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Jags still encouraged about Harvey

11/20/2009

Derrick Harvey doesn’t have a sack this season.

You don’t trade up to No. 8 in the first round in 2008 to draft a defensive end who doesn’t put the quarterback on the ground.

Harvey leads the team with 13 quarterback pressures, but pass pressure’s been a major issue for the Jags this season. They are last in the league in sacks per play.

Jack Del Rio worked hard early on this season to lower expectations and pressure on Harvey, saying he isn’t going to be a giant sack guy but a sturdier-type end.

He’s a capable every down guy, and perhaps sacks will come.

For now, they say they see progress and will take what they are getting.

“I tell you what, he’s done a real nice job in our run defense,” defensive coordinator Mel Tucker told local reporters this week. “He sets a strong edge. In the pass game, he is disruptive. He’s able to get some push in the pocket and we’re around the quarterback quite a bit as a defense. As we move forward, we’re going to continue to try to improve our pass rush, continue to try to improve finishing at the top of our rush when we do get around the quarterback, and we’ll see what happens from there. But the guys are working hard at it and looking to improve each and every time we go out there.”

It should be noted Harvey has little help.

Veteran Reggie Hayward was lost for the season to an early injury, tackle John Henderson is the only guy on the team with half as many pass pressures as Harvey (seven) and the secondary is about to play without injured cornerback Rashean Mathis for the second time in four games.