Kassim Osgood: The Matt Jones we always wanted?

[Editor note: I am so pleased to introduce Andrew Hofheimer, our newest writer.  What is so wonderful about running a site is to meet people like Andrew and Zoltan and Luke. People who have ideas and are developing a top level ability to express them. Andrew has a unique look at things and a wonderful writing style. Read this and comment, but most of all welcome him to BlackandTeal!]

Kassim Osgood came to Jacksonville on a mission. In the rare instances he is featured in the media, a casual viewer might notice his towering athletic build or his affable SoCal demeanor. He may seem content with his role as a Special Teams superstar, but when he speaks there is a desperate plea within his careful verbiage. He has given his everything whenever it’s been asked of him – but Osgood wants his team to ask more. The stage is set for him to fill a gaping void both on the field and in the hearts of the fanbase, which has gone suspiciously unacknowledged since 2008. Kassim Osgood will become the physical possession receiver and clutch performer that Matt Jones could never grow into – a steadfast leader who unselfishly does whatever is asked of him. Free of the character flaws and unrealistic expectations that ultimately doomed Jones, Kassim will flourish where Jones failed and as a result, exonerate fans of the resentment left in the wake of Jones’ failure and his maddening indifference towards all those he disappointed.

July 31, 2010 - Jacksonville, Florida, United States of America - 31 July 2010: Kassim Osgood.

Jones and Osgood have an eerily similar appearance, both in physical stature and playing style. If you’ve seen any practices this offseason, you know the word “graceful” is not going to appear in any articles about Kassim Osgood. What you can find instead are: “awkward”, “glider”, “lacks suddenness”, and “poor route running”. He does not possess the moves to break cornerbacks’ ankles or the hands and aerial ability to make gravity-defying, acrobatic catches. He’s long in the legs, long in the arms, and though he lacks the natural smoothness and acceleration of a premier receiver, he is said to be deceptively fast. Hmmm…sound familiar?

What immediately separates the two is the fervor with which Kassim does whatever is asked of him. As Jaguars fans, there are several truths we hold to be self-evident whenever GM Gene Smith hires a new employee – he stays out of trouble off the field; he maintains his body and maximizes its potential and longevity; he cherishes the game and his opportunity to make a career of it. In other words, Gene seeks professionals – and it is in this respect that Osgood is the complete antithesis to Matt Jones. Kassim has an unblemished history of off-the-field behavior as well as all of the intangibles that no coach could ever teach Matt – the desire to be great and the discipline and work ethic it takes to achieve that. Despite feeling underutilized, he refuses to give anything but his all. That, readers, is called professionalism. He signed a lucrative contract extension before the Chargers’ 2006 season that led him to believe he would become a bigger part of the offense. That wish never materialized and Osgood channeled his disappointment through Special Teams with a cathartic fury. “That’s why I’m a little more aggressive this year,” he told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Anybody gets near me I’m going to knock them on the ground.” I’m lovin’ this guy already…

Kassim has plenty of motive for wanting to prove himself as a wide receiver. A brief glance at his Player Bio shows that he is no stranger to dominance. He was an All-American at Cal Poly, leading the nation in receiving yards his sophomore year and setting the NCAA Division I-AA single-game record for receiving yards. Transferring to San Diego State for his junior year, Kassim continued to perform at All-Conference levels and continued setting records and leading the nation in receiving, despite tougher opposition in the Mountain West Conference. But he was never given the opportunity to realize his potential on the professional level. “I’m going to be a great receiver someday – probably not in San Diego,” he told the Union-Tribune once it became apparent the Charger were never going to give him that chance.

The front office and coaching staff must bear some of the blame for Matt Jones’ failure in Jacksonville and they will not make that mistake again. Jones was forced into the role of a big-play, No. 1 receiver based on his high draft status and eye-popping combine performance, but was never fit to be that. In 2008, Matt Jones was succeeding in his new role as a physical, possession receiver, but as we all know, by then it was too late because he was playing on borrowed time. This exact role is where Kassim Osgood will succeed in 2010 and beyond. He is not here to be a big-play receiver or a redzone threat, but to be grinder, using his massive frame to get off the jam, shield the defenders from the ball, and using his long arms to catch it away from trouble. Let’s face it, he’s not going to move like a figure skater because he’s built like a Mack truck and acts like the school bully. Kassim stands almost six inches taller than the average defensive back and weighs in at a muscular 220 lbs. Have you seen him play Special Teams? He doesn’t shed blocks. He throws anyone in his way to the ground and hits ballcarriers like they stole his grandmother’s purse. Kassim is built to be the go-to guy when we need a tough grab to keep the chains moving on 3rd down – exactly what he told Vic he wants to be, the “quarterback’s safety valve…his living video game”.

