Teams in the NFL strive to snag as many interceptions as they can. They not only stop drives, but they also get the ball back to their offense, frequently in good field position. In 2021, the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t have many, but cornerback Shaquill Griffin intends to change that this season.
Griffin recently spoke with the Jaguars’ Happy Hour about head coach Doug Pederson’s leadership and his goals for the 2022 season, which include leading the league in interceptions. He is unsure of the actual figure, but believes it will be significant.
Our ambition is to be the best in the league. So whatever figure they come up with is going to be drastically reduced. We have to be the best in the league, and we want to be the best. That is, after all, our goal. So I can’t really put a figure on it, but it’ll be significant.
According to StatMuse, the Jaguars had seven interceptions as a team last season, which was the second-lowest number in the league. With six, the Cleveland Browns are the only team with fewer. Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys had 26 and the New England Patriots had 23, so the Jaguars would need to sign 15 to 18 additional players in 2022 to have a chance.
In 2022, can the Jaguars lead the NFL in interceptions?
In 2021, Tyson Campbell was the only Jaguar with multiple interceptions. One each was registered by Josh Allen, Nevin Lawson, Damien Wilson, Andrew Wingard, and Rudy Ford. Despite the fact that they’ve been in the league since 2014 and 2015, respectively, Lawson and Wilson had never intercepted a pass.
While topping the league in interceptions this season may be a tall order for the Jaguars, they should see an increase. Griffin has acknowledged that he, like the rest of the secondary, has to improve. Safety Andre Cisco was a ballhawk in college, and if he wins the starting job with Rayshawn Jenkins, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to create plays.
Griffin intercepted three passes in the 2020 season, and he should be able to match those marks in 2022. Jenkins is in the same boat. In 2020, he had two, and the year before, he had three. He’ll have to put up a similar sum. Campbell could be the X-Factor of the group. He showed signs of improvement as a rookie and should continue to do so this season. Moreover, the Jaguars’ front seven should disrupt opposing quarterbacks more often, which in turn will help the secondary to make more plays.
The Jaguars are unlikely to lead the NFL in interceptions this season, but they don’t have to. Something around 15 to 20 would be a significant improvement, but as long as they spoil a few drives, make plays in key situations and give the offense more chances to score, the total number might not matter much.