars GM Gene Smith called Knighton “a very mature, very intelligent individual.”
But controlling weight is hard, many of us know.
He can be a key leader and a big performer for Jacksonville if his weight isn’t an issue.
Smith said Knighton started on a program right after the season. Here’s hoping he sticks with it, whether he’s allowed to visit team headquarters at EverBank Stadium or not.