Marcus Trufant has a chance to make history. (AP)
As part of a rebuild that starts from the studs and will eventually work its way up to the roof, the Jacksonville Jaguars are in great (some would say desperate) need of help in their pass defense. Last year's team ranked 29th in Football Outsiders' opponent-adjusted metrics against the pass, and the Jags lost their two primary cornerbacks -- Aaron Ross and Derek Cox -- to the New York Giants and San Diego Chargers, respectively. To shore up the gaps, the Jags selected no fewer than five defensive backs in the draft -- two safeties and three cornerbacks. Now, new head coach Gus Bradley has taken a page from his days as the Seattle Seahawks' defensive coordinator and brought 10-year veteran Marcus Trufant on board.
At this point in his career, Trufant is most likely more attuned to a slot cornerback role (he played all but eight of his 2012 snaps there), though if Bradley wants to play more off-zone coverage than there was in Seattle, Trufant might play a bit outside. Most likely, Trufant will be in charge of helping Bradley teach the kids his system.
“I just finished my 10th year, so I’m able to bring some wisdom to the table,” Marcus told the team's official website. “At the same time, I’m here to compete, to try to help the team wherever I can.
"It’s a great fit. A lot of the language, a lot of the scheme, a lot of the stuff that I dealt with with Gus for four years, there’s a lot of carryover. I should be able to guide some of the younger players along, but at the same time, I’m trying to get better myself."
More interestingly, if Trufant makes the roster, it keeps the family dream alive for three Trufant siblings to play in the NFL at the same time. There's Marcus, who was with the Seahawks from his first-round selection in the 2003 draft. There's Isaiah, who's been with the New York Jets since 2010 as an undrafted free agent. And there's Desmond, the former Washington standout who was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the 22th overall pick. Desmond should start pretty quickly, while Isaiah and Marcus have more nebulous futures.
There have been five sibling trios to play in the NFL at the same time throughout the league's history, but the Trufants would be the first trio of cornerbacks. They all went to Wilson High School in Tacoma, Wash., and when I spoke with Marcus and Desmond last month (not to mention Lloyd and Constance, their very proud parents), it was clear that this season could be a very special one for the entire family.
"It's not that different," Lloyd Trufant said about his youngest son, the second of two first-round bookends. "To me, it had just subsided -- all that excitement. But now, it's kind of bringing back memories of what we did with Marcus, when he went in the league. It's like deja vu -- it's just as exciting, and I'm feeling the same way I felt back then.
"I guess after 10 years of football, it's just ... 'Next!'"
Marcus has seen a lot in his decade of professional football, and he was happy to assess little brother's game.
"I see a lot of similarities as far as his aggressiveness on the field," Marcus said of Desmond's play. "Des is a very competitive player -- just simple stuff, like when he get together on the basketball court over the holidays, he's just as competitive then as he is on the football field. He's a little bit more fiery than I am -- maybe he talks a bit more trash, and that works. I may be a little quieter, and Des may be more boisterous, but it's all about the same goal -- how you get yourself ready to play. A lot of similarities -- footwork, speed, and tackling. Just being a well-rounded cornerback, I think that's what we both bring to the table."
Marcus will get a look at his old home in Week 3 of the 2013 regular season, when the Jags travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks. Jacksonville also plays the Jets and Falcons in the preseason, so the potential for family gatherings is very high.
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