Without coaches constantly looking over their shoulders this year, the Jaguars players have had the opportunity to hone whatever skills they please in the offseason. Black & Teal has caught wind of some interesting position changes that the 2011 Jaguars may be using to scheme against different opponents. Mum’s the word, folks, but rumor has it that you will not only be seeing Jacksonville players in some places you’ve never imagined, but personnel as well…
- Jack Del Rio – We’ve always heard that Gene Smith has tape and scouting profiles on every player in the league and it turns out that his own coaching staff is no exception. Good ole “Jack the Viking” will be returning to the gridiron this year for Jacksonville. He doesn’t have the speed to play the middle anymore and his coverage skills have somewhat deteriorated, so Jack will be playing outside linebacker on running downs. Despite some speed concerns, Del Rio still has prototypical NFL size and is extremely sharp in his block-shedding and tackling from desperately demonstrating to our struggling defensive players repetition after repetition in training camp, in an attempt to burn the images of sound fundamentals into their minds.
- David Garrard – With no serviceable linebackers currently on the roster other than Daryl Smith (and now JDR), David has been asked to make the switch to the other side of the ball to quarterback the Jaguars’ defense from the middle linebacker position. Garrard has more than enough speed to play sideline-to-sideline and has the requisite durability and physicality to play in the middle. His pre-play recognition of the quick-slant pattern is said to be uncanny.
- Kassim Osgood – Kassim is a renaissance man with an extremely diverse skill set – absolutely essential for any man hoping to one day fill the paws of the Jaxson de Ville costume. In addition to being a Pro-Bowl level gunner, a decent possession receiver, and a full-time sideline entertainer, Kassim practices various martial arts, is a card-carrying Screen Actors’ Guild member, and of course, knows how to fraternize with the cheerleaders and survive a pistol-whipping. Jacksonville fans expect a lot out of their mascot with years of entertainment and endearment from Jaxson, watching him beat the snot out of Kordell Stewart effigies, parachute/zipline/bungee jump into the stadium, and even streak across the field on national television. With this haircut he was sporting a few years ago, Osgood has a good start…shoot, he may not even need a costume.
- Rashean Mathis – Rashean is a local football product of Jacksonville and with all the grief he’s been taking from fans for the past several seasons, the front office has decided to glorify him in his remaining time here in the River City. Mathis needs to be in a role that he can truly excel at and we all know he hates contact, which is why Gene Smith has elected to make him the Jaguars’ 2011 fair-catch specialist. Whenever it appears the opposition will be punting to inside the 20 yard line, Rashean will be called upon to make the all-important decision – let it bounce into the endzone or make the fair catch. This absolutely pivotal position must be placed in the hands of a capable veteran, if the Jaguars are to have any success in the upcoming season.
- Coach Joe Cullen – The Jaguars have done a tremendous job of revamping our once troubled and distracting collection of miscreants that represented our team and city. The only man with a even slightly blemished record that Gene Smith has allowed into his hallowed locker room is defensive line coach, Joe Cullen. The players like him and respect him and if last year was an indication, the defensive line is on the up-and-up under his leadership. However, Coach Cullen will be serving as the team’s Designated Driver during the entire 2011 season and offseason. This way, players will risk missed playing time due to avoidable DUI charges and Cullen will have his time occupied by this obligation, which should prevent him from doing anything embarrassing in the event that he gets an uncontrollable hankering for a few gin & tonics and a Spicy Chicken sandwich.
- Jarrett Dillard – Unfortunately for the NCAA career touchdowns (60) record-holder, Dillard has had significant trouble staying healthy in Jacksonville. Many fans are still enamored with the mouth-watering ability he showed in this draft skills video – his vertical leap, acceleration, and fluid hips can undoubtedly be put to use in the NFL, but how? Well, our own Rashean Mathis and all-time NFL great Deion Sanders both made a career out of avoiding contact, which has given the Jaguars’ front office hope that Dillard can be a shutdown cornerback. Fortunately for him, staying out of harm’s way is not only acceptable for cornerbacks, it’s encouraged!
- Aaron Kampman – We all would have liked to see Aaron back on the field this year, but unfortunately, neither of his patellar tendons have spawned a third knee for him to rupture this season and there is now a vacancy at head coach, with Jack Del Rio back in the mix. Jacksonville wants to keep it’s defensive-minded approach and God knows we could use a leader with a thorough understanding of the pass-rush. Kampman is well respected and his calm, yet demanding leadership style will be well received in the Jacksonville locker room. Also, Kampman’s excellent oratory skills and tremendous rapport with the press will allow him to succeed at one of a Jacksonville coach’s most important responsibilities – convincing the media that, despite not achieving the organization’s explicitly-stated goals in the explicitly-stated time period we said they would be accomplished, all is well.
- Blaine Gabbert – Look, let’s be honest…all this speculation about Blaine Gabbert being a franchise quarterback and leading the Jaguars to 14 Lombardi Trophies in 15 seasons has been great fun this offseason, but does anyone really believe he has what it takes to be the next Peyton Manning? Does he have the engorged cerebral capacity to break down defenses pre-snap and make split-second reads? No. Does he have the level-headedness to flop to the ground yards short of the goal line when the sound of footsteps looms heavily behind him? Doubt it. How about the resolve of a true field general to lead his soliders into their certain demise in a valorous quest to achieve the platoon’s objectives (i.e. a first down)? Of course not. This soft-spoken Midwesterner possesses none of these qualities and cannot succeed as the leader of an franchise NFL. Plus, who would want to risk injury to that handsome mug? It’s a hard thing to admit when you’re wrong, but Gene Smith is the type of GM who can make the tough calls that keeps a franchise marching towards the ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl. I’m sorry Blaine, but your arm cannot help the city of Jacksonville. Your smiling face, stunning physique, and spunky choreography, however, can certainly help mend Jacksonville’s heart and hopefully bring out all of those fans who have refused to buy tickets since we snubbed their man-crush, Tim Tebow.
– Andrew Hofheimer