Kassim Osgood was not brought to Jacksonville to be as savior or a superstar, but it is selfless role-players like him that win games and can energize a team and a fanbase. Gene knows that when you hire a guy like Kassim, you are hiring a guy that sacrifices himself wholly to his team and relishes every opportunity he’s given – not to be on SportsCenter, but because it’s his job. He brings veteran leadership and an incredible awareness and poise in pressure situations – just watch this video or how calmly he raced down the sideline Friday night to down Adam Podlesh’s punt on the 1. He will continue being what he’s always been – a tenacious competitor, a leader by example, a silent martyr. It’s guys like Kassim who become the rocks, a stronghold that the team and the fanbase can always count on and rally around.

- Andrew Hofheimer

Topics: Jacksonville Jaguars, Kassim Osgood, Matt Jones

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  • rad

    very well written! i am excited to see mcgowen throw to osgood all season!

  • kjones407

    Yes, welcome Andrew, that was a great read. It’s going to be interesting to watch how the WR positions pans out. Either way, Dirk Koetter is going to have a aresenal weapons at his disposal. Considering all of the comparisons you made to Matt Jones, with the better physique that Osgood has, the the slant should be give me each time, as it was in 08′ with Jones. Also, the following YAC should be more significant, as it should be much harder for defenders to bring down Osgood. You throw in the ST play and you come out with a much more valuable player. He is another sign of GM Gene Smiths’ genius. Your evaluation of Smiths’ approach to personnel was dead on and with a team of football players like Osgood, your team is destined to field a better product, which should ultimately result in more wins. I can see it now, Osgood catches a redzone touchdown and then runs down and make the tackle on the ensuing kickoff. Priceless!
    After you watch the video they give you a number of other videos to watch featuring Kassim. In one of them, Santanio Holmes says something to HC Tomlin about Osgood and Tomlin subsequently yells out to Kassim to get his attention, looks at him and says “I’m watching you to” to him. Anybody good enough to read lips well enough to make out what Holmes said about Osgood?

  • zoltanfrombudapest

    Andrew; 1st welcome to the site. Wow-what an intro. First Luke; and now you. 2 writers with much talent

    2nd : I like the concept and idea. Even if Kassim will not as effective as a WR (which might been not true; cause reports are very positive about his redzone performance az practice lately:
    He is still 1; a Wonderful ST player; and 2; He is a classy guy; who we can count not will do stupid things.

  • Luke

    Andrew, welcome to the site sir! It’s always good to have another writer on to share their opinions. And you express your opinion very well! This is a brilliant highlight of Osgood and the potential that he has with the Jaguars. A possession receiver is just what he should be (though I won’t be complaining if he becomes some super-dominant force that nobody anticipated).
    Your writing is quite brilliant! The diction and structure is truly artistic. A pleasure to read! I look forward to your future posts!

    • Luke

      Oh, and Osgood isn’t doing any drugs either, so that’s good.

  • Kaptain

    This is laughable and wishful thinking. When your write at least try to be accurate. The comparisons to Matt Jones are a joke. Osgood has been a pro since 2003 and Jones since 2005. Osgood’s best year as a reciever is worse than Jone’s worst year. Jones in his last year had 765 yards in 12 games leading the team. That projects to over 1,000 yards over 16 games. Quite good considering the QB and the offense.

    You said Jones and Osgood similar in stature and playing style. whoopee. Jones is 2 inches taller and ran a 4.37 40 while Osgood ran a 4.69. And yet you say Matt Jones is a “possession” reciever and Osgood is a “Big-Play” reciever. Wow. Could you stereotype based on non-evidence anymore?

    Finally, you talk about Jone’s lack of work ethic and off-field problems. Jones was a student-athlete award winner in High School, got good grades in college, and never had any trouble until one incident in the pros. Yep, he was hanging with some homies who had drugs on them and then he drank a beer while playing golf at a charity event. He’s the devil! LOL.

    Oh, the work ethic stuff is pure fabrication. Absolutely no evidence of that whatsoever. The comparison is ridiculous.

    • Conservative

      Kaptain, you obviously never attended any Jaguars practices while Matt Jones was here. When the team ran, guess who was last by 10yds? Matt Jones. He runs a 4.37 but couldn’t keep up with a 320lb lineman in practice. His body language was always saying, “I don’t care, I am not trying, but I got my money.” He would loaf through his routes and then reach up with one hand to make a late and half-hearted attempt at catching the ball. Then, after the public practice, he would stand in the autograph line with his shirt draped over his head so that you could not see his face. He would sign autographs, but you would not see his face. He was just being a punk.

