Let’s take a few articles and look deeper at the 2010 roster and see if we still believe Gene Smith is making the right moves. I want to start with the offensive line and defensive secondary. In following articles, we will look at the other areas and finish with an overall report card for Gene.
Offensive Line – Not elite, not bad
It looks like Brad Meester is the center. I think he is a growing weakness but I see more issues with communication and teaming then I see with ability. Brad was signed to a contract extension last year for two years and I think that was right. Uche Nwaneri is a younger ascending player getting better. He teams real well with Eugene Monroe as a pass blocker. I haven’t seen any run blocking in him. Uche is fine as a starter. Vince Manuwai looks to be still a good run blocker and if he regains form, he is a starting caliber guard. Eben Britton was a mistake that Gene hasn’t owned up to yet. He is either chasing his guy or on his butt. He might develop into a run blocker but he needs a lot of work. Monroe is a top tier talent or close to it. Justin Smiley we don’t know about yet. Jordan Black is a serviceable backup tackle who was a starting left tackle for years until a shoulder injury took him down for a year. Kevin Haslam is a rookie that comes cheap.
Overall – If they work as a unit and get comfortable with each other, this can be a good offensive line. This is probably why they worked the last preseason game when no one else did.
In Gene we trust? – Meester, Manuwai and Nwaneri were here before Gene. Eugene Monroe was a good choice, Eben Britton may not turn out to be. Sebastian Vollmer was available a round later than Eben and the Patriots got an elite tackle where Gene got a major project. Justin Smiley is an unknown. Gene’s attention on improving the line keeps my faith and hopes up. Gene gets a “B”
Defensive Secondary – “Nobody” wins starting safety
I wish there was a player named “Nobody” because nobody stood out in camp and nobody was an elite player. Nobody was clearly better than who we had. Getting away from Reggie Nelson and Gerald Alexander while keeping Don Carey was a strange move, clearly not a bold move.
Rashean Mathis, in my opinion, is still an elite player. Derek Cox has the skills but not the experience yet. He can be picked on. Tyron Brackenridge may be a better corner right now but Miami and Chad Henne toasted him. David Jones, our new guy from Cincinnati, was in a total of 36 snaps in 2009. He played maybe a half of a season in 2008. That is it. We are open to be victimized at the corners.
For safety, Anthony Smith finally shut his mouth and let his play speak. His play speaks better. He looks very physical and will probably hurt himself. Sean Considine is slow. Sean can play but not a whole game, teams will eat him. Michael Coe is the next best option to Anthony Smith. I haven’t seen enough of him to know. Don Carey brings nothing but physical ability and attitude, not any real skills. Cortney Greene, I don’t know about.
Overall Summary – I don’t see enough here to think our opponenets won’t pull out all of the pass plays against us. We allow quarterbacks to look good and I am not sure 2010 will be any different. Game plans calling for passes over the linebackers and before the safeties will be popular.
In Gene we trust? Gene gave Rahean Mathis the cold shoulder on his contract discussion hold out. Gene brought in Derek Cox who has not proven himself yet. Just because a rookie starts doesn’t make it a good draft pick. Missing out on Bernard Pollard was a huge miss by Gene. Anthony Smith may pan out. Don Carey is a very very long shot. My grade on Gene – “D”
In terms of the offensive line and defensive backfield, we can see two moves Gene could have made that would have advanced the Jaguars faster and better. Sebastian Vollmer and Bernard Pollard would have been solid fantastic additions. So far, in these two areas, we appreciate the attention on the areas, but the results are not showing up yet.
– Terry O’Brien