As the Jaguars prepare for the strong Baltimore Ravens, there is a lot for fans to think about. What is there to be happy about? Half the starters are on IR, there are too many positions that need to be fixed so the draft can’t solve problems, the two starters we traded half the draft away for looked flat against the Colts. I could write you a dissertation on all the bad things going on with the Jaguars. That would be easy. But I am not going to go the easy route. I am going to look at what there is to be optimist about. The things to make you look forward to.
1. The front office will probably be gutted. It has already started. Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio informed strength and conditioning coach Mark Asanovich last week that he plans to go another direction in 2009. There have been a lot of gripping about the conditioning of the players. It makes sense, though. As mentioned above, half our starters are on IR. It is hard to win football games when the few big name players you have are injured for half the season. This wouldn’t be an issue if it were just Fred Taylor or just Rashean Mathis. Unfortunately, it isn’t just those guys. It is everyone. There are fifteen names on the injured reserve list, including a certain highly paid free agent pick up.
2. Maurice Jones-Drew looks like he will be able to handle the full load when Fred Taylor finally retires. I know most of us already figured that out but the Colts and the Green Bay games proved our suspicions. Maurice Jones-Drew is a beast. I have always talked about how the Jaguars aren’t like the explosive teams partly because they don’t have a big name player to carry them through tough times when the other parts of the team falter. We don’t have Peyton. We don’t have Brady. But we may have Mojo and that is something to be hopeful about.
3. Joe Zelenka is a finalist for the Super Ad. His is funny and sweet. Go vote for him. Don’t we deserve to win something this season?
4. Look forward to the draft! We’ll know about where we fall after next Sunday and you know it will be high. I am not convinced we can handle another Derrick Harvey situation but until draft day you can be excited because anything could happen.
5. Come next Sunday, it is over. That feeling of hopelessness as you watch the Colts come back from a 14 point deficit? It is almost done with! Hope. Hope. Hope. That is the word for the off season. Learn it. Love it.