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If you were paying attention to the Jaguars last season, one of the most pressing questions throughout the season from fans, media and sometimes even the head coach himself was…
“Where is André Cisco?”
That question only got louder as the season went on and the Jaguars just two victories over the first eight games of the season.
At some point, it became negligent not to put one of your top selections from the 2021 NFL Draft (pick No. 65) in the game. Still, that continued throughout the majority of the season even while the defense continued to lack production in the turnover game – something Cisco was the best at during his first two years at the collegiate level.
Ultimately, Cisco would play just 247 total snaps on defense last year, accounting for 26 tackles, two forced fumbles and two pass breakups. He had a couple of near-interceptions throughout his limited number of snaps, too. His forced two fumbles would be the most on the team, with six other players accounting for just one a piece.
Simply put, Cisco appeared – when he had the opportunity – to be a player that was worthy of more snaps, and this year’s staff, led by head coach Doug Pederson and defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell, appear to be letting that happen.
“Smart. Smart. One thing about it, coaching wise, you put stuff in and he gets it quickly, able to take it out on the field, make calls, he communicates well which is huge for us. Just a smart, good, athletic player,” Caldwell said when asked to describe what the team likes about Cisco last week.
One of the primary reasons as to why Cisco wasn’t on the field last season, according to the team’s previous coaches, was that he might be lacking in that department, unable to get a good handle of the defensive calls, or play to the level that starting safety Andrew Wingard did as the quarterback, so to speak, of the defense.
That appears to not be the case this year, even while Cisco and the rest of the Jaguars coaches have been together for less than four months, working together and grinding tape. Pederson mentioned Cisco among players that are slated to be in the backend of the team’s defense, along with Rayshawn Jenkins. No mention of Wingard was made in that regard.
“He’s really done a nice job this offseason coming in there. He’s a great communicator, just watching him with the defense and how he moves and how he fits,” Pederson said shortly before the team’s fourth OTA.
“Again, it’s going to be really good for him once we do get the pads on and see his physicality and how he can play. He’s a really good football player for us and I’m excited to watch him during training camp.”
Cisco has reportedly received a healthy dose of reps during the team’s open practices over the offseason. It appears that his playing time might only increase from here as the team looks to put the best 11 on the field, regardless of how many years they might have in the league.