Yesterday I reviewed the strength of the defense. We discovered our defensive line on a 1 – 4 rating was a 3.0 – 3.5 and our linebackers were a 3.5. This means our front 7 has grown to be considered close to the elite status. Another year, barring injury, and we will be powerful.
But there is also much more to improve and trouble ahead this season. It is time to look at the weakness of the defense.
Safety: Right now; the position is so uncertain that I barely can name the expected starters on opening day. I think Gene Smith will sign or (if the situation looks bad in OTAs; and mini camp) trade for new player(s) in the off season. I have really no idea who the 2 safeties will be on Week 1; that alone shows you how big of a question mark the position is.
Tight End coverage: This comes –partly- with the weakness of the safety position. The TE coverage has been a problem for a long, long time and maybe a bit of hope with the possible improvement of the pass rush. Kirk Morrison is a perfect MLB against the run; but plays, well, not so good versus the pass. Adding that to the safety chaos mix; the Jaguars have a big hole in this area…
DT depth: More so the zero technique DT depth is very small behind Knighton. Attyiah Ellison is nothing but good insurance behind ’Pot Roast’. Maybe releasing Montavius Stanley was a not so wise thing Gene?…
Knighton’s weight: And even the starter DT has problems. Just see Terry’s article, he has serious weight problems right now. This raising a serious question; can he return to his ’09 shape and form (Which earned him an All-rookie team selection)? I think the Richesson couple (Strength & Conditioning Coach Luke; and his wife Anita; who is a former olympic swimming champion and now she is the Jaguars nutritionist) must work hard to return him in his ideal shape!
Mathis contract situation: We might have a small preview at OTAs on the question; because the best man in the Jaguars secondary; Rashean Mathis reportedly wants a new contract. Today he began a holdout; to put pressure to the front office. Stay tunes to see how that situation will turn out.
So let’s finish rating the secondary and recap where we are:
Rashean Mathis: 4 stars (although his unrest with his contract and the fact that he had a very bad year last year are a bit concern with him. But if he is healthy; he is the best defensive back of the team; period.)
Derek Cox: 3 stars (He was solid in 2009; he must continue improving in 2010 as well. No sophomore slump Derek; you will be needed!)
Anthony Smith: 2 stars (I could not figure out who should I grade as starters here and at strong safety. I choose Anthony who earned his starter role at the end of last season. But no matter how he played he is still just a guy.)
Sean Considine: 2 stars (He is the only real strong safety in the roster… He played solid most of the time; but his injury limited his playtime in the second part of the season.)
So our secondary rates 2.5 stars, just guys with one star player.
So to beat the Jaguars this year, I see teams must throw the ball. They will need to have a good offensive line or the quarterback will not have as much time. I don’t see teams running against us. Run the ball, stop the run, that is the team motto. I think they will stop the run very very well. Will we stop the pass? Will we stop the score? If they do, this could be a good year.
- Zoltan Paksa