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Friday, December 3, 2010
DTs could become Jaguars' defensive ID

By Paul Kuharsky

Jacksonville likes to be, and wants to be, a big, physical defense.

To rebuild into that, General Manager Gene Smith has spent three prime picks in his first two drafts on defensive tackles. And Terrance Knighton, loving known as Pot Roast, and Tyson Alualu, are starting to give this group an identity. (Rookie D'Anthony Smith landed on IR in camp.)

Knighton

Knighton


Alualu

Alualu


They could turn into a combo that can match what John Henderson and Marcus Stroud once were.

“I don’t see many backs getting a whole lot of open holes up the middle,” David Garrard said. “They do a great job of plugging things up. They are two big guys, so it is really hard to move them and then they have a high motor too. For as big as they are and the motor they have, they make it tough for anybody to run right up the middle on them.”

Titans fullback Ahmard Hall said if the Jaguars aim is to send Chris Johnson to the edge, they’ll be happy to go there. Tennessee is looking for big things from Johnson, who had 26 carries for 111 yards in Tennessee’s 30-3 blowout win at Jacksonville on Monday Night Football back on Oct. 18, but got a big chunk of that with a late 35-yard touchdown.

Tennessee right guard Jake Scott played against the Henderson-Stroud duo.

“It’s a little difference, I think,” Scott said. “Knighton is a pretty big, stout guy but [Alualu] is a little more athletic than Stroud or Henderson, the kid’s got some quickness to him and I think he’s probably going to develop into a pretty good player.

“In the past that’s what they’ve built their defense around – being able to take away the inside run with just two guys. I think that’s what they are trying to get back to. If they can do that it takes a lot of pressure of the rest of the defense.”

Jeff Fisher said the Titans liked both players when they were coming out of college -- Knighton out of Temple in 2009 and Alualu out of Cal last spring.

While coach Jack Del Rio is pleased with their progress, he’s wary as he should be of premature comparisons to his old tandem.

“Like when we got here in ’03, those guys didn’t have that type of recognition, nor did they have that type of reputation,” he said. “I think you earn that. I would just say our two young tackles, they’re young and they’re both talented, but they’ve got a ways to go before you can talk about them like that, in my opinion. You’ve got to earn that on the field and Stroud and Henderson put together a number of years together being disruptive.”

“Then we kind of knew what we had, but a lot of work went into them developing and us being able to utilize them and so right now I’d say there is promise and we like both of our tackles, but they’ve got a ways to go before you put them in the same sentence as that.”