In this article I want to reflect not just to events happened at the San Diego game; but trying to take a look to the big picture. I have couple of (not just negative) issues with the ’10 Jaguars; let’s take a look to them.
The ’10 draft so far not looking so great
I know it is hard to repeat last year’s success; but this year’s class so far not helping so much to this team. D’ Anthony Smith is on IR. Austen Lane was inactive so far (I don’t know why; because Derrick Harvey not showing too much improvement as a pass rusher). The 2 rookie returner; Karim and McGee created some kind of excitement about themselves in the pre season; but they are both sidelined because of injury. Although other then Alualu; I think they together will have the biggest impact from this class. Speaking of Tyson; he had a good opening game; but was disappeared in Week 2- at least for me. We will see which performance (Week 1 or 2) will be his trademark this season. The biggest disappointment by far for me is Larry Hart. Did you see heard his name during the 2 games? I don’t and he was advertised as the next big thing in pass rush. Neither he nor Harvey failed to create any pressure to the signal caller so far. The pass rush is these day mostly a 1 man show with Aaron Kampman in the leading role…And Kirk Morrison(I count him to the draft; because he came to the Jaguars during that time via trade). He was like Alualu in the first 2 games. He had a okay 1st game; but had a not so good looking (run support) in the second one. We need more contribution from all of these guys. Oh; and Gene/Jack; activate please Austen Lane for the next game!
Somebody is deserving a new contract but it’s not Rashean Mathis
Marcedes Lewis playing in a level I didn’t see for a while from any offensive Jaguars player other then Maurice Jones Drew. He is blocking; catching; protecting even scoring TDs. He said on the plane back from San Diego to Vic Ketchman that he was “so proud to his run blocking” in the game! Let me repeat: He was proud to his run blocking! When do you hear that from a TE lately in the league? This guy needs a new contract sooner then later. If he will be without a new contract when the season ends I will be very disappointed in the front office. He is a building block; the one and only 1st round pick of the Harris era; that deserved to be picked in the 1st round. Show him the money! He earned it! And a message for a player who wants more money: Rashean- this will be not enough. Sorry; I respect him; but the level he lately play is very disappointing. If the Jaguars would not have a very thin unit in the secondary; I would say even his starting job would be in jeopardy. He is playing a level of an average starting corner at best; not a shutdown premium CB who wants more money. The Jaguars ranked 29th in pass defense after 2 games; and players like Courtney Greene or Anthony Smith are having 1-1 good games so far! Rashean must raise his playing level; because if not I think he will see his way out of Jacksonville instead of being paid…
Last year around this time the press and the fans celebrated Terrance Knighton and Derek Cox. And have concerns about players like Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton. Well; in 2010 we see the opposite. Eugene Monroe dominating as a LT; Eben Britton is started to playing quite well again at RT; especially in San Diego he had a good game. Meanwhile Derek Cox is benched or injured (only Jack; Gene and him know the truth); and Terrance Knighton is everything but dominant. FB(!) Mike Tolbert runs for 82 yards and 2 TDs? 151 total yards of rushing? Jeff Lageman said after Week 1 that Knighton had a Derek Cox like level of performance (=bad game). Because Derrick Harvey is good againt the run; and Kampman basically trying to put pressure to the opposite QB alone himself; Knighton’s main task to be a force in the run defense. So far he is not. So what happened to him?… I have 2 minor candidates for this up and down group. Rashad Jennings is developed himself the true 2nd RB of this team. He was a steal in the 7th round; no question. He is a multifunctional weapon of the Jaguars offense. But where is the player who was rumored to be that? Where is Zach Miller lately? I expected him to have much bigger role. Unless he is not 100% healthy I want to see him more involved in the game planning/offense from this week!
Where is the result of Jack Del Rio’s work?
Jack Del Rio said during the off-season he estimated his defense will be in the Top 10 this season. Well yeah; the Jaguars played only 2 games; but the numbers so far not looking so great: 20th run defense; and 29th in allowed points; passing and total yards. In his defense: the secondary looks terrible with these group of players; and I’m not quite understand why Gene Smith try to get 1-2 new players there(although so far the David Jones and a pick for Reggie Nelson was a very good if not great trade). The 2 starting CBs are struggling; one of them is already benched/injured. But with all these factors; I must challenge the head coach. I saw once again a lot of mistackles on the field. Sometimes 2-3 on the same play. He said that will be not a trademark of the ’10 Jaguars defense. And one more thing. He is basically the defensive coordinator of this team. He is not involved too much with the offense (which is more or less; but working…). He has a 5 million $/year salary(which is quite big; if we count that Jack is focusing mostly on working with the defense). And his defense looks everything but good. I must admit; I rooting for Jack and to fulfill his contract with the Jaguars. I really do! But if he can’t find answers very quickly to this big; complex problem; this issue will cost his job in the end of the year.
What is wrong with Maurice Jones-Drew?
The biggest headache for me right is the performance of MJD. Even if his 1st game he not looked so well to me. And his performance in San Diego is really starting to worries me. Even some of his blockings at the San Diego game was not “MJD like”. Is he injured? Is that knee is really a problem? Is he had just 1, 5 bad games? I don’t know the answer. But I know 1 thing. Despite the promising flashes of Marcedes; Mike Sims-Walker; Jennings and Mike Thomas this team is not the same without Maurice Drew. So I hope his performance so far (especially on last Sunday) was just a slow start or a fluke and he will have a 100+ yard rushing game with multiple TDs against the Eagles. If not; and he will have another average (at least from him) game; I will starting to search for the panic button….