JACKSONVILLE, Florida. Rookie linebacker Chad Muma could make his first start for the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens (1 pm ET, CBS)
Muma is one of the few active NFL players known to play with type 1 diabetes. Another? Ravens tight end Mark Andrews, who Mouma will have a chance to line up against when the Ravens head to Jacksonville. November, by the way, is Diabetes Awareness Month.
“Everything seems to have come together right this week,” Muma said.
Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson and defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell are not saying if Muma will actually replace rookie Devin Lloyd in the starting lineup, so that could only be revealed on Sunday. But Wyoming’s third-round pick will definitely get significantly more playing time in the last seven games.
This is partly due to Muma’s condition improving as the season progressed, but also to the fact that Lloyd, who was drafted 27 by the Jaguarsth overall, has struggled since its hot start.
“Subsequence [in Muma’s play], but I also think that sometimes, in the case of Devin, it helps to just get out of the game and look at it from the side, to see a slightly different perspective, ”said Pederson. “Allowing Chad to get valuable reps is very similar to Buster. [CB Montaric Brown] playing and getting valuable reps in the corner and seeing where Chad is with everything.
“Right now he’s kind of limited to special teams. He is a good midfielder and we want him on the pitch.”
Muma got the longest playing time of his career in the Jaguars’ loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on November 13, playing 25 defensive snaps. He was on the field at the end of the first half, played more in the second and finished with six tackles, including four solos.
Mouma has played double-digit defensive snaps in just one game this season (11 against the Houston Texans on Oct. 9). He spent most of his playing time on special teams – he is fourth on the team with seven special teams tackles.
“Remembering that first preseason game, the Hall of Fame game, I felt like it was very fast compared to the last game against Kansas City,” Muma said. “It really slowed me down. I was able to see the game faster, react faster, and now I feel more confident.
“…I feel much more confident in my covering skills, whether it was in the last game or just with my hands. When a striker came up to me, I could better engage him, go out and play.
Lloyd won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for September after throwing 24 tackles, intercepting two passes and breaking four others, but he didn’t stick with it. He missed assignments and lost position at times, and Pederson admitted they sent him to the bench late in the Chiefs’ first half.
Lloyd did play in the second half, but ended that game with a season-high 38 defensive snaps (60%). He played every snap defensively in six of the Jaguars’ previous nine games.
“I started off hot and then the last few weeks things weren’t as good as they started out,” Lloyd said. “It’s just for me to go out and just play, make moves that I know I can play and really just trust my ability.”
Lloyd said he would try to make the most of his reduced playing time and focus on further development in the final seven games.
“I know what Doug mentioned, [that] sometimes you see a slightly different point of view from the outside,” he said. “Personally, I love to play. I love to play the game. I obviously don’t want to go out, but for me, it’s all about height. No matter how perfect we want, it will never be perfect. So it’s important for me to just learn from my mistakes and make sure they don’t happen again. [and] continuing to progress every day.”