    • http://www.blackandteal.com tkopa

      What is ridiculous is this comment post. Did you completely misunderstand the article?

    • thehof

      Kaptain, I respect the fact that it is a bold assertion and I too, find it peculiar that the Chargers never really used Osgood as a receiver (even in the pre-season). My best guess is that they believed he was just too valuable on special teams to put on the field as a receiver, especially since they have had a strong receiving core for the entirety of Osgood’s tenure with them.

      As I’m sure you remember, the Chargers have always thrown to their running backs a lot (especially LaDainian) and 2003, Kassim’s rookie year, was also Antonio Gates’ rookie year. Osgood’s highest reception totals were in 2003 and 2004, but once Gates really emerged, it seems that he and the RB’s took up most of the possession/3rd down-type catches, leaving less need for a receiver with Kassim’s skill set.

      Because if you had read closely, I said Matt Jones was forced to be a big-play guy when his physical gifts were better suited for being a possession receiver, the role I think Osgood can now fill with the Jags.

      As for the work ethic concerns, we’ve always read that the coaches wanted to see more out of Matt Jones and they never got a sense of his love of the game. Osgood’s coaches have had nothing but praise…I figure they spend a little more time with the players than the fans do and might have a better feel for their work habits.

      Thanks for reading and contributing,

      Andrew

      • Kaptain

        Did some of my comments get removed? Why? I stated facts, statistics, and a little opinion. 4.37 40 and 6’7″ does not make one better suited to be a “possession reciever” as you stated.

        Osgood has never been good enough since 2003 to do better than Matt Jone’s worst year. All I see is hear-say evidence that Matt Jones is Lazy and a bad person. I have met Matt Jones and watched him workout. He seems like a great guy with a great work ethic. Being quiet and humble does not make one lazy. What happened to the America that valued the humble athlete over the chest pounding loud mouth?

        Lets also not blow Matt Jone’s off field problems out of proportion. Jones has never been disruptive in the locker room and certainly is not some sort of career criminal that seems to be commonplace in today’s NFL – even on the Jaquars.

        Finally, lets put this in perspective. Your basically comparing a very good special teamer to a wide reciever. Osgood will not see much of any playing time as a reciever. He is too slow and not all that good at getting open and catching the ball. He is a special teamer. Matt Jones may not see the field as a reciever either, but if he does he is a deep threat and has proven he can get open and catch the ball. I thought your comparison was unfair to Matt Jones and a bit over-zealous about Osgood. That’s all.

  • dagjax

    I thought it was a great article with an interesting perspective. Also, as you pointed out, Osgood is not a polished receiver but has a lot of upside on offense if he has time to refine his craft( both comments are true if you have spent any time watching him in practice). I don’t care what he looks like running routs as long as he can get open and catch the ball! After observing him in practice this is what I say: 1). he is a heck of a lot faster than his 40 time may suggest, 2). his route running looks awkward, but oddly affective in gaining separation from DBs, 3). he catches the ball like he makes tackles on STs, like he’s mad at it and is trying to punch the air out of it( the 3rd bothers me, but that is why there are coaches…..right? Lastly, in reference to Kaptians comment, I remember a story I heard on jaguars this week once where Vic told of Matt Jones telling Todd Munken(receivers coach) that “if you want a guy who stays late, well thats just not me,” at their fist meeting no less! I don’t care what his grades were in college, that type of guy will never be successful at anything that requires true dedication; That is one thing he and Osgood DO NOT have in common. Looking forward to more os-GOOD stuff(haha) Andrew!

  • thebig777

    I was a matt jones fan and spent many hours defending that guy on a number of message boards.Untill last thursday on the way home to atlanta i stopped in georgetown to see last bengals practice no one i mean no one had any interest in seeing matt on way to showers i call him over to say hi.Well that was my bad matt clearly could give a flip about the very small group of fans he even has left cold ignoring.Me calling him was the only reason he even came over but yet he couldn’t sign my autograph to busy thinking how to spend his season on the couch i gave all i could to defend you but you proved me the fool……

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  • surteal

    “He’s long in the legs, long in the arms, and though he lacks the natural smoothness and acceleration of a premier receiver, he is said to be deceptively fast. Hmmm…sound familiar?”

    sounds like a skinny T.O.

    • thehof

      I like that even better! (Definitely less of a Prima Donna)

  • kaptain

    I’ll accept your apologize now. Osgood banging a 19 year old team cheerleader in the middel of the season. LOL. Surely the fastest he has run all season.

    stats:
    30 years old
    2 catches for 29 yards
    one 19 year old cheerleader
    falls quickly from buildings

    BTW: A true professional, Matt Jones, is still available. Might want to think about it.

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