Jaguars second-year DT Terrance Knighton, better known to his teammates as "Pot Roast," was the first defensive player drafted in GM Gene Smith's rebuilding effort. At 6-3, 336 pounds, Knighton is a huge part of the team's young foundation on defense, both figuratively and literally.
After a disappointing offseason in which Knighton showed up to training camp overweight, he has reestablished his dominant presence in the middle, putting more of an emphasis on getting to the quarterback — he has 3½ sacks in nine games this season after recording just 1½ sacks in '09 — while continuing to be especially stout at the point of attack.
"My first offseason I enjoyed myself a little too much," Knighton told PFW last week. "I just wasn't focused enough. But as soon as I got back (with my teammates), I got positive reinforcement from them and my coaching staff and I just put the onus on myself to focus on my diet and nutrition."
Knighton also credits strength-and-conditioning coach Luke Richesson, and his wife, nutritionist and swimmer Anita Nall, an Olympic gold medalist, for having Knighton over for dinner and showing him how to cook and "substitute the things I like to make it healthy."
Following the loss of defensive leader Aaron Kampman to a torn right ACL, head coach Jack Del Rio asked Knighton to address the team prior to the Week 10 win over the Texans.
"I've been in that position before," said Knighton, who was a team captain his senior season at Temple. "I just let the team know that we're all hurting without Kampman there. I told them, 'you can't replace Kampman, but whoever comes in just has to be themselves and play hard. We're going to hang together as a team.'"
One teammate whom Knighton has been hanging out with a lot is impressive rookie DT Tyson Alualu. Knighton said that Alualu's energy and passion for the game have rubbed off on him and the rest of the Jaguars.
"Absolutely (the sky is the limit for the young tackles). We communicate a lot. If we want to be the dynamic tandem inside that most winning teams have, we need to get to know each other on and off the field," he